What's a session?

A session is a time and place where musicians come together to play tunes or sing songs. Very few sessions have both tunes and songs - they don't seem to mix well, somehow. Sessions may seem disorganized and 'loose', but it's worth spending as much time listening as trying to join in. George Keith wrote a good page on session etiquette - it's worth a read.

Open Sessions In Toronto

These are open to any Celtic musician to come and sit in and play. They tend to be only very loosely organized, so it is worth calling first to make sure they are on. Start times are approximate.

Sessions are also listed on the event calendar see the events page

Day Time Place Description
Monday 8:00 MacCarthy's Pub, 1801 Gerrard St E.(Coxwell and Danforth) (416) 778 7516 (map) Contact Pat Simmonds
kelly dot hood at sympatico dot ca.
Tuesday 9:00 Whelan's Gate, 1663 Bloor St W at High Park (416) 531-1311 (map) Irish song session.
2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month,
September to June
8:30 PM Tranzac Club
292 Brunswick Ave. south of Bloor (416) 923-8137 (map)
This is the regular Comhaltas Ceoltori Eireann session, so Irish music is de rigueur. Intermediate players, and more supportive of beginners than some other sessions. Pace is moderate
Thursday 8:30 PM The Black Swan
154 Danforth at Broadview (map)
This session started years ago at the Cafe Verite as a place where beginning players could play tunes together at a more relaxed pace. Since then it has moved, first to the Green Room and then to the Jack Russell,to the Black Rooster, the Victory Cafe the Bow and Arrow and now the Black Swan. Its not quite a 'slow jam' anymore, but not breakneck speed either. Mostly Irish, but a leavening of Cape Breton, Old Time, French Canadian. Starts slowish around 8:30 and speeds up later on.
Thursday 9:30 PM Dora Keogh's
141 Danforth Ave east of Broadview (map)
This is the red hot Irish session to attend if you can keep up. Usually hosted by Pat Simmonds and friends.
Sunday 5:00 PM Dora Keogh's
141 Danforth east of Broadview
A bit more eclectic than the other Dora sessions - sometimes Quebecois musicians, etc.

Sessions Outside Toronto

These are by report, so check first.

Day Time Place Description
Friday starting at 8:45 p.m. to midnight Dalby House 143 Metcalfe St. Elora (in the Lounge) (map) mostly Irish & Scottish, some Breton & Cape Breton
Hosted by Eva McCauley & Robin Aggus
(519)848-5970 robin (dot) aggus (at) sympatico (dot) ca
Last Sunday of the month 7 p.m. Woolwich Arms Pub (519) 836-2875 176 Woolwich Street Guelph, ON (map) Irish, Scottish, English, Breton and some traditional songs
Hosted by Eva McCauley & Robin Aggus
(519)848-5970 robin (dot) aggus (at) sympatico (dot) ca
Second Sunday of every month 7 PM Golden Kiwi Pub
55 Dickson St, Cambridge (map)
Songs and tunes. Contact Paul Gribbon for directions. Paul keeps an up-to-date list of southwest Ontario sessions at his site
3rd Sunday 3 PM The Irish Traditional Music Society of Durham monthly session For further information contact Deirdre Walsh at 905-420-6645 or Pat Mealiffe at 905-831-3195.
Sunday 7 PM Duke of Wellington
33 Erb St. Waterloo Ont
Intermediate to advanced players. Contact Paul Gribbon for directions. Paul keeps an up-to-date list of southwest Ontario sessions at his site
Monday around 8:00 PM RASPUTIN'S
696 BRONSON AV OTTAWA, ON (613) 230-5102
Rasputin's is the home of Ottawa's oldest session and is presently hosted by Banjo Player/Fiddler Alf Warnock and Fiddler Elizabeth Scarlette. Its a Coffee House with a really homey atmosphere. There are usually a lot of fiddles and flutes and one hammered dulcimer. The tunes are mainly Irish with a mix of Scottish and Quebecois and Ottawa Valley tunes thrown in.

This is a non-smoking venue.

Contact Allan Meltzer at
jigtime (at) sympatico (dot) ca
(613) 565 3635

Every Tuesday 8:00 PM RCHA Club, 193 Ontario St (at Clarence) KINGSTON Slow Session

Contact rmacdiarmid (at) cogeco (dot) ca

Tuesday evening Tir na n'Og pub, next to City Hall, Kingston This attracts some very capable musicians, but is totally unstructured. Again, admission is free, and booze is available.

contact Jack Hickman

Every Thursday 7:30 Glebe Community Centre (Nursery School) on 175 Third Avenue (one block west of Bank St) in Ottawa, Canada (map)

The 'Ottawa Celtic Slow Jam' has been in existence since 1996. The Slow jam is for musicians with all experience levels who want to learn a new tune, a new style of music, or just jam-it-up with the members. Be warned ! not all tunes are played slowly, but they can be. Everyone gets to pick tunes and generally the tempo is set by the person who picks the tune.

Our website:

Tunes can be found in the online tunebook (see Files menu/Slow Jam Book folder/@Readme.txt file). New tunes are always welcome provided that enough copies are made available for everyone.

The Slow Jam is held at the Glebe Community Centre (Nursery School) on 175 Third Avenue (one block west of Bank St) in Ottawa, Canada at 7:30 pm every Thursday.

Cost $2 (per night) or membership fee - subject to change. (fees are collected to pay for the room rental)

The Slow Jam is a 'Not for Profit' organization with no external financial backing. Administrative tasks are performed by volunteer members. It is hoped that all members will contribute to the Ottawa Celtic Slow Jam.

Brockville. A regular full-speed session (no sheet music) has been started in Brockville. Contact Eithne Dunbar for details of time and place - dunbarae (at) ripnet (dot) com
last Friday of the month St Lawrence College Student Pub, Brockville. Performance and enjoyment of traditional Irish Music ( Songs, Airs, Dance music) along with Ceili Dancing and Set Dancing.