In some of my readings, I come across some passing mentions that Vancouver was a stop on the Grand Tour and that was a contributing factor in it developing a lot of infrastructure for musical performance. But I can't find any information on what the Grand Tour was and where those stops were.

From what I can glean from what my sources tell me, it may or may not have been confined within the British Empire prior to World War 2. Musicians and entertainers would have used this to describe their performances abroad.

And that's all I can guess. What was this?

This source says that this was truly international.



As prohibition ended, the 1920’s and 1930’s saw entertainment flourish. Vancouver became a destination point on the worldwide circuit know as the Grand Tour, which included clubs in Cairo, London, New York, Paris, Rome, San Francisco, Shanghai and Sydney.

During this time, musical theatre thrived in its many forms, thanks in part to the Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park. The resident company, Theatre Under the Stars was a critical success for many years. Its successor in the 1970’s, Theatre in the Park was less popular, however a new company bearing the original name has recently re-established this unique institution in the city’s famous park.

The Grande Tour also brought jazz music to Vancouver relatively early. As the city became home to many of the black customer-service employees of the CPR, an eastside shantytown known as Hogan’s Alley began to develop. Despite its slum reputation and continual police interference, this neighbourhood’s underground music clubs incubated some of the finest session musicians in the country.


1 Answer 1


"The Grand Tour" seems not to have been a formal concert or entertainment series or circuit, but rather the name given to world tours by artists who followed, or roughly followed, a traditional Grand Tour route.

For example, here's a description of a family Grand Tour taken in the 1920s on the Canadian Pacific line. Presumably, then, an artist could book a similar cruise with concerts lined up along the various stops.

Another small hint comes from the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria in Sorrento, Italy. A 2016 Forbes article describes the hotel as

once a stop on the Grand Tour, it’s played host to Marilyn Monroe, Luciano Pavarotti, and Sophia Loren, among countless other luminaries

suggesting that it was also a stop on latter-day "grand tours".

This documentary about the Ballet Russe and its arrival and influence in the US also makes reference to Americans making "their Grand Tour of Europe". The bibliography for the documentary includes several references to "the Grand Tour" in this context.

Here's another reference, but this time to "a grand tour" of a smaller area, but same era.

The dessert was named in honour of the Russian prima ballerina, Anna Pavlova, who had a grand tour of NZ and Oz in the 1920s.

Another reference to an artist making a grand tour can be found in this article about Paderewski.

In November, 1922 ... he announced his first concert -- at the Carnegie Hall.... It was a striking triumph. ... A grand tour followed, and it was everywhere the same. ... And not only in the New World! In due course he was back in Paris and London. In Brussels the King and Queen attended his recital.

Rose, W. J. "Paderewski: A Tribute, 1860-1941." The Slavonic and East European Review 24, no. 63 (1946): 66-80. See page 78. Accessed July 30, 2020.

I've found no references to "the Grand Tour" as a specific concert circuit.

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