musical stage play written and produced by Geoff
Pickering and Paul Saunders.
The year was 1968 -
the penultimate year for the nascent boomer generation,
as they morphed into young adults.
Toronto - aka
Yorkville - was now the centre of the Universe, and
Canada the envy of the World. To Canada, with its
long entrenched values of peace-keeping, tolerance,
equality, internationalism, and fair play would belong
the 21st century!
The previous half
decade had witnessed civil unrest, social decay, and
violence in America that eclipsed any prior period in
history as politically aware youth took on the
establishment. Leader after leader, thinker after
thinker, poets, politicos, songwriters & evangelists
were mowed down in a hail of bullets, met mysterious
fates, or opted to take their own lives, despairing for
the fate of "Once a Great Nation".
a Teaser from the Early
Rockabilly Era in Toronto - A Tribute to R Dean Taylor
Canada had its own
evangelist, Pierre Eliot Trudeau. Born into wealth, he
was an egalitarian and well travelled citizen of the world
and had a broader vision of a world of nation states, living
and trading in harmony. Brilliant, irreverent, quick
on his feet, and politically astute Trudeau swept the youth
generation, the now eligible to vote boomers, off their
feet, in a craze of Trudeaumania.
Trudeau was feared by
the establishment for his wit, and reviled by the
corporatocracy, the inbred country club trust fund baby
elite, puppetmasters to the entrenched political
establishment- on both sides of the border - perhaps more so
because he was one of THEIRS - who had turned on them.
As America mourned,
Vietnam raged, puppet Presidents proselytized, and as the
National Guard crushed civil liberties, a migration of
American youth to Canada, which had started as a trickle in
1963 turned into a torrent. By 1971, over 60,000 of
America's brightest young minds had bid a hasty retreat to
their vast, inviting, frigid neighbour to the north.
And not just young males; in fact thousands upon thousands
of young females, equally incensed by America's
war-mongering, civil rights policies, prejudice, and
intolerance, flocked to Canada's bosom.
The music, poetry of
protest came too, and once backwater, religious, protestant
Orangemen's territory became a mecca for immigrants from all
over the world, seeking a better place, a safer haven.
A movement that
eclipsed the post civil war Underground Railway, which had
seen tens of thousands of blacks smuggled into Canada, where
they could enjoy a measure of true freedom.
Earlier in the decade
many black musicians (and sympathetic whites) had sought a
different kind of refuge in Canada, one that offered
equality off the stage, not just on. The ability and
right to stay in a hotel, mingle socially, be seen in the
streets, cohabitate; blacks and whites and all colours in
This changed sleepy
hollow forever, as Toronto (and Canada) became the
progenitor of a unique sound, the Yorkville sound, a
convergence of rhythms and themes; rock, jazz, blues, folk,
country rock, reggae, with calypso and latin beats and
tells this story, finally, to the world, as now the entire
planet reels from successive waves of exported Freidmanesque
Too little? No.
Too late? NEVER!