Juno Awards: Top 40 songs about Canada


The Juno Awards celebrate their 40th anniversary this week in Toronto, so here’s a Top 40 list of songs by Canadians that reference the country. The first 25 or 30 songs are pretty much off the top of my head, which might explain the questionable ordering (that and some differences in taste!). Debate welcome.

1. Helpless – Neil Young (There is a town in north Ontario …) [Cool duet with Bruce above]

2. It Hasn’t Hit Me Yet – Blue Rodeo (Snow falling in the middle of Lake Ontario)

3. Wheat Kings – The Tragically Hip (Sundown in the Paris of the Prairies)

4. Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald – Gordon Lightfoot (when the Gales of November came slashin’)

5. Coyote Joni Mitchell (On the road to Baljennie near my old home town)

6. Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out) – Arcade Fire (Growin’ up in some strange storm, nobody’s cold, nobody’s warm)

7. Acadian Driftwood – The Band (Canadian cold front movin’ in)

8. Lakeside Park – Rush (Everyone would gather on the twenty-fourth of May sitting in the sand to watch the fireworks display.)

9. The Night Paddy Murphy Died – Great Big Sea (They stopped the hearse on George Street outside Sundance Saloon)

10. Oh … CanadaClassified (I know where I’m from and I told ya before North of America hard to ignore)

11. Your Ex-Lover Is Dead Stars (Captured a taxi despite all the rain we drove in silence across Pont Champlain)

12. Spoonful of Sugar – Matt Mays & El Torpedo (Spoonful of sugar in Montreal city)

13. Hard Road – Sam Roberts (And her soft brown hair is as long as the Canadian highway)

14. My Old Apartment – Barenaked Ladies (We bought an old house on the Danforth)

15. Spadina Bus – The Shuffle Demons (Well, I start to cuss on the Wellesley bus and you can’t go far on the College Street car you know the Yonge Street train is a real pain and the LRT—that’s not for me)

16. Sudbury Saturday Night – Stompin’ Tom (The girls are out to Bingo and the boys are getting’ stinko)

17. Bobcaygeon – The Hip (it was in Bobcaygeon I saw the constellations reveal themselves one star at a time)

18. Three Pistols – The Hip (Tom Thomson came paddling past)

19. English Bay – Blue Rodeo (I listen to the rain and the sounds of the passin’ cars and the waves on English Bay)

20. City of Lakes – Matt Mays & El Torpedo (And at the end of the day I will return to the city of lakes where the real people roam close to where all the real waves break)

21. Comin’ Home – City and Colour (I’ve been through Nova Scotia, Sydney to Halifax I’ll never take any pictures cause I know I’ll just be right back)

22. The River – Joni Mitchell (I wish I had a river I could skate away on)

23. Weakerthans – One Great City (I hate Winnipeg)

24. The Ballad of Wendel Clark Parts 1 & 2 – The Rheostatics (Wendel was a man with a stick in his hands he learned how to play in Kelvington S.A.S.K.)

25. Montreal – Blue Rodeo (We met in Montreal far from the crime)

26. 38 Years Old – The Hip again (Twelve men broke free in ’73 from Millhaven maximum security)

27. Evangeline – The Band (Evangeline, from the Maritimes was slowly going insane.)

28. Runnin’ Back to Saskatoon – The Guess Who (Moose Jaw saw a few)

29. Hockey Skates – Kathleen Edwards (Going down in the same old town down the same street to the same bar)

30. Canadian Railroad TrilogyGordon Lightfoot (For there was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not run when the wild majestic mountains stood alone against the sun)

31. Miles from Our Home – Cowboy Junkies (The moon hangs like a question mark, pale as milk, bold as a promise)

32. Northern Touch – Rascalz (yes from the northwest and the t-dot, o-dizot check)

33. Escarpment Blues – Sarah Harmer (We’ll keep driving on the Blind Line if we don’t know where we want to go)

34. The Old Sod – Spirt of the West (Canada’s been good to us we’ve a living and a home. We’ve all got central heating and most are on the phone)

35. The Old Black Rum – Great Big Sea (I think a bloody racket might soon begin I must have said something to the George Street queen Now the boys are joining in)

36. An American Draft Dodger in Thunder Bay – Sam Roberts (Crossed the border late at night and it was high stakes until he saw the Great Lakes)

37. City is Mine – Drake (Yo, the city is mine ((Which one?)) T-O-R-O-N-T-O)

38. Parkdale – Metric (I’m flipping out in the magazine neighborhood)

39. Canada vs. America – Broken Social Scene (I’m from the city of love we all don’t feel loved)

40. Far From Home – Neil Young (Walking down the trans-Canada highway I was talking to a firefly)

What’d I miss? What do you got?


11 Comments to “Juno Awards: Top 40 songs about Canada”

  1. Sarah Harmer – Uniform Grey (I’m down in your rainy town out on the spit with the biggest port around)

  2. So, how about “Hockey Sweater” by Dala … “And I’ll be wearing your hockey sweater, And you’ll be waiting, somewhere where it never snows” …… or Tanglefoots’ “Seven a Side” … “The defensemen were steady, the wings they played out wide, They charged as one into the fray to battle seven a side. In desperation they pressed on for more. They wanted to show them the boys from The Bruce knew the score” …

  3. How could you miss Ian and Sylvia’s Four Strong Winds, Canada’s iconic anthem to cold Alberta winters, movin’ west and a young man’s heartbreak?

  4. Murray McLaughlin
    Down by the Henry Moore

  5. How about Paul Brandt’s Alberta Bound or anything pretty much by Corb Lund, but especially Truck Got Stuck -“we raised hell all over that native prairie soil. Agriculture Canada is definitely gonna be looking for us.” or their rendition and added verse to the Hockey Song.

  6. A couple of older songs in mycollection include

    Ozzie Williams Band — ” Sunday in Toronto” – refers to the old Toronto blue laws and the back side is called “The Toronto Subway Song” which starts off with ‘Oh we’re gonna have a subway in Toronto”

    A couple of older Folk songs On a 33 LP are “The Black Flies of Ontario” from the early days of railroad construction . Squid Jiggin Grounds. and on anothr ## by the Travellers we have such songs as “Acres of Clams”; ‘Mary Anne” ; and “Greenland Fisheries” a tale of the maritime fishing industry.

    All good Canadian songs. that were popular in my days.

    Jerry Lee
    San Diego, CAl.

  7. 50 Mission Cap – The Hip
    Fireworks – The Hip
    Nautical Disaster – The Hip
    Elegy to Gump Worsley – Weakerthans
    Four Strong Winds – Ian Tyson
    B.C. Orientering – Said the Whale
    Emerald Lake, AB – Said the Whale
    Holly, Ontario – Said the Whale
    Winnipeg Winds – Jason Collett
    Trans Canada – The Constantines

    …To name a few that I like over some of those. That said, still a solid list.

  8. Hey there,
    That is a very nice post. Have you considered Salmon fishining in the Courtenay area of Vancouver Island?

    • Yes, would love to come up to that area. I will be at Sonora Resort in September so should get some fishing in for sure!

  9. Sam Roberts’ No Sleep: Elle a arrete le temps au coin de St Catherine and St Laurent (Montreal)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: