CNE hosts contest for Toronto song

Frank Sinatra immortalized the city that never sleeps in New York, New York.Toronto? Despite our large music scene, it’s hard to think of a single iconic song.

Frank Sinatra immortalized the city that never sleeps in New York, New York.

Toronto? Despite our large music scene, it’s hard to think of a single iconic song.

Tonight, the city will try to change that. At the Canadian National Exhibition, 10 different acts will face off in an American Idol-style showdown for the right to have their original pean to the city chosen as an official Toronto song.

Before now, the few musical tributes to the city have included Toronto Song, a bizarre little ditty sung by Groucho Marx, in which a man suggests to his wife they should run away to Hogtown to escape some sponging relatives. There’s also The Toronto Song by Edmonton comedy troupe Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie, whose lyrics complain: “The rent’s too high/The air’s unclean/The beaches are dirty/And the people are mean.”

Not exactly the stuff that entices tourists to the Big Smoke.

Local musicians and critics aren’t entirely sure why there isn’t already a great Toronto song.

“The attitude in rock music is that it’s cheesy to sing about something as small as Canada,” says Alan Cross, host of the Ongoing History of New Music.

 
 
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