Nearly 50 years ago, Canadian country music star wrote and performed a song called ‘Mississauga’

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Published October 20, 2023 at 9:33 am

Mississauga Song by Tommy Hunter
Canadian country music star and longtime Mississauga resident Tommy Hunter records the "Mississauga Song" along with city dignitaries of the day and others back in 1974. (Image: Heritage Mississauga video)

Five years before the 1979 Mississauga train derailment put what is today Canada’s seventh-largest city on the international map, a Canadian country music star did his lyrical best to do the same.

Known sea to sea for five decades as “Canada’s Country Gentleman,” Tommy Hunter back in the spring of 1974 readily obliged members of the newly formed City of Mississauga council when they approached him to write and perform a song about Canada’s newest city.

Hunter, now 86, lived in the Lorne Park area of the city at the time, and he continued to be a longtime resident of Mississauga.

He was more than happy to accept the musical challenge politely put to him by Mississauga’s first mayor, Martin Dobkin, and members of the fledgling city council, according to Heritage Mississauga records.

They wanted a song to “celebrate Mississauga” as it joined the ranks of Canadian cities. And they got it.

The Mississauga Song, which can be heard in the link below, checked all the boxes.

As told years later to Heritage Mississauga officials, Hunter said he wanted to “write a simple, uplifting song that celebrated both the place and the people of Mississauga.”

Mission accomplished.

“Miss-iss-auuuu-ga, Miss-iss-auuuu-ga,” the song begins softly in laidback fashion typical of the country genre before accelerating to a faster, foot-stomping pace.

Picking up speed and bouncing along, it continues: “…doo doo do doo do doo doo doo … Spend some time in Mississauga, it’s the greatest place we know, it’s a great place to be livin’ and to watch your children grow.

“Just sit back, relax and watch the Credit River flow, it’s where people love to live…”

Moving along, we come to the chorus.

“Come on out to Mississauga, it’s the greatest place around, where on a quiet evening you can watch the sun go down. And if you should need a friend, there are plenty to be found, that’s why everybody loves that good old Mississauga town.”

The chorus, as it turned out, was a real team effort. Just as Hunter wanted.

According to Heritage Mississauga, the country music star organized “a large busload of Mississauga residents, sports and radio personalities, and civic leaders” to head down to the RCA Victor Recording Studio in Toronto to add their unique touch to the tune.

The group of Mississaugans (shown in cover photo), who in Hunter’s words, according to Heritage Mississauga, represented a cross-section of Mississauga’s culture, sang background on the chorus.

As Mayor Dobkin put it at the time, “Council members, local officials, sports and radio personalities, and a variety of other Mississauga residents found themselves one evening in a recording studio singing the chorus lines for the Mississauga Song.”

The popular swing sounds of the Laurie Bower Singers, formed in Toronto in 1969, were also part of the mix. The group performed background vocals on the song.

Heritage Mississauga notes that Hunter didn’t charge anything for his work on the musical piece, nor did the Laurie Bower Singers want compensation for their contribution. And the recording studio time was donated.

According to Mississauga heritage officials, Hunter’s lone regret was that he didn’t make a record of names of all the people from Mississauga who took part in the song’s recording.

At least one voice known to be part of the musical effort, though, was that belonging to Streetsville’s Hazel McCallion, who took over as Mississauga’s mayor in 1978 and didn’t surrender the post until 2014.

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