If you find yourself in Toronto – a city simultaneously urban, affable, and hip – you need a playlist that can keep up. Toronto is fortunate to have a long roster of Canadian musicians to provide a soundtrack to the city, whether you’re wandering the streets of Queen West, stuck on the TTC, or strolling through High Park. From classics, to indie favourites, to contemporary chart-toppers, here are 12 of our favourite tunes to accompany your travels through Toronto.
We’ll begin with ‘Headphones’ by Hawksley Workman fronted band, Mounties. No city-strolling playlist is complete without your headphones.
For summer days… or winter nights, dreaming of summer days: HIGHS’ catchy alt-pop songs won’t disappoint.
For when you can’t feel your face. There are so many plausible reasons for not being able to feel your face in Toronto: one too many pints, sub-arctic winter temperatures, or… love?
This song is a requirement for your December commute home on the TTC.
Heading for a night out in Little Portugal? The ‘Hot Tonight’ music video was filmed in Dundas West’s Get Well Bar (go for the drinks, stay for the old-school video games).
Bobcaygeon may be a community in The Kawartha Lakes… but the best part of hearing this song live in Toronto is when everyone screams the line, ‘that night in Toronto, with its checkerboard floors.’
Indie pop is perhaps what Toronto does best, and Toronto-based Alvvays are no exception. Their breakout hit ‘Archie, Marry Me’ accurately sums up every 20-something’s Friday night struggle: ‘Too late to go out / too young to stay in.’
To never look at the CN Tower in quite the same way, listen to Owen Pallett’s haunting tune. Added local bonus: he’s a University of Toronto alum!
For those evening autumnal strolls.
On a never-ending hunt for the better job, better condo, better winter coat? ‘Sweet Things,’ by Waterloo native Danny Michel, provides a healthy dose of perspective.
A nostalgic ode to the derelict places you once lived. ‘The Old Apartment’ was released in 1996, during a far more reasonable housing market; buying ‘an old house on the Danforth’ may no longer be quite so feasible.
And finally, because no 6ix playlist is complete without Drake: for when it’s 5AM in Toronto.
By Alix Hall