O Canada

The Top 100 Canadian Songs of All Time?

musicOn Canada Day, 2007, I listed what I believed to be the top 100 Canadian songs of all time. It was a 1.5 month endeavour to assemble that list, and I was pretty proud of it.

A new book by Bob Mersereau has reignited this great debate. Bob lists the top 100 Canadian singles. Here's Bob's list. I've made the choices we agreed on bold.

1. The Guess Who — "American Woman"

2. Neil Young — "Heart of Gold"

3. The Band — "The Weight"

4. Bryan Adams — "Summer of '69"

5. Leonard Cohen — "Hallelujah"

6. Steppenwolf — "Born to Be Wild"

7. Gordon Lightfoot — "If You Could Read My Mind"

8. Bachman Turner Overdrive — "Takin' Care of Business"

9. Ian and Sylvia — "Four Strong Winds"

10. Anne Murray — "Snowbird"

11. Joni Mitchell — "Big Yellow Taxi" / "Woodstock"

12. Rush — "Tom Sawyer"

13. Blue Rodeo — "Try"

14. Tragically Hip — "New Orleans is Sinking"

15. Gordon Lightfoot — "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald"

16. Leonard Cohen — "Suzanne"

17. Tom Cochrane — "Life is a Highway"

18. The Guess Who — "These Eyes"

19. Gordon Lightfoot — "Sundown"

20. Sloan — "Underwhelmed"

21. The Band — "Up on Cripple Creek" / "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"

22. Maestro Fresh Wes — "Let Your Backbone Slide"

23. The Diodes — "Tired of Waking Up Tired"

25. Rush — "The Spirit of Radio"

25. Crowbar — "Oh What a Feeling"

26. Rough Trade — "High School Confidential"

27. Martha and the Muffins — "Echo Beach"

28. Stampeders — "Sweet City Woman"

29. Arcade Fire — "Wake Up"

30. Barenaked Ladies — "If I Had $1,000,000"

31. Robert Charlebois — "Lindberg"

32. The Pursuit Of Happiness — "I'm an Adult Now"

33. Ugly Ducklings — "Nothin' "

34. Sloan — "Coax Me"

35. Rush — "Closer to the Heart"

36. Teenage Head — "Picture My Face"

37. Guess Who — "Shakin' All Over"

38. Five Man Electrical Band — "Signs"

39. Blue Rodeo — "Lost Together"

40. Ron Hynes — "Sonny's Dream"

41. Men Without Hats — "The Safety Dance"

42. Rheostatics — "Claire"

43. Lighthouse — "One Fine Morning"

44. A Foot In Coldwater — "(Make Me Do) Anything You Want"

45. Corey Hart — "Sunglasses At Night"

46. Loverboy — "Working For The Weekend"

47. Trooper — "Raise A Little Hell"

48. Parachute Club — "Rise Up"

49. Alannah Myles — "Black Velvet"

50. Terry Jacks — "Seasons in the Sun"

51. Malajube — "Montreal -40C"

52. Neil Young — "Cinnamon Girl"

53. Alanis Morissette — "You Oughta Know"

54. Feist — "1234"

55. Arcade Fire — "Rebellion (Lies)"

56. k.d. lang — "Constant Craving"

57. Neil Young — "Rockin' in the Free World"

58. Michel Pagliaro — "Lovin' You Ain't Easy"

59. Bruce Cockburn — "Lovers in a Dangerous Time"

60. Tragically Hip — "Bobcaygeon"

61. Joni Mitchell — "A Case of You" / "California"

62. The Demics — "New York City"

63. Bryan Adams — "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You"

64. Tragically Hip — "Ahead by a Century"

65. Blue Rodeo — "Five Days in May"

66. Hank Snow — "I'm Moving On"

67. Harmonium — "Pour un instant"

68. Steppenwolf — "Magic Carpet Ride"

69. Sloan — "Money City Maniacs"

70. Celine Dion — "My Heart Will Go On"

71. k-os — "Crabbuckit"

