The Resurrection of 23 Hop, 2022 “The Holy Grounds” By Anthony
Updated: Jul 9, 2022
Feat : Mark Oliver, John Angus, Sean L, Dr No, Malik X, Ben Ferguson, Mike Bowie, James Applegath
& Ben E Blanco
This article is A Condensed Piece of the Rave Story that went down, On The Holy Grounds of 23 Hop , leading up to The Resurrection 2022
I will be releasing The Full Exodus Story at some point, but in the meantime , lets head into Holy Grounds leading to something very interesting (Anthony)...
If you were involved with the Toronto Underground Dance music scene, Specifically Techno and House and you're from the city of Toronto, 89- you may have had the opportunity to attend one of the many events at 23 Hop,
but more specifically for my chime in, The Book of Exodus Chapter/ 23 Hop
I have written several small articles on the 23 Hop venue, through first hand experience from running the Exodus Production events, kicking off the Rave Scene and all things boogie with the two other primary founders "Mark Oliver, John Angus", alongside Sean l, Danny Henry, Ellen & Jackie & the rest of the crew members.
Our mission from the start kicking off the Exodus Events / Rave scene at 23 hop
was to get a Specific Dance Culture evolving in Toronto, get it moving, get it growing, and share it, In the end all was accomplished , but it wasn't until looking at it from a retrospective angle , did I come to realize we were also putting together the building blocks to form the prototype for the Rave Scene in Canada, & in the years to follow , that bled into mainstream clubland , and beyond, with all the hallmarking's still alive ,well ,and ever evolving in its own right .
What we were creating at 23 Hop at the time, didn't just pop up, everyone involved from myself, Mark & John, Sean, the rest of the crew, and just as important, the people that were comming out in attendance , were all pioneering the scene together, making up the body as a whole, in The House Of The Holy grounds , That was 23 Hop
In the lead up to finding 23 Hop, every door was pounded, in and around the city of Toronto by myself & John, several laws were broken, specific people had to be hunted down, and literally, pavements were pounded. Remember at this moment in time, there was absolutely nothing going on of this nature, with n0 resources in all areas, including minerals, so it was safe to say we had a lot of work ahead, to put it mildly.
It's one thing to put on an event or a night that already has an established scene , but is a much more of a challenge selling an actual culture, the scene, and the night, before even getting out of the gate.
Once the vision and the resources were established,, we wanted to make sure all the required elements were all there, "tangible and non tangible", while also insuring that if it catches on and moves forward , from the get go, its done with attention to detail & keeping loyally to the different code of conducts you would expect at the grass roots core of a scene in this nature.
It must have its proper identity, vibe ,spirit & following , it has to be in the most proper of essence if you are putting together a cultural movement template, your intentions are to do so , in such that is recognized and will be respected in not only in its local scene of Toronto , but also reputably resonate in the clubland global arena. We wanted to build that credibility not just for Exodus , but for the city's scene, so that in other club scene circles globally , when they speak of Toronto , or Exodus abroad , specifically The U.K and the U.S, other import talented DJ Artists will be up for getting flown over here to gig.
23 Hop was the space where Exodus gained that underground street level credibility, while building the template .
All roads and efforts led to the building at 318 Richmond street, 23 Hop
(The Holy Grounds)
Now Manchester had its Hacienda, Liverpool had its Quadrant Park, London had its Ministry of Sound, Glasgow had The Arches, Chicago Had The Paradise Garage, Detroit had it's Music Institute, and for Toronto it was Exodus at 23 Hop.
Our Exodus events that were hosted at the venue, were undeniably special , it was the perfect storm consisting of several elements. Prior to our first event, myself and John Angus (both Glasgow expats) had returned to the U.K 88-89, witnessed the thing exploding at its grassroots level. This had us both returning separately from the UK experience, to first meet in Toronto, and sharing our exact same experience with one another, this was "the lighting of the pilot" bringing the first element ….
A need for change.
