Lombardo's London: The Venues
A tour of the buildings and places that made him famous
Wong's Cafe & Tourists'
Located near the city's main intersection, Wong's was one of London's
best-know restaurants, catering to both out-of-town visitors and the theatre
crowd. The Lombardo Orchestra was a fixture of their Saturday Afternoon
Tea Dances in 1921 and 1922. Despite the restaurant's name and the ethnic
heritage of its owners, Wong's did not serve Chinese food. Located at
434 Richmond Street, the building is currently used as a hair salon.
This building on Queens Avenue served as a car dealership and a wrestling
arena, but it was best known as a dance palace where the Lombardo Orchestra
worked. The boys played their final London concert here in November 1923
before heading to the United States. The building was torn down 14 years
The Hopkins Casino
In the 1920s Port Stanley was the Coney Island of South Western Ontario.
Situated on Lake Erie, it boasted amusement parks, restaurants and dance
halls. Lombardo led the house band at the Hopkins Casino during the summer
of 1923 - his biggest job to date. The Casino burned down in 1932.
The Port Stanley
Pavilion/The Stork Club
dance hall most associated with Lombardo - and undeservedly so. Despite
rose-coloured memories of annual homecoming concerts, The Royal Canadians
appeared no more than a dozen times at this venue. However, Guy played
his first gig here in 1927, just before the band's breakthrough in Chicago,
and his last in 1977, a few months before his death. So you could say
he began and ended his career at The Stork Club. The building was damanged
by fire and demolished in 1979.
The Springbank Pavilion
Park, located to the west of city limits, was one of the most popular
picnic areas in London, boasting an amusement park, zoo, minerature railroad
and this dance venue. In a 1955 interview Guy claimed
he played his first professional engagement here. The remains of Pavilion
were torn down in the early 1960s.
The Grand Theatre
This photo shows the nucleus of the Lombardo Band on stage at The
Grand around 1920. The play is unknown - as are most of the players.
Guy is on the far left, holding his violin - an instrument he rarely touched
after he achieved fame.
Manager Fred Jackson became one of Guy's earliest supporters and booked
the band into his theatre on a regular basis throughout the 1920s. For
a 1949 This Is Your Life broadcast, Jackson was flown down to New York
and introduced as the man who "discovered" Lombardo. Later divided
into a multiplex cinema, only the lavish lobby of the Loew's remains standing
here to see where Guy trod
Click here to see where Guy lived
for a tourist's map of Guy Lombardo's London