Fonds F0495 - Toronto Musicians' Association fonds

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Toronto Musicians' Association fonds

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  • Textual record
  • Object

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Physical description

6.07 m of textual records
366 photographs
8 drawings
2 objects

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Administrative history

The Toronto Musicians' Association (TMA) was founded in Toronto, Ontario on December 2, 1887 under the name of the Toronto Orchestral Association (TOA) with the objective of providing a labour union for musicians in the City of Toronto. The TOA changed its name to the Toronto Musical Protective Association (TMPA) in 1894. The TMPA originally only initiated members of the orchestral community into its association, although in 1897 initiation rights were extended to the bandsmen of the city.

On 15 June 1901, the TMPA became part of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) and became its Local 149 while also retaining its own constitution and operating rights. Fees paid to the TMPA included a one-time initiation fee to the AFM. In April 1952, AFM's International Secretary granted the TMPA's request of a name change to the Toronto Musicians' Association.

The TMA's Executive Board, which became its board of directors September 1952, is responsible for the administration of the association. Regular board meetings are held as well as general meetings for the association.

Several funds were set up for the benefit of the members: the Benevolent Fund, first mentioned in 1889, provided members with relief funds in times of need. The funds were administered through the Relief Committee. The TMA maintained three other funds for its membership: the General Fund, the Contract Defence Fund, and the Health, Education, and Welfare Fund. Through the AFM, TMA members also were able to into a pension fund.

In January 1932, "The Bulletin", the TMA's first newsletter, was published. The newsletter was renamed "Crescendo" in February 1958.. Crescendo continues to be published by the TMA. From 1934 to 1956, the TMA participated in the Promenade Symphony Concert orchestra as an initiative to provide summer employment to its members and to provide weekly conceit series for the citizens of Toronto. The TMA's Musician's Club was created in October 1962 for the accommodation, recreation and convenience of the association's members.The TMA also offers its members advice pertaining to all areas of the music business, from legal protection to instrument insurance, to dental and pension plans, as well as access to working visas for the United States.

Currently, TMA membership also provides membership in the Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM), the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) and after two years as a TMA member, with periodic work (at least every six months) under TMA/CFM/AFM contracts, members can join the Musicians Pension Fund of Canada.

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Biographical history

Sam Levine was a Toronto-born musician and labour advocate, son of Russian-Jewish immigrants Morris and Annie Levine. Levine graduated from Harbord Collegiate in Toronto. He played guitar, banjo and bass in various bands including the Trump Davidson Orchestra and graduated from the Royal Conservatory of Music. He was a co-owner of the Onyx Club on Church Street in Toronto. During World War II, Levine enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and played in a musical show called "The Blackouts".After the war, he joined the Toronto Symphony Orchestra as a double bassist. Levine also served as a vice-president and then president for the Toronto Musicians' Association and helped to found the Association of Canadian Orchestras. Levine died in Toronto on 22 January 2005.

Custodial history

Records were stored in the Toronto Musicians' Association offices and transferred to the archives. The history of how the Samuel Levine records ended up in the custody of the TMA is unclear, but his estate requested that they be included in the donation to the archives.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of records of the Toronto Musicians' Association and records from Samuel Levine, President Emeritus of the association. Union records include minutes of meetings; photographs of conductors, singers, and dancers; promotional material for concerts; newspaper clippings; financial records; registers of members; bound copies of "Crescendo," the local's newsletter; tariff of fee booklets; member directories; and a "black ball" voting box. Levine's records include documents concerning the activities of the Toronto Musicians' Association, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians, including daily diaries (1959-1967 and 1988), bargaining agreements, tariff of fees booklets, and conference material (programmes, buttons, and a sewing kit). Some records also pertain to Levine's membership in the American Federation of Musicians.

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Immediate source of acquisition

Donated on behalf of the Toronto Musicians' Association by its secretary H. Allan Macmillan in 2006. Records from the estate of Samuel Levine were in the custody of the Association and included with the donation.


Language of material

  • English
  • Finnish
  • Hebrew
  • Hungarian

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Restrictions on access

Access to the fonds is generally open, with the following exception: access to files 2006-020/009(07) and 2006-020/009(08) requires the signing of a research agreement.

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Fonds consists of the following accession: 2006-020. Further accruals may be expected.

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2023/09/29 J. Grant and E. Masci. Creation

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