Banning Barenaked Ladies from a Toronto City Hall celebration turned into a big break

Toronto City Hall © Lucy Izon

Toronto City Hall © Lucy Izon

Nathan Phillips Sq., Toronto – The setting was the popular
public square in front of Toronto’s spaceship- style City Hall, the date was Dec. 31, 1991, and the event was the annual big New Year bash. Local media, celebrities and popular Canadian bands celebrate this night annually with a live concert and television broadcast, but this year there was controversy. The Barenaked Ladies, a band that had formed in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough in 1988, was banned because Toronto Mayor June Rowlands found their name ‘offensive’. She did them a big favor, the publicity helped launch this satirical, witty group, which is now known internationally as one of Canada’s best bands. Follow the Barenaked Ladies on Twitter @barenakedladies

You’ll find lots of events here throughout the year, from one of North America’s largest outdoor art shows in July to skating in the winter, and you’ll be visiting the only City Hall to appear in Star Trek, and to have a Roman column that dates back to 300 AD.

Address:

Toronto City Hall, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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3 thoughts on “Banning Barenaked Ladies from a Toronto City Hall celebration turned into a big break

  1. There’s a significant typo in this article. How could the BNL have formed in 1998, when the concert was held in 1991, seven years before?

    1. Thank you very much for bringing this to our attention. The typo has been corrected with the right date – 1988. Have a great day!

  2. Although the legend is June Rowland’s banned the BNL, she was actually in China on city business at the time. It was city staffers led by Councillor Kris Korwin-Kaczynsky who initiated the ban. But since June was mayor at the time the story has been (unfairly) attributed to her.

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