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old school - issue 305


Break Up to Make Up
Club Manatee, 1970-1984

“It was only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 10 at night, till 6 in the morning,” recalls André Tardif of Club Manatee. “And no liquor, just coffee and pop…and hotdogs!” Located at 11A St Joseph Street (now condos, though the façade remains), Club Manatee was central to Toronto’s gay dance scene from 1970 to 1984. Tardif was a go-go dancer there in 1973, electrifying “Toronto the Prude” with his custom-made leather g-strings. Tardif was one of three go-go dancers who danced each night, 20 minutes at a time, each hour on the hour. The dancers were preceded each hour by a special set from the DJ: “Three slow songs in a row, always at 10 to the hour,” recalls Tardif. “ ‘Break Up to Make Up,’ all those really, really famous slow songs at the time.” Club-goers would often ask the man they had their eye on to dance just before they knew the slow songs were going to start. “The slow song would come on and you would go, ‘Oh! Do you want to?’ If there was a bit of groping, you’d go, “That’s it! I have my man for the night!”

For more memories of the Manatee, visit

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