Entering its sixth decade, the CMC is a living witness to the creative spirit flourishing across the county and resonating beyond our borders.
In January 1959 a group of visionary composers and arts leaders founded the Canadian Music Centre in Toronto. These included: Louis Audette, Kenneth Carter, Lyell Gustin, Jean Papineau-Couture, Geoffrey Waddington, William Low, Arnold Walter and John Weinzweig. Beginning with some twenty individuals, today’s CMC promotes works created by more than 900 Associate Composers.
Regional offices opened in Quebec (Montreal) in 1973, British Columbia (Vancouver) in 1977, the Prairies (Calgary) in 1980, Ontario (Toronto) in 1983 and in the Atlantic Region, first in Sackville in 1989 which re-located to Halifax in 2015.
In 1984, a significant gift from Joan Chalmers and other generous supporters, honouring Floyd and Jean Chalmers, provided a home for the National Office and Ontario Region in a restored 1892 historic building, known as Chalmers House, in the heart of downtown Toronto.
In 1986, the Ontario Region library was dedicated to Ettore Mazzoleni and the Prairie Region Library named to honour Violet Archer.
Click here to read more about the early history of the CMC, as found in Karen Kieser’s The Canadian Music Centre; a history.
In 2012, an extensive renovation of the CMC’s headquarters resulted in the creation of Chalmers Hall for concerts and events. A seven-foot Steingräber & Sons grand piano and an the iconic painting of the Canadian flag by Charles Pachter feature prominently in this intimate salon, which has provided an excellent venue for recordings, concerts, workshops and meetings.
In 2016 the renovation of the Vancouver Creative Hub included the creation of the Murray Adaskin Salon which features a beautifully restored piano originally owned by Mr. Adaskin.