There are a ton of Toronto mentions in music, thanks to the city’s uncanny ability to inspire. Here is the second part of our list of favourite songs about Toronto (we tried our best not to list The Low’s entire discography).
Read part one here.
Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy) — “The CN Tower Belongs To The Dead”
“The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead” was released on Owen Pallett’s debut album, back when he was most commonly known by his solo name Final Fantasy. The song was the fifth song on the album, entitled Has a Good Home.
Drake — “5 a.m. in Toronto”
It’s a commonly known fact that Drake likes to represent Toronto in his music. This song, named after his hometown, was released in 2013 as a sequel to Thank Me Later’s song “9AM in Dallas.”
Fucked Up — “Municipal Prick”
In 2003, Toronto band Fucked Up released Police. Included on the album was “Municipal Prick,” a song that became known for namedropping and calling out a number of Toronto politicians.
Final Fantasy/Owen Pallett — “The Lamb Sells Condos”
Owen Pallett’s “The Lamb Sells Condos” was inspired by a billboard in Toronto of a real estate agent named Brad J. Lamb. The agent’s billboard pictured a background with lambs in it, a completely unoriginal pun on his last name. Pallett’s song addresses the shallowness of the real estate industry and its destructive effects on our emotional and physical states.
Treble Charger — “Trinity Bellwoods”
“Trinity Bellwoods” was originally released in 1994 on Treble Charger’s debut album NC17. Trinity Bellwoods tends to make an impression on artists who visit the buzzing west end spot — the members of Treble Charger are from Sault Ste. Marie and at some point along the way were put under the same spell.
Rush — “YYZ”
YYZ is the transmitter code for Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, and the song actually opens up with YYZ in Morse code, which is how many air navigation aids broadcast the code to pilots.
Martha And the Muffins — “Echo Beach”
“Echo Beach” is a love letter to the actual Echo Beach in Toronto. The song narrates a person’s highlight of their generally mundane life, that highlight being watching the sunset over Echo Beach. It’s a groovy track that any lover of Toronto will appreciate.
Great Lake Swimmers — “I Will Never See The Sun”
Great Lake Swimmers’ “I Will Never See The Sun” describes Toronto’s less picturesque features, such as “waltzing in a garbage pile/ sweating like a weather’s vein.” This melancholy track is the opposite of an ode to the city.
Kardinal Offishall — “The Anthem”
“The Anthem” is among one of the more well-known songs about Toronto. Its chorus has been picked up as a chant in Toronto sports arenas.
Shuffle Demons — “Spadina Bus”
The music video looks like it could be the opening to a ’90s sitcom, but “Spadina Bus” marked a turning point in the Shuffle Demons’ career, putting them on the map on stations like MTV. It was also used as the theme song to CITY-TV’s show Speakers Corner.
Lowest of the Low — “That Song About Trees & Kites”
Lowest of the Low’s “That Song About Trees & Kites” mentions Sneaky Dee’s, a staple in Toronto’s music scene. “Well, I don’t mean to be a preacher/ And give a sermon from the church of Sneaky Dee’s/ But one more jug of beer and that point that I was reaching/ Will hit me like a vision and make me fall on my knees.”
Lowest of the Low — “Bleed a Little While Tonight”
We can always rely on Lowest of the Low to allude to the 6ix in their music — the band is, after all, from Toronto. “Bleed a Little While Tonight” is no exception — the song describes emotionally charged scenes, along with a mention of a kiss on Bathurst Street.
Stompin’ Tom Connors — TTC Skidaddler
Stompin’ Tom often sang about the simplicities of everyday life, specifically Canadian life, and “TTC Skidaddler” was no different. In this song, the Canadian legend pays homage to the TTC as well as its daily commuters. The music video is also legendary — it shows Stompin’ Tom driving a real street car throughout Toronto’s streets.
Dany Laj and The Looks — Queen St. West
Named after the iconic Toronto street, Montreal’s Dany Laj and The Looks released this song in 2012.
The Lowest of the Low — Under the Carlaw Bridge
“Under the Carlaw Bridge” references a spot at Carlaw Ave. and Gerrard St. E. The song is from the band’s hit album Shakespeare My Butt…, released in 1991. According to an interview The Star did with The Low, Ron Hawkins quit his day job at 25 and spent quite a bit of time wandering the streets of Toronto, which is how many of the songs on this album were created.