Reason to Love Toronto: Because music sounds better under the stars at Echo Beach

Reason to Love Toronto: Because music sounds better under the stars at Echo Beach

(Image: Hudson Hayden) 

Who knew that a few underused beach volleyball courts on a forgotten stretch of Ontario Place’s shoreline would become the hottest concert venue in the city? Over the bridge, past the go-kart track and north of the waterslides is Echo Beach, where sand, surf and live music create the sort of alchemy that the Beach Boys built their career on. The new venue, which borrows its name from the classic Martha and the Muffins tune, has all the starlit romance of the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre but less than a third of the crowd—in other words, exactly the kind of intimate outdoor concert space Toronto has long been lacking. Surprising, then, that it took a dissatisfied dance queen from Sweden to make it happen. The electro-pop pixie Robyn was plotting her third Toronto show in less than a year and wanted something different. She’d sold out the Sound Academy in January, but her last show at the Amphitheatre was only half-full. Concert overlord Live Nation scoured the city for something in between, something indelible—and they found it. In June, Robyn sang, spun and revved the crowd with so much gusto that Live Nation began lining up more shows for the fall. Ontario Place execs liked what they saw, too, and chose the venue as the main site for their 40th anniversary celebrations, a four-weekend series of memorable Toronto bands from decades past. So far, Martha et al. aren’t booked, but we’d like to think that they, too, will be back at Echo Beach some day.