(The First Rave Flyer at 23 Hop -Exodus,)
I can remember designing this in my mothers kitchen with a stencil transfer, I scratched the letters on with what must have been the luckiest dime I have ever came across.
The flyer itself aloe ended up owning its rightful place in
THE FLYER VAULT: 150 YEARS OF TORONTO CONCERT HISTORY
forwarded: BY GEDDY lEE OF RUSH
Featuring old yeller herself. my wee flyer I knocked of in My Ma's kitchen in 1 take with utensils, transfer stencil paper, and a dime .....Anthony
The Book: Tate and Rob Bowman assembled a time capsule that captures a mesmerizing history of Toronto concert and club life, running the gamut of genres from vaudeville to rock, jazz to hip-hop, blues to electronica, and punk to country.
The Flyer Vault: 150 Years of Toronto Concert History traces seminal live music moments in the city, Check it out
That Desire to bring that juju here, had myself and John turning over every rock that led us to the next element (a biggie) the music, the drive behind us led the road to meeting Mark Oliver, (another Glaswegian Transplant) undoubtedly, the one behind the music. The three of us shared the same vision so having Mark take on
the role as The Music Director was an easy natural.
Building The Resident DJ line Up together For 23 Hop ,
we came up with……
“The Booming System Collective”
The Four lads that shook the country
all bringing their own identity and defining sound that completed the backdrop for a generation to follow .
This meant that with the Venue & Music covered, just one more element......
so let's get the elephant out of the room and get to
the second last element, but at par with Music for importance. We were then faced with the challenge of finding “The Minerals” as ridiculous as it sounds, for lots of club goers ``The Minerals” are something that have been accustomed to always being around in abundance, not the case. to protect the names of the innocent, we will fast track and what I will tell you is that after an awful lot of combing scenes, strip bars, and all things doggy, our efforts had us turning up the minerals, The Eucharist was sorted, it was time to introduce the body of Christ “The Minerals, The Spirit Host” if you will.
This brings me to the final element for 23 Hop, and one to the utmost of importance….
The People, The Posse, The first on the floor for the uproar. I have said it time after time, it's not the place it's the people that fill it , and Exodus 23 Hop had the original crew .
You see, as we were creating this thing in 23 Hop,/ Exodus/Rave Scene, the people in attendance were the element that completes the entire backdrop, pioneering the scene along with the promoters , making that magic happen in the room, you see, without that , it's just a warehouse. We needed 23 Hop , and the Venue needed us too , it was the perfect storm.
Were there other small clusters of House Music and Techno scenes peppered around before Exodus 23 Hop Chapter? , definitely , but we are talking about a completely different animal all together.
The nights that were put on at 23 Hop, are difficult to explain, difficult as, there was a hard presence of magic, change, unity and evolution in the air that if you were in attendance, you became it, the presence was tangible, very big juju, everyone at the events knew we were a part of something special in real time, and every one in attendance were involved.
There was an undeniable force of energy and excitement, and optimism unlike I had ever experienced, and was certainly proud to play a part of, at the risk of sounding like some kind of stretch of my imagination, if this comes across folklore, you certainly had to be there.
It was Ground ZERO, a defining first for the powerful combination of Techno and House, a safe place for all races , genders , sexuality , and walks of life , the perfect storm for the perfect motley crew, coined The First Ravers / Club kids in the Country,
I have heard from four or so sources, be it promoter or media outlet that Exodus 23 Hop was “arguably” Holy Grounds, but the sources all have one common thread, they were not in attendance,
The Holy Grounds of 23 Hop that's spoken of sometimes comes with shades of folklore and such, how could it not, there were no cell phones or cameras, no trace of evidence, you simply had to be there, and that was the point, we wanted everyone to be there. Now although some people missed that pilot lighting if you will, but were a part of everything to follow and that was the rave scene, flowering for all, ever growing and continuously evolving, molding and shaping all things Torontonian Dance Culture, and that was our mission, to get it going, (Personally speaking) as your Writer/ Promoter , that was my proudest accomplishment of it all .