72. The Kings —"This Beat Goes on/Switchin' to Glide"

73. Neil Young — "Old Man" / "Needle and the Damage Done"

74. Jean Leloup — "1990"

75. Payola$ — "Eyes of a Stranger"

76. Blue Rodeo — "Hasn't Hit Me Yet"

77. Bachman Turner Overdrive — "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet"

78. Bruce Cockburn — "Wondering Where the Lions Are"

79. April Wine — "You Could Have Been a Lady"

80. Teenage Head — "Let's Shake"/ "Somethin' On My Mind"

81. Joni Mitchell — "Help Me"

82. Trooper — "We're Here For A Good Time"

83. Lighthouse — "Sunny Days"

84. Jean-Pierre Ferland — "Le petit roi"

85. Bryan Adams — "Cuts Like A Knife"

86. Stompin' Tom Connors — "The Hockey Song"

87. Tragically Hip — "Wheat Kings"

88. Gilles Vigneault — "Mon pays"

89. Spirit of The West — "Home For a Rest"

90. New Pornographers — "Letter from an Occupant"

91. Guess Who — "No Time"

92. Mashmakhan — "As the Years Go By"

93. Neil Young — "Hey Hey My My"

94. Paul Anka — "Diana"

95. Daniel Lanois — "The Maker"

96. The Spoons — "Nova Heart"

97. Beau Dommage — "La complainte du phoque en Alaska"

98. Ron Sexsmith — "Secret Heart"

99. Bryan Adams — "Run to You"

100. Wintersleep — "Weighty Ghost"

Pretty similar... I didn't have any French songs on my list, and opted for different Rheostatics, Feist and New Pornographers, but we're pretty close... especially in the top 25.

Heck, I'll save you a click and just reprint my list below.

The Tragically Hip - New Orleans Is Sinking

Neil Young - Helpless

The Band - The Weight

Joni Mitchell - Big Yellow Taxi

Gordon Lightfoot - Canadian Railroad Trilogy

Stan Rogers - Northwest Passage

Sloan - Underwhelmed

The Guess Who - American Woman

Leonard Cohen - Suzanne

Neil Young - Heart of Gold

Blue Rodeo - Try

Leonard Cohen - Hallelujah

The Tragically Hip - Courage

Barenaked Ladies - Brian Wilson

Cowboy Junkies - Misguided Angel

Arcade Fire - Wake Up

Gordon Lightfoot - Early Morning Rain

Neil Young - Rockin' In The Free World

Rush - The Spirit of Radio

The Guess Who - Share the Land

Blue Rodeo - Lost Together

Death From Above 1979 - Romantic Rights

Our Lady Peace - Naveed

Arcade Fire - Rebellion (Lies)

