Bruce Cockburn & Toronto: A Historical Tour

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(#2) Direct Song References: Yonge St.

Yonge St.

From his 1981 song The Coldest Night Of The Year:

"I took in Yonge Street at a glance
Heard the punkers playing
Watched the bikers dance"

In an interview at The Old Waldorf, San Francisco, CA, on 2 November 1981, Bruce commented that this song "was written as part of that body of work [Inner City Front], and says "I don't see it as totally different, especially lyrically, from [Wanna Go] Walking, and even Inner City Front."

Yonge Street also figured effectively in the 1970 movie "Goin' Down The Road", for which Bruce wrote the music. For the main characters, Yonge Street represents the action and excitement of the "big city" - the place where their dreams will come true.

Yonge St.

Yonge St. is decribed in Toronto: In Pictures And Words, by William Kilbourn and Rudi Christl, as:

"A patchwork of preoccupations and uses, a pawn shop of our several urban dreams, a cacophony of unfinished business ripe for bankruptcy or the quick profit of wallet or soul, a string of little shopping districts and big stores, a street-vendors' haven, a sin strip, a stroller's alley, a mix of ritzy and rubby and rube, it rambles on and on like a picaresque novel, one shining or sorry or tawdry or funny adventure after another. After leaving the city it becomes the main street of several dozen Ontario towns and villages, ending up west of Lake Superior over twelve hundred miles from Toronto Bay."

The main area that Yonge is known for is found south of Bloor, and on down to the Harbour.

This page is part of The Cockburn Project, a unique website that exists to document the work of Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Bruce Cockburn. The Project archives self-commentary by Cockburn on his songs and music, and supplements this core part of the website with news, tour dates, and other current information.