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Bringing music-making to Canada for over half a century

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Story by Joe Leary

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Family-owned and operated Tom Lee Music is one of Canada’s most-respected full-line specialty retailers of top brand name musical instruments and equipment. Its humble beginnings date back to 1969 when it opened its doors in Vancouver.

The brand has since expanded with numerous locations across Canada, and the flagship store in downtown Vancouver has been a fixture for more than 40 years.

Occupying 15,000 square feet in the Scotia Tower at the corner of Granville and Georgia, this “store within a store” offers everything for aspiring musicians, ranging from the world’s finest pianos and guitars to the latest advancements in music technology, instrument repairs and virtually everything in between.

Graham Blank is vice president and director of Tom Lee Music Canada. Having a professional musician and teaching background himself,

Graham joined the company in a sales capacity in 1989 and worked his way up through the ranks

The growth of Tom Lee Music Canada is something to be admired. We have grown to be one of the most well-known specialty music retailers in Canada, with five Tom Lee Music locations in Vancouver, Richmond, Coquitlam, Langley and Victoria, says Blank.

Additionally, we have a large online music store,, and four Steinway Piano Gallery locations in Calgary, Ottawa and two in Toronto.”

Being the specialty retailer of musical instruments in Canada requires a dedicated team of professionals who possess a deep knowledge of what they sell and service.

We have an incredible group of music specialists that are also musicians who understand our customer’s needs and are here to help them realize their musical dreams, he says

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Our stores provide everything in music from pianos to guitars and band instruments to the latest advancements in music technology, print music and instrument repairs, and everything in between.

We are proud to represent the best in all categories, including Steinway, Yamaha, Fender, Taylor, Martin, Gibson, Ibanez, Selmer, Bach, Roland and Korg, with highly-specialized service.

Blank emphasizes that for every category of music, they offer an incredible selection from the top instrument makers.

Take the line of Steinway pianos, for example: “Steinway makes an entire family of designed upright and grand pianos, which start from under $10,000 for Steinway-designed Essex and Boston pianos to well into the millions for Steinway & Sons custom pianos.

Steinways can be customized to match a client’s home and are available in their iconic ‘Diamond Gloss’ black finishes, ‘Crown Jewel’ exotic wood finishes, Limited Edition runs and custom one-of-a-kind ‘Art Case’ designs.

As testament to their success, there are over 2000 ‘Steinway Artists’ including Lang Lang, Billy Joel and Diana Krall, who gratuitously choose to play their pianos exclusively.

The brand is the overwhelming choice of 97 percent of concert pianists worldwide. “In 2015 Steinway launched ‘Spirio,’ a high-resolution player piano which enables pianists to play, listen, record, edit and even “Spiriocast” their performances.

In addition to the Steinway line, we also offer iconic piano brands such as Yamaha, Boston, Essex, Petrof, Sauter and Schimmel.

On the guitar side we offer Fender, Taylor, Martin, Gibson and Ibanez, to name a few. “We literally have everything in music, says Blank.

Our downtown Vancouver location is a collection of specialized music shops within one store and we have expert staff within every department, many of whom have been with us for decades.

In addition to a first-class guitar repair shop, Tom Lee Music Canada’s Vancouver store also features a space known as their music experience centre, suitable for all manner of performances, workshops, master classes, recitals and even release parties.

Tom Lee Music prides itself in being a strong supporter for the music and arts community throughout Canada. We are dedicated to supporting music making in all its forms, and have been a strong supporter of the arts community since our beginning, adds Blank.

This includes the Vancouver International Jazz Festival; the Vancouver Folk Fest; the legendary VSO; and we provide instruments and support for hundreds of concerts and events per year.

Legendary guitar luthier Paul Iverson has been working for Tom Lee Music in Vancouver since 2007

Tom Lee Music’s flagship Vancouver store located at 728 Granville Street on the corner of Granville & Georgia

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