Q&A: Serena Ryder

Canadian chanteuse shares her favourite Toronto secrets



Known for her belt-it-outta-the-ballpark pipes and 2007 radio hit, “Weak in the Knees,” singer-songwriter Serena Ryder, 28, hails from Millbrook, ON, but has called Toronto home for all of her career. This past summer, Ryder sat down with us at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival and shared her favourite Toronto haunts.

Best place to catch live music?

Dakota Tavern on a Sunday night, when The Beauties play—this crazy rock ‘n roll band that gets everybody up dancing. All the guys are my dearest friends. I go down to this bar and jam with my friends. Now I get to be called Serena Ryder and The Beauties, which is awesome.

Best coffee shop?

The Mascot, on Queen Street, is an unbelievable, amazing coffee shop that is also an art gallery and has all this taxidermy, which I’m super into. They serve iced almond milk lattes.

Favorite music store?

Soundscapes on College Street.

Favorite “fancy” restaurant?

I’m not much of a fancy lassie [laughs], but I do love Terroni, where you can be casual or fancy. I get the San Giorgio pizza or the Nizzarda salad.

Best place for a long walk?

High Park.

Favourite watering hole?

The Communist’s Daughter—one of the first places I started going to in Toronto. [It’s] so small, only holds about 35 people, and they bring in lots of great musicians, like John Borra Band.”

Favourite boutique?

Frock on Roncesvalles Avenue.

Favourite place to perform in Toronto?

Massey Hall! I performed there for the first time opening up for Melissa Etheridge. *Aaa-mazing*. Unbelievable. I met my mentor [and] soul sister. We keep in touch and text all the time.

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