George’s Spaghetti House – Canada’s Premier Live Jazz Club

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May 13, 1977 - Looking west towards the intersection of Dundas St E and Sherbourne St with George's Spaghetti House on the right
May 13, 1977 – Looking west towards the intersection of Dundas St E and Sherbourne St with George’s Spaghetti House on the right (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1226, File 71, Item 127)

George’s Spaghetti House, later George’s Jazz Room, was located at 290 Dundas St E (at Sherbourne St on the northwest corner) in the Garden District of Toronto.

Doug Cole & George’s Spaghetti House

Doug Cole, known as the founder of Toronto’s jazz movement, opened the live jazz club in 1956. It took a little while for jazz to catch on. Still, when it did, the club attracted top talents like Ed Bickert (guitarist), Guido Basso (trumpeter, flugelhornist), Jerry Fuller (drummer), Don Thompson (double bass, piano, vibes) and Moe Koffman (saxophonist, flautist, clarinetist). As well as playing regularly at the club as the Moe Koffman Quartet/Quintet, Moe also booked the acts and was the musical director for 25 years.

Besides being one of the longest-running jazz clubs in the country, George’s Spaghetti House was also a popular Italian restaurant. The second floor was later opened and called Castle George.

In 1983, Mr Cole sold George’s Spaghetti House, and a year later, the new owner moved the jazz club up to the second floor.

Bourbon Street

September 27, 1981 - Doug Cole also operated Bourbon Street and occupied the main floor of 180 Queen St W, while Basin St was on the second floor
September 27, 1981 – Doug Cole also operated Bourbon Street and occupied the main floor of 180 Queen St W, while Basin St was on the second floor (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 70, Item 16)

Doug Cole also operated two other clubs in Toronto – Bourbon Street and Basin Street. Opening in the early 1970s, Bourbon Street occupied the main floor of 180 Queen St W, while Basin St was on the second floor. American modern jazz talent was mainly featured at this location. The Queen West building was also home to George’s Italian Cafe. The clubs closed in the mid-1980s.

Honours & Awards

Doug Cole received the Order of Canada in 2008 for his development of jazz in Canada. In 2012, just days after his passing, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. He loved music and was known for giving musicians the opportunity to experiment and develop their sound in a live setting. Because of that, many great jazz musicians were able to build careers in Canada.

A Radio Show & the Building Today

Ken Cole, Doug’s son, hosts George’s Spaghetti House Jazz radio show on The Bay 88.7FM, airing Sunday evenings between ‪8 and 11 pm‬. Ken offers a glimpse into the backstories and history of jazz.

From 2004, the building was home to True Love Cafe; however, it has since closed.

George’s Spaghetti House Photos

1972 – Looking northwest towards George's Spaghetti House at the corner of Dundas St E and Sherbourne St in the Garden District of Toronto
1972 – Looking northwest towards George’s Spaghetti House at the corner of Dundas St E and Sherbourne St in the Garden District of Toronto (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 2032, Series 841, File 50, Item 8)
February 2024 - Looking northwest towards the corner of Dundas St E and Sherbourne St in the Garden District of Toronto. The building was once home to George's Spaghetti House
February 2024 – Looking northwest towards the corner of Dundas St E and Sherbourne St in the Garden District of Toronto. The building was once home to George’s Spaghetti House
1972 - Looking west along Dundas St E from Sherbourne St with George's Spaghetti House on the right. Doug Cole opened the live jazz club in 1956
1972 – Looking west along Dundas St E from Sherbourne St with George’s Spaghetti House on the right. Doug Cole opened the live jazz club in 1956 (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 2032, Series 841, File 50, Item 12)
Between 1975 and 1980 - Moe Koffman at George's Spaghetti House, Toronto
Between 1975 and 1980 – Moe Koffman at George’s Spaghetti House, Toronto (GAMI/Simonds & Library and Archives Canada e011043783)
May 19, 1977- George's Spaghetti House (on the right) at the corner of Dundas St E and Sherbourne St. Besides being one of the longest-running jazz clubs in the country, George’s Spaghetti House was also a popular Italian restaurant
May 19, 1977- George’s Spaghetti House (on the right) at the corner of Dundas St E and Sherbourne St. Besides being one of the longest-running jazz clubs in the country, George’s Spaghetti House was also a popular Italian restaurant (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1226, File 71, Item 126)
April 27, 1977 - George's Spaghetti House at the corner of Dundas St E and Sherbourne St. George's Spaghetti House was a famous jazz club and Italian restaurant
April 27, 1977 – George’s Spaghetti House at the corner of Dundas St E and Sherbourne St. George’s Spaghetti House was a famous jazz club and Italian restaurant (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 9, Item 35)
February 2024 – The entrance to 290 Dundas St, once home to George's Spaghetti House and later True Love Cafe
February 2024 – The entrance to 290 Dundas St, once home to George’s Spaghetti House and later True Love Cafe
2020 - Looking northwest towards the corner of Dundas St E and Sherbourne St in the Garden District of Toronto. The building was once home to George's Spaghetti House; from 2004, it was home to True Love Cafe; however, it has since closed
2020 – Looking northwest towards the corner of Dundas St E and Sherbourne St in the Garden District of Toronto. The building was once home to George’s Spaghetti House; from 2004, it was home to True Love Cafe; however, it has since closed
February 2024 - Looking west towards the corner of Dundas St E and Sherbourne St in the Garden District of Toronto. The building was once home to George's Spaghetti House and later True Love Cafe
February 2024 – Looking west towards the corner of Dundas St E and Sherbourne St in the Garden District of Toronto. The building was once home to George’s Spaghetti House and later True Love Cafe
September 27, 1981 – Doug Cole also operated Bourbon Street, which occupied the main floor of 180 Queen St W, while Basin St was on the second floor. The clubs opened in the early 1970s, and American modern jazz talent was mainly featured at this location. The Queen West building was also home to George’s Italian Cafe. The clubs closed in the mid-1980s. The building has since been torn down
September 27, 1981 – Doug Cole also operated Bourbon Street, which occupied the main floor of 180 Queen St W, while Basin St was on the second floor. The clubs opened in the early 1970s, and American modern jazz talent was mainly featured at this location. The Queen West building was also home to George’s Italian Cafe. The clubs closed in the mid-1980s. The building has since been torn down (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 70, Item 16)
May 13, 1977 - Looking west towards the intersection of Dundas St E and Sherbourne St with George's Spaghetti House on the right. Doug Cole, known as the founder of Toronto’s jazz movement, opened the live jazz club in 1956. In 1983, he sold the restaurant, and a year later, the jazz club moved upstairs
May 13, 1977 – Looking west towards the intersection of Dundas St E and Sherbourne St with George’s Spaghetti House on the right. Doug Cole, known as the founder of Toronto’s jazz movement, opened the live jazz club in 1956. In 1983, he sold the restaurant, and a year later, the jazz club moved upstairs (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1226, File 71, Item 127)
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