Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Toronto Subway 1949-54

"The Toronto Subway Song" was a 78 record released by Ozzie Williams and his band in 1950. Here's a link about the record. (This is NOT the same Ozzie Williams who currently leads the Marion Street Band and who is Taj Mahal's son.) I happened to stumble across a recording of the song recently, just after I had been looking at the photos in the City of Toronto archives, and they seemed to cry out to be put together.

Lest anyone should look for a political message in this video, I probably should state explicitly that my enthusiasm for the Toronto subway as it is should in no way be taken as an endorsement of the current Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's absurd idea of extending it. Building subways in the mid-20th century still made a lot of sense, but the cost has since sky-rocketed, and sadly, no city anywhere in the world is starting a new subway now. Ford's notion (one hesitates to call it a "plan," because there is so little serious thought behind it) is a multi-billion-dollar pure fantasy that would cost three times as much and serve far fewer people than the light rail plans that he wants to scuttle. Ford's attempt to lead people to believe that he could back out of the light rail plans and destroy the city's streetcar system and build new subways instead was disingenuous at best. There is no evidence that he ever would be able to proceed past the first part of the plan: tearing up streetcar tracks and light rail systems.