Blue Rodeo - Diamond Mine

Bruce Cockburn - Lovers in a Dangerous Time

Gordon Lightfoot - If You Could Read My Mind

Five Man Electical Band - Signs

Bachman Turner Overdrive - Takin' Care Of Business

Gordon Lightfoot - Sundown

The Guess Who - These Eyes

Blood, Sweat and Tears - Spinning Wheel

Hayden - Bad As They Seem

Neil Young - Cinnamon Girl

Ian and Sylvia - Four Strong Winds

Joni Mitchell - Woodstock

Rush - Closer to the Heart

Joni Mitchell - Both Sides, Now

Our Lady Peace - 4am

Maestro Fresh-Wes - Let Your Backbone Slide

k.d. lang - Constant Craving

The Tragically Hip - Bobcaygeon

Neil Young - Old Man

Dream Warriors - My Definition of a Boombastic Jazz Style

Sarah Harmer - Silver Road

Jeff Healey - Angel Eyes

The New Pornographers - Mass Romantic

I Mother Earth - So Gently We Go

Our Lady Peace - Clumsy

Joni Mitchell - The Circle Game

The Pursuit of Happiness - I'm An Adult Now

The Lowest of the Low - Henry Needs A New Pair of Shoes

Ashley MacIsaac - Sleepy Maggie

Robbie Robertson - Somewhere Down the Crazy River

Tom Cochrane - Big League

Rush - Tom Sawyer

Moist - Push

Billy Talent - Nothing To Lose

Rusty - Wake Me

The Northern Pikes - Teenland

Sarah Harmer - Basement Apartment

Sarah McLachlan - Hold On

The Tragically Hip - Wheat Kings

Sloan - Coax Me

Spirit of the West - Home For A Rest

Steppenwolf - Born To Be Wild

Crash Test Dummies - Superman's Song

Stars - Ageless Beauty

The Tragically Hip - Ahead By A Century

The Demics - New York City

Barenaked Ladies - If I Had $1,000,000

54-40 - I Go Blind

Bryan Adams - Summer of '69

The New Pornographers - Use It

The Watchmen - All Uncovered

Treble Charger - Red

Sam Roberts - Brother Down

Randy Bachman - Prairie Town

Sarah McLachlan - Angel

Tom Cochrane - Boy Inside The Man

Alanis Morissette - You Oughta Know

Skydiggers - I Will Give You Everything

Men Without Hats - Safety Dance

Rough Trade - High School Confidential

Hot Hot Heat - Bandages

Corey Hart - Sunglasses at Night

Loverboy - Working For The Weekend

Metric - Combat Baby

Rusty - Misogyny

k-os - Heaven Only Knows

Tokyo Police Club - Nature Of The Experiment

Stars - Your Ex-Lover Is Dead

Rheostatics - Record Body Count

Odds - Heterosexual Man

The Gandharvas - The First Day of Spring

The Diodes - Tired of Waking Up Tired

Feist - Mushaboom

Gowan - A Criminal Mind

Grapes Of Wrath - All The Things I Wasn't

Max Webster - A Million Vacations

Any glaring omissions from both lists?

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Happy Contrived Summer Holiday!

calendarMost of us in Canada have the day off today. It's a Civic Holiday, or as I like to call it, Contrived Summer Holiday.

Essentially, with a whole summer between Canada Day and Labour Day, we needed a summer holiday. The first Monday of August sounded good, and most provinces bought in. What this holiday is called, however, depends upon where you live.

Here are the provinces outside Ontario celebrating a holiday today:

  • Heritage Day - Alberta
  • British Columbia Day - British Columbia
  • Civic Holiday - Manitoba
  • New Brunswick Day - New Brunswick
  • Civic Holiday - Northwest Territories
  • Natal Day - Nova Scotia
  • Civic Holiday - Nunavut
  • Natal Day - Prince Edward Island
  • Saskatchewan Day - Saskatchewan

And here in Ontario, this holiday gets really complicated. We call it different names depending on which city you're in.

  • Simcoe Day - Toronto
  • Mountie Day - North York
  • Colonel By Day - Ottawa
  • George Hamilton Day - Hamilton
  • Joseph Brant Day - Burlington
  • Founders' Day - Brantford
  • McLaughlin Day - Oshawa
  • Alexander Mackenzie Day - Sarnia
  • James Cockburn Day - Cobourg
  • Peter Robinson Day - Peterborough
  • John Galt Day - Guelph

Happy Contrived Summer Holiday!

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143 Years of Canada Lovin' Blog Entries

canadaHappy Birthday, Canada, you're 143 years young today.

Over the past 7.5 years I've written quite a bit about you. All of those posts can be found at https://www.torontomike.com/o_canada/. But here are a few of my favourites, in the order I wrote them.

  1. Vimy Ridge
  2. O Canada! (2003 Version)
  3. A Distinct Identity
  4. Blame Canada
  5. Reason Number 32
  6. Our Other Anthem
  7. The Maple Music Revolution
  8. My Ten Favourite Song References to A Canadian Place
  9. Best Canadian Movies
  10. Top 100 Canadian Songs: The Definitive List
  11. D'oh Canada!
  12. My Ten Favourite Canadian Albums
  13. Helping Fukuoka, Japan Celebrate Canada Day
  14. 117,000 Reasons to Remember
  15. Canada Owns Podium in Vancouver

Happy Canada Day!

O Canada

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Our Haiti Relief Song is Better Than Yours

musicAmerican musicians re-recorded We Are The World to raise money for Haiti and now we have a Canadian response. The collective is called Young Artists for Haiti and they've recorded K'naan's Wavin' Flag.

Here are the soloists:

  • K'naan
  • Nelly Furtado
  • Sam Roberts
  • Avril Lavigne
  • Pierre Bouvier
  • Tyler Connolly
  • Kardinal Offishall
  • Jully Black
  • Deryck Whibley
  • Serena Ryder
  • Jacob Hoggard
  • Emily Haines
  • Hawksley Workman
  • Drake
  • Chin Injeti
  • Ima
  • Pierre Lapointe
  • Elisapie Isaac
  • Esthero
  • Corb Lund
  • Fefe Dobson
  • Nikki Yanofsky
  • Matt Mays
  • Justin Nozuka
  • Justin Bieber

In the chorus my eagle eye caught old friends Jim Cuddy, Tom Cochrane, Colin James and Jim Creeggan.

