"The Toronto Subway Song" by Ozzie Williams

LISTEN: "The Toronto Subway Song" by Ozzie Williams

1950s swing music from the Lake Shore scene

Ozzie Williams started his career all the way back in the early 1930s, when swing and jazz were all the rage. He made his name as a band leader leading orchestras at popular dance halls like Club Kingsway near the mouth of the Humber River. He seems to have been particularly fond of performing songs about our city. In 1950, he released "Sunday In Toronto" — a satire of the "blue laws" which effectively shut the city down every Sunday. A copy of the record was sent to every member of City Council, but it didn't quite work: the last of the laws, banning Sunday shopping, wouldn't be repealed until 1992.

The b-side of that single is actually better-remembered. Back in those days, construction on Toronto's very first subway line was in full swing. The chaos it caused on Yonge Street was making people cranky. That's what inspired "The Toronto Subway Song", poking fun at the city while looking forward to the day the subway finally arrived: when the Yonge line opened on March 30, 1954.

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Listen to more Torontonian swing music here.

All songs are posted to promote the artist and the history of Toronto. When possible, I've sought permission from artists, but if you're the copyright-holder and would like the song removed, please contact me here and I'll be happy to do so. 

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