By Lisa Lagace
We know Toronto is full of musicians, so it goes without saying that the city itself has been immortalized (or at least referenced to) in song several times over.
But in case you wanted a list of songs that pay homage – or just quickly mention – the Big Smoke, we’ve got it right here.
And we promise most of them more flattering than this one…
1. Neil Young
Our greatest export mentions his city of birth in this incredible song from the iconic On The Beach album. “Well, I’m up in T.O. keepin’ jive alive, and out on the corner, it’s half past five. But the subways are empty, and so are the cafes.”
2. Leonard Cohen
Cohen wrote about the long gone, long loved boozecan some used to know as The Matador before it succumbed to condo development.
3. Tragically Hip
The lyrics are vague but the title says it all.
4. Great Lake Swimmers
A song about the city’s love affair with concrete architecture, it references the El Mocambo, the CN Tower, and Fort York, to name a few spots.
5. The Hidden Cameras
While some of us may still deny it, Mississauga is officially a part of the GTA. So it still counts.
6. Kardinal Offishall
If there’s one Toronto song that sums up being a proud Torontonian beautifully, this is it. “If you’re from Toronto let me see you put a hand up!”
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. What says Toronto even more than Rush alone? Our airport code.
8. The Kings
The Beat Goes On/Switching To Glide
While not specifically about Toronto, the line “Hey little Donna, I still wanna. You said to ring you up when I was in Toronto,” is one of the more well-known rock references to the city.
9. Martha and the Muffins
Well, we did name our beach music venue after this song, after all.
While he’s not a Torontonian, the song references some of our neighborhoods, including Forest Hill.
11. Owen Pallett
The CN Tower Belongs To The Dead
You can always count on Owen Pallett to write a creepy song about our fair city.
12. Camera Obscura
Forests and Sands
“But if the blood pumping through my veins could freeze, like a river in Toronto, then I’d be pleased.” And we’re pleased this amazing band gave us a shout out, even if just to make reference to our crap weather.
It’s My Neighbourhood
Yep, this band somehow still exists.
Emily Haines is from Toronto, so it’s no surprise they made a song about Parkdale.
15. Stompin’ Tom Connors
To It And At It
Good old Stompin’ Tom, the original Toronto name-dropper.
16. Barenaked Ladies
The Old Apartment
The Danforth provides the setting for the apartment in question.
17. Cold Specks
One of the most beautiful songs we have, if you don’t mind feeling a little sad.
18. The Poles
The tower might be our most over-referenced landmark… well, until Rob Ford came along.
19. Treble Charger
They sure did write a song about every hipster’s favourite park.
20. Murray McLaughlan
Down by the Henry Moore
This song is Toronto history.
City Is Mine
We couldn’t write this list without including a Drake song. Sorry. “Yo, the city is mine. Which one? T-O-R-O-N-T-O.”