Reflections: Riverboat Jane, Pt. One

Reflections is a new video interview series produced by Roots Music Canada. Its goal is to informally document Canadian roots music history through the eyes of its witnesses and participants. Installments will appear in this space randomly, as the interview-opportunities present themselves.

We begin our series with Jane Harbury, or as we like to call her, Riverboat Jane. Quite accidentally, she  began working as a dishwasher at the famous Riverboat Coffee House in Yorkville (Toronto) in the late 60’s, and ended up managing the club by the time she left in 1974.

During that period, she encountered pretty much everyone who was anyone in the folk/roots scene of this most fertile era. In this first installment of Riverboat Jane, titled: The Magic of Gordon Lightfoot, she tells RMC’s David Newland about her very first Riverboat Coffee House experience.

The Riverboat M/C whose accent Jane lovingly mimics is Bernie Fiedler. In the next installment, Riverboat Jane lists a few of the famous artists she had the pleasure of hosting, and shares a tale or two about antics she observed at the famous venue.

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  1. avatar
    Richard Flohil 28 February, 2010 at 09:10

    Hoiw nice to see Jane profiled; she has been such a wonderful participant in roots music for so long — and she has so many wonderful stories. Best of all, she’s a terrific publicist and a woman with so much integrity and honesty. I’m so glad she’s my friend, and has been ever since those Yorkville days…

  2. avatar
    char 28 February, 2010 at 12:37

    I’m so envious of anyone who saw Lightfoot back then. And I’m very happy that the memories of those magical times are being recorded. I loved Jane’s impersonation of Bernie. I’m so glad he hired Lightfoot to play at the Riverboat.The Lightfoot legacy was about to take off. wow.
    I hope there are more Lightfoot stories but look forward to all new instalments in this series.
    Bravo to Roots Music Canada!

  3. avatar
    Jocelyne Isabey 28 February, 2010 at 13:31

    Jane Harbury – undeniably the most captivating storyteller of Toronto’s music scene, past and present! I’m so glad this is being captured on film and I’m honoured to count her as one of my friends. Please bring us more!

  4. avatar
    Scott Merrifield 15 March, 2010 at 08:51

    Great interview! And perhaps a new revenue stream fro Roots Music Canada…product placement?

  5. avatar
    David Newland 22 March, 2010 at 23:18

    Scott, it’s a great idea… how’s this for a tag line?

    “The Roots Music Canada team drinks exclusively whatever beer is available, or whatever you have if you don’t have beer. “

  6. avatar
    Bill McKetrick 24 November, 2011 at 17:44

    It couldn’t happen to a nicer……or more deserving person !! 45 years later, Jane is still actively promoting local talent…….and the Ontario Roots music scene is that much richer because of her efforts !!

  7. avatar
    Heidi Fleming 24 November, 2011 at 20:20

    Jane has been a trusted and valued publicist, adviser and friend for over 15 years when she worked on Ain’t Life Sweet for Penny Lang, and we are still working together. Jane this couldn’t happen to a nicer person, congratulations and see you in Toronto.

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