The Toronto Festival of Arts + Creativity is holding an internet vote to determine the best Canadian song of all time. The nominees are:

  • Feist – 1234
  • Sarah Harmer – Basement Apartment
  • Tom Cochrane – Boy Inside the Man
  • The Tragically Hip – Courage
  • Bryan Adams – Cuts Like a Knife
  • Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah
  • Blue Rodeo – Hasn’t Hit Me Yet
  • Neil Young – Helpless
  • BTO – Taking Care of Business
  • The Band – The Weight

The festival then aims to gather up to 2000 guitar players together at Dundas Square to perform the tune together, setting a meaningless Guiness record.

This, of course, is not the first time someone has tried such a hopeless task. Consider these recent failures:

  • 102.1 The Edge (a Toronto based radio station) compiled a list of the 102 Best Canadian Rock Songs in 2007. (#1: Sloan – Underwhelmed)
  • Chart Magazine asks critics, musicians, and readers for their top Canadian songs and albums every few years. You can view results from 1996, 2000, and 2005 here (#1: The Guess Who – American Woman)
  • Also in 2005, Jian Gomeshi hosted 50 Tracks: The Canadian Version that attempted to answer a similar question. (#1: Ian and Sylvia – Four Strong Winds)
  • Six writers from the Globe and Mail attempted to list The Top 25 Canadian Pop Songs (#1: Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah)
  • TorontoMike posted their Top 100 Canadian Songs: The Definitive List in 2007 (#1: The Tragically Hip – New Orleans Is Sinking)
  • Also of interest is CBCRadio2’s Obama’s Playlist: 49 Songs From North of the 49th Parallel. Unfortunately, they didn’t rank the songs.

Using some very complicated statistics (the technical term is called “eye balling it”), I’ve aggregated all these results for you (probably). Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you The Top 10 Greatest Canadian Songs, Probably:

  1. Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah
  2. The Guess Who – American Woman
  3. Sloan – Underwhelmed
  4. The Band – The Weight
  5. The Demics – New York City
  6. Neil Young – (Pick Your Favourite)
  7. The Tragically Hip – New Orleans is Sinking
  8. Gordon Lightfoot – The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
  9. Leonard Cohen – Suzanne
  10. Joni Mitchell – Big Yellow Taxi

Glad I’ve finally settled this argument once and for all, short of the question “What’s the greatest Neil Young Song of all Time? (I choose “Harvest Moon”).

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