“The Toronto Subway Song” – Ozzie Williams Band/1950

Unlike Paris, New York or Kalamazoo, songs about our city are few and far between.  But we’ll always have ‘The Toronto Subway Song‘, written 62 years ago and recorded on the London label.  This little tune celebrates the grand opening of the Yonge Street Line, Canada’s first subway.  Composer: Mel Hamill; sung by Betty Carr & Charles Baldour, with the Ozzie Williams Band; recorded 01/01/1950.

Now have you heard what’s going on in Toronto?
They’re digging deeper, deeper, deeper every day.
Though proprietors are raving while they’re tearing up the paving,
The racket is nerve-wracking, so they say.
And though the noise may be distressing, so construction is progressing,
And we can’t afford a further delay
So with the help of you and me and the blessed T.T.C.
We’ll soon have a real subway.

Yes, we’re gonna have a subway in Toronto.
We gotta get the working man home pronto.
So bear the noise with a smile and in a little while
We’ll be riding in a new subway.

Now it’s generally conceded that a subway here is needed
For the people have to get to work each day.
We have men in Deseronto, girls who live in North Toronto
And to all of them we have just this to say:
Modern history’s in the making with this hallowed undertaking
And Rome wasn’t built in a day.
You may find it’s aggravating, but be sure it’s worth the waiting
For we’ll soon have a real subway.

Now with modern engineering dear old Yonge Street’s disappearing
By the truckload they are hauling it away (INTERJECTION: Stay away!)
Excavation so extensive will doubtless be expensive
But who cares about expenses anyway? (INTERJECTION: anyway)
Though we may have open Sundays there are plenty of blue Mondays
When the pile drivers start every day
The workmen do the swearing while the public do the staring
And we’ll soon have a real subway. (INTERJECTION: Yes, sir!)

Repeat CHORUS, then:
Don’t take the streetcar,
Riding in a new subway!

<PAINTING OPPOSITE – Lily Furedi – “Subway”, 1934, Smithsonian American Art Museum>