This time of year, CBC Radio 2 has a songquest contest. It is not really a contest, it is an event. Listeners nominate something to write a song about and a songwriter from each province is voted to write the song.
This year the topic is "road songs." They have been playing classic road songs, like "Let it Roll" and "Radar Love" and even "This Flight Tonight," which is a "travelling" song, so it qualifies.
So, I am going to try to write a song. Last year, I wrote a song for this event, because it is good to challenge yourself. It's like exercise.
Last year the topic was a favourite place in Canada. After listening to people all over the country call in to nominate some small bend in the road or vast stretch of lone sandy beach, I decided to write a song about Toronto. No one nominated Toronto, yet it is the biggest city in the country. Surely, there is somethimg noteworthy about my hometown?
The song is called "Downtown Toronto:"
Click here to hear "Downtown Toronto"
I went up the CN Tower
Thought I’d only stay an hour
Rode on a glass elevator
Thought I might throw up later
I walked on a big glass floor
Laughed cause I was scared some more
Watched the kids lie straight face down
Black and white and yellow and brown … they were
Where else can you do that?
Toronto’s where it’s at.
I could see for miles and miles
Way up there in the air
I looked out the windows south
My heart it came up in my mouth I saw…..
St. Catharines and more
Hamilton, Niagara Falls
On Lake Ontario shores
Paddleboats, the big golf ball at Ontario Place
The Forum where Blue Rodeo played
And I want to play someday
Condos glitter in the west
Sailboats in the water rest
Ferries go to Centre Island,
Porter planes lift off and land
The golden sun sets on the lake
All 32 miles - she swum that day
Oh what was her name again?
Oh, yeah – Marilyn Bell.
Up North I see a Pink Palace -
Queen’s Park where horses ride,
UofT for you and me
The streetcars of the TTC
And if you squint you can see
The castle where we’d like to be
Way up there - past the ROM
a small but wonderful Casa Loma
And in the east is Leslie Street
Greenwood Park and Harriet Hill
Where we'd walk down on sunny days
To Kew Beach where the music plays
I can see the Danforth,
Over by the Twelfth Fret
Withrow Park, the Black Swan too
Riverdale and the Rio
The Horseshoe, the Gasworks
And the El Mocombo
Queen Street West
Where Much is best
A building up on pencils
From Wonderland to the Zoo
Toronto has a lot to do
The Eaton’s Centre, Dundas Square
Yonge Street lights tell you you’re there