Buy it here. All proceeds go to designated charities World Vision, Free The Children and War Child.

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Canada Owns Podium in Vancouver

CanadaIt's hard to believe it was less than a week ago that I wrote Own The Podium Should Have Under Promised and Over Delivered. It had become apparent that our total medal count was going to be much lower than the United States' and we were going to fall short on our pledge to "Own the Podium".

I felt our athletes were being unfairly blamed for under delivering on Own the Podium's overly ambitious promise to "place first in the total medal count at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games".

That was six days ago. Everything's different now. Canada finished so strong, delivering the most desired of medals when Crosby scored the golden goal. That was gold medal #14, the gold medal that set a winter Olympics record and sent this nation into a delightful frenzy.

Let's take a look at the final medal count for the 2010 Olympic games in Vancouver.


As mentioned, that 14 gold medals Canada won is the all-time record for a single nation at any winter Olympics. Of course, that also means we smashed the record for a host nation, despite never winning a gold medal during our previous two Olympics in 1976 and 1988. That 14 gold medals is 4 more than the 2nd place country, Germany, and 5 more than the country with the most total medals, the USA.

14 gold medals is, without a doubt in my heart and mind, evidence of podium ownership. Top rung, baby. OTP can define it however they like, I'm taking what's rightfully ours, on behalf of this awesome country.


The last two weeks was one hell of a ride. I'm sorry to see it end, but if you're going out, you might as well go out with a bang.


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Tom Brokaw Explains Canada to Americans

canadaI'm willing to bet the vast majority of people reading this entry will be watching Canada face the United States tonight in Olympic hockey action. The puck drops at 7:35pm ET and I can't wait.

In this clip from NBC, Tom Brokaw explains the relationship between Canada and the USA, in a pre-recorded short film that aired prior to the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. Americans should watch this before their pummeling tonight, so it hurts just a little less.

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Canada's Last WWI Veteran Dies

canadaJohn Babcock, Canada’s last known First World War veteran, has died. John Babcock was 109 years old.

John Babcock was ready to fight in the Great War so we can live in a country where the great national stress is a shootout victory over Switzerland in Olympic men's hockey.

Thanks, John, for being one of the 650,000 men and women Canada recruited to serve in the “war to end all wars.”


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Canada for Haiti

helpOn Friday night at 7pm, CBC, CTV and Global Television will air "Canada for Haiti", a fundraiser to support earthquake relief for Haiti. The one-hour, commercial-free event will also be streamed online at the networks' websites and broadcast on CBC Radio Two.

Joining hosts Cheryl Hickey, Ben Mulroney and George Stroumboulopoulos are the following super duper Canadian peeps:

  • Celine Dion
  • James Cameron
  • Michael J. Fox
  • The Tragically Hip
  • Jason Reitman
  • Ryan Reynolds
  • William Shatner
  • Rachelle Lefevre
  • Joshua Jackson
  • Eugene Levy
  • Norman Jewison
  • Tom Jackson
  • Will Arnett
  • Brent Butt
  • Hugh Dillon
  • Mike Holmes
  • Rick Mercer
  • Alex Trebek
  • Sandra Oh
  • Pamela Anderson
  • Justin Bieber
  • Nelly Furtado
  • Sarah McLachlan
  • Barenaked Ladies
  • Simple Plan
  • David Foster
  • Chantal Kreviazuk
  • Raine Maida
  • Measha Brueggergosman
  • K'naan
  • Craig Kielburger
  • Wayne Gretzky
  • Steve Nash
  • Stephen Harper
  • Michaelle Jean

Donations collected during the broadcast will go to a number of non-profit organizations including the Canadian Red Cross Society, Care Canada, Free the Children, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam Quebec, Plan Canada, Save the Children Canada, UNICEF Canada and World Vision Canada.

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Canada Kills Pepsi Cheer - We Win!

Pepsi's Cheer sucksWhat was Pepsi thinking? That's what I want to know.

