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THE SCOOP | Canadian Music Centre Closes National Office Until Further Notice

By Anya Wassenberg on June 15, 2018

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Canadian Music Centre will be closed to the public until further notice.

The oblique announcement recently posted on their website and Tweeted by the Canadian Music Centre sounds ominous. Damage from the crazy storm that just blew through Toronto? Something more sinister?


It turns out that old tree roots and last year’s renovations don’t get along so well in a building that’s more than 125 years old. The CMC is housed in Chalmer’s House, a charming period building in a leafy oasis on St. Joseph Street, between Bay and Yonge. The double turret structure dates back to 1892. It’s the leafy neighbourhood that is the problem.

Glenn Hodgins, President and CEO of the CMC, calls the timing of the Centre’s plumbing saga “interesting” given the storm that thundered through the city the same day, causing power outages for thousands. During the storm on June 13, a tree broke and closed St. Joseph Street, but it’s actually older trees that have thrown a monkey wrench into the CMC’s operations.

Hodgins says that the roots of trees long gone, more than a century old, continued to grow underneath the pavement, making their way into the main sewage line running into the Chalmer’s House building. With the main sewage drain affected, it’s a major repair job. Hodgins sighs in exasperation recalling the fact that the CMC building underwent significant renovations just last year, including refurbishing the main stairway. “The pipe, wouldn’t you know, goes right up under all that.” That all now has to be torn up again to fix the main sewage drain.

While the problem is being dealt with, it’s an unwelcome interruption to their operations. “It couldn’t be more inconvenient,” he says. Hodgins also points out that the repairs extend well beyond the CMC’s property into the street. “It’s been in the making for decades,” he says.

With no water or washroom facilities in operation, the Centre’s activities have been moved off-site. He anticipates that the CMC will only be closed for a relatively short period for the repairs. “Maybe two weeks, maybe one week,” he says. Hopes are that it will be closer to one week.

The Canadian Music Centre was formed in 1959 to support Canadian composers and their work. One of their key achievements is a huge archive of Canadian music scores available through a lending library. The CMC also operates its own publishing house, and the Centrediscs record label, along with the CentreStreams music streaming service. Centrediscs has won a slew of awards, including six JUNOs, an East Coast Music Award, six West Coast Music Awards, and two Grande Prix du Disque Canada. The CMC also hosts live performances across Canada, and workshops and other events at their Toronto headquarters, among other services available to associate composers.

Online sales, rental and loan requests are still available in the interim, but they may take longer to fulfill.

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