If there is one thing I wish I kept properly , that would be the Exodus productions flyers and t-shirts we put out in circulation for all of our different events, I lost some jewels along the way . Here is just a fraction of our flyers from the 23 Hop chapter, there are a few missing , and there is also several more from events that we hosted in other venues across the city, these are just a portion from The Hop.
Our flyers went literally from the start ,the most privative in their form, it wasn't until when we left 23 Hop , hosting in larger venues, we started putting out much more detailed graphic flyers , but these were when some magic was happening .
I had tried another attempt at finding any archived pictures but its for the most part the same ones with a couple of new ones ,
its funny when I was researching the other ground zero clubs above live the Hacienda and what not, its the same for all of them , we are left with a very limited amount of pictorial evidence , witch definitely has its charm, leaving special moments in time sacred.
Although at that specific time ,we did not want any mainstream media , or pictures being taken at all . I actually denied entry from two different media sources that requested to bring in there cameras to cover it in story , (Much Music & City)
I flat out gave them both the same response
"The people in there are our guests , and we have the responsibility to make sure their privacy, and the inside of our events are not being publicly broadcasted
and this venue is not caught on film , its on me "
They couldn't understand the concept as apparently they wanted to "give us promotion" ,but that was not the kind we were gunning for to be honest .
Here are some of the pictures that got out of the building non- authorized from different sources.
Now it didn't stop there for “The Hop” though, Exodus moved out of The hop to host several much larger arenas across the city, but after us, to follow our Exodus events were Exodus posse attendees / crew Sykosis - Ben Ferguson, Mike Bowie, James Applegath & their crew took the torch and shine a bright light of their own in the venue, hosting a sleuth of events under the roof of holy grounds.
I have discussed in conversation before, and heard it coming from others saying
“” a 23 Hop could ever happen again “ ………….
Well we stand corrected, The resurrection of 23 Hop has arrived
and you could own a piece of it .
Now it was only several weeks ago James Applegath reached out to me to fill me in on this 23 Hop project that him and Ben Ferguson & others were putting some deep hard effort into this , and my heart melted.
They have gone and rebuilt 23 HOP
What is Rezerect?
Rezerect is an homage to your old haunts. It's a celebration of your former stomping grounds. We bring beloved Toronto nightclubs, venues, bars and other live-music hotspots back to life as easy-to-assemble miniature cardboard replicas.
Most importantly, we raise funds for good causes along the way. A portion of profits from each project is donated to a specific cause that’s chosen by people associated with the venue – former owners, promoters, or patrons. We donate 20% of the profits from our 318 Richmond project to Colorectal Cancer Canada in honor of Audra Miller. Audra is the late wife of Ben Ferguson, who ran dozens of Sykosis parties at 318.
Our team collaborates with building owners, occupants, managers, employees, promoters, patrons, and even neighbors to capture the true spirit of the venue. Oftentimes these physical buildings no longer exist, or have undergone renovations that render them unrecognizable. We meticulously research the history of each property and scour through photo archives and city records to get the essential details right. We utilize satellite technology (Google) to get a better idea of the dimensions of the building.
Then we work with an artist who creates a raw sketch.
Following that, we work with a digital artist to reconstruct each facet of the venue. Given some of these venues no longer exist, we rely on old photos, building plans, memories (and sometimes a little imagineering!)
The finer details are then lovingly added.
A colour version gets shipped to our production team and they experiment with various ideas for assembling the replica once it's in cardboard format.
Eventually, they settle on the easiest assembly method that provides the most structural integrity.
A print shop goes to work outputting the design on cardboard sheets and customizing die cuts for each piece. And, voila. It's not to scale, it's not perfect, but damn, it's a thing of beauty.
Finally, we have an artist create a beautiful, frameable piece that captures the original vibes of the venue. Plus, we make tees that feature the logos you miss the most.
Go to the site, check out the interesting things they are doing,
and get a piece of Toronto Club History yourself
just click the logo
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