Catch the world's biggest stars at Toronto's largest and loudest concert arenas and stages.
Intimate music venues have their place, but bigger is better when it comes to experiencing a blowout concert. From mammoth stadiums to a sprawling lakefront amphitheatre, here's the lowdown on three top music venues in Toronto—and who's headlining in 2023.
The scoop: Theoretically, there’s no reason the Scotiabank Arena should sound as good as it does. The cavernous concert venue, which opened in February 1999 (as the Air Canada Centre) was envisioned, first and foremost, as a sports stadium.
The project was spearheaded by the Toronto Raptors organization and the arena’s inaugural event was a Toronto Maple Leafs home game. But two days later, the legendary Canadian band, Tragically Hip, christened the venue’s shiny new sound system, and the results have wowed concertgoers ever since.
The sound: Scotiabank Arena’s acoustics make it the natural choice for a stadium rock show. Rock occupies a sonic middle ground—not too bassy, not too mellow—superbly suited to the venue, maximizing fidelity and punchiness. Past artists who have capitalized on these acoustics include Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac and Florence + The Machine.
2023 concerts at Scotiabank Arena:
Muse (March 9, 2023)
Depeche Mode (April 7, 2023)
Blink-182 (May 11–15, 2023)
Dave Chappelle (January 1, 2023)
Capacity: 10,000 - 55,000
The scoop: With its trademark retractable domed roof, the home stadium of the Toronto Blue Jays became a defining element of the Toronto skyline when it opened in June 1989.
That roof inspired the venue's original name—the SkyDome—and quickly transforms stadium events from breezy and al fresco to cozy and self-contained, depending on the weather. Accordingly, the house sound system at the Rogers Centre relies on state-of-the-art agility to adapt to dramatically different acoustics.
The sound: Performers' sound crews enhance the Rogers Centre's assets with set-ups tailored to their sound, whether that's bluesy guitar riffs, the sustained soaring notes of a triumphant pop vocal chorus, or the rumbling bass end of a tight hip-hop break.
Past shows at this Toronto concert venue have included acoustically rich performances from Taylor Swift, Beyoncé (with and without Jay-Z), Guns N' Roses, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi and the Rolling Stones.
2023 Concerts at Rogers Centre:
Ed Sheeran, Khalid and Rosa Linn (June 17 & 18, 2023)
The scoop: Perched on the edge of Lake Ontario, the Budweiser Stage opened in 1995 with Bryan Adams' crowd-pumping Canadiana. Dubbed at that time the Molson Amphitheatre, the outdoor concert venue flaunted well-calibrated acoustics and cleverly tweaked sightlines.
Then as now, massive stage-side screens and additional video monitors at the back of the assigned-seating section ensure folks sitting on the lawn can see fancy fretwork, too.
The sound: From bandshell to the amphitheatre, the music venue has doubled its capacity over time without sacrificing sound quality or its summer-festival atmosphere. One could say the site acoustics are bound up in audience participation, with sound quality improving, with more bodies in seats and on the lawn cheering for artists like Drake, Blondie, Bob Dylan, James Brown and Blue Rodeo.
2023 concerts at Budweiser Stage:
Crowded House (May 27, 2023)
Matchbox Twenty (August 2, 2023)
Arctic Monkeys (August 30 to September 1, 2023)