TORONTO — When the lights shine on the El Mocambo’s new palm tree sign tonight, Michael Wekerle says he’ll be one step closer to resurrecting the magic of the treasured concert venue.
The former “Dragon’s Den” star bought the Toronto building about four years ago for $3.8 million — and next year he plans to open the space.
But first he needs to finish major renovations, which gutted the building that once hosted the Rolling Stones, Blondie and Queens of the Stone Age.
The El Mocambo — affectionately known by concertgoers as the “El Mo” — stands among Canada’s most iconic small concert spaces. It’s where the Stones taped part of their “Love You Live” album in 1977 and U2 played its first North American show in 1980.
While an official opening date for the new El Mocambo hasn’t been confirmed, Wekerle says he’s aiming for next spring.
He says several generations of marquee names have already committed to playing the venue, including Ronnie Hawkins, Kiss and Justin Bieber.
David Friend, The Canadian Press