Toronto's iconic El Mocambo opens Thursday after big renovation


Five years and $35 million in renovations later, the big day has finally arrived for Michael Wekerle.

The owner of the El Mocambo, who bought the iconic Toronto club in 2015 for $5 million, will celebrate its long-awaited “official” re-opening on Thursday with a performance by local band, Big Wreck.

“It’s going to be really exciting,” said the one-timeDragons’ Den star, right after he gave the Toronto Suna tour of the venue.

“We’re looking at creating a pre-party for the street so people have a little bit of a celebration or a ribbon-cutting.”

When we last talked mid-construction, Wekerle said he wanted to get the Rolling Stones — the band famously recorded a live album at the El Mo in 1977 — to play, but obviously that’s not happening.

“We talked to their management,” he added.  “They were quite interested. And it was just prior to them coming to Toronto (last year to play Burl’s Creek

“They said, ‘We’re going to do this tour. We’ve committed to it. And (Burl’s Creek) is a big venue. It’s 70,000 people.’ From a cost point of view, we can’t compete with that,” said Wekerle. “However, we had great sponsorship that would have put a big dollar value on the table and they said, ‘We’ll come back to you.’ Now, unfortunately, COVID hit and they had to cancel their tour (this year). So I’m crossing my fingers. Mick, Keith Charlie, Ron, come on back!”