I work in marketing. I'm shocked Pepsi's "Cheer Nation" campaign got off the drawing board. I totally understand why Pepsi would want to associate their beverage with our national game, that's just smart business sense, but asking us to abandon “Go Canada Go” and “Ca-Na-Da” in favour of their awful and insulting chant of “Eh Oh Canada Go” is a horrible, horrible idea. They literally trampled ungraciously and obnoxiously on sacred ground.

Since I wrote Cheer Nation? I'm Not Chanting "Eh! O' Canada Go!" For Pepsi I've been using every ounce of my Google prowess and social media might to defend my nation, our game and our collective intelligence by rallying against PepsiCo and this campaign. I've managed to get interviewed by one major newspaper and an article I wrote got into the hands of the entertainment editor at The Star. Sadly, that article never got printed, but this one in the Vancouver Sun ran today.

'Eh Oh Canada Go' junior hockey chant falls flat

VANCOUVER — While Team Canada's attempt to achieve a sixth straight World Junior Championship gold medal fell to the wayside in overtime against Team USA last night in Saskatoon, at least one sigh of relief was exhaled by hockey fans across Canada as a corporate attempt to hijack a cultural tradition fell flat in its face.

Pepsi's attempt to eliminate the traditional Canadian hockey chants of “Go Canada Go” and “Ca-Na-Da” and re-brand them with the dubious chant of “Eh Oh Canada Go” was received with little fanfare before the tournament and by the gold medal game, the corporate takeover was stopped in its tracks as 13,000-plus loud, passionate fans kept to the traditional “Go Canada Go” chant.

Pepsi is a sponsor of Hockey Canada but not the Olympics and decided to get in on the pre-Olympic hockey buzz by creating a marketing campaign asking Canadians to create a new hockey chant.

The hockey gods cringed, as did fans across Canada.

The corporation's bid to get one million people to sign up for “Cheer Nation” has only garnered 93,876, many of whom were enticed to sign up because Pepsi said it would temporarily display a list of their names in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Pepsi's Facebook page has 133,000 fans, although that may be deceiving since most of the latest messages on the page seem to reinforce what many are calling a marketing disaster.

"I became a [Facebook] fan of this just to say how stupid it is. No company is going to tell me how to cheer. I don't need a sports cheer marketed," wrote Facebook member Jeff.

Meanwhile, the recently created "Eh! Oh! Canada Go! chant is a national embarrassment" Facebook page has 30,000 members.

And on Canucks.com, one fan created a forum discussion demanding the Pepsi chant be boycotted.

While Pepsi said the chant had "landed in Saskatoon" it was barely heard, if not for the parachuted Pepsi employees who tried (and failed) to launch the chant inside the arena.

During one commercial break in a previous game the chant's creator Joan Buma was introduced while a small group of "fans" chanted the cheer and a Pepsi cheerleader waved a Pepsi flag up and down the aisles. To Pepsi's credit one boy (presumed not to be paid by Pepsi) did stand up and bravely cheer the Pepsi chant for the camera.

Fans posting messages on online hockey discussion forums, such as NHL team websites and HFBoards.com, condemned the chant, with all due respect to Buma.

"I trust the Pepsi chant will die the early and inglorious death it deserves," said one member on HFBoards.com.

Bloggers also derided the corporate gimmick.

“Toronto Mike” said on his popular blog that the premise that Team Canada fans needed to be united was "faulty," and that fans are not corporate "sheep."

By the gold medal game there was seemingly nothing left of the chant other than the continuous bombardment of Pepsi commercials on television. The cheer wasn't necessarily boycotted, rather it was simply ignored and died an inglorious death.

I'm claiming victory. This campaign will go down in history as one of the greatest miscalculations in Canadian marketing history. We Canadians are a tolerant bunch, polite and passive at times, but when you come in our backyard and tell us how to cheer for our national hockey team, we get pissed. And you don't want to see a Canadian pissed.

That damn cheer has indeed died an inglorious death. We won!

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poppyOn the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, Canadians are asked to pause and remember the thousands of men and women who sacrificed their lives fighting for freedom and democracy during the First World War, the Second World War, the Korean War, the Afghanistan conflict and during peacekeeping missions.

I've scoured my site for relevant entries. Here are some you may want to revisit today.

Here are some entries about Alfred Finley, a veteran and familiar face in Bloor West Village for many years.

And to those who served, or are serving this great country right now, I have one word: Thanks.

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