I (Geoff Tebbutt) had just moved back to Toronto after 20 years of living in many other parts of Canada, when I saw a small article in the Toronto Sun about writing a song for a contest for Toronto's 200th Birthday. I was able to easily write down my feelings about being back in the best city in the world, and got together with my good friend from College - Eric Lambier, and we wrote the music. We recorded a demo at Captain Audio Studios in what is now Liberty Village. We got a couple of Eric's friends to fill out the recording (Eric on keyboards and vocals and me on acoustic Guitar). There were 176 entries, and a panel of the top Radio Programmers in Toronto voted our song #1 on it's way to face-off live against the other finalists at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts.
Toronto You're My Home was one of ten finalists in the Toronto 200 Song Competition in 1992. There was a great House Band there - backing up the singers, but we brought our own ten-piece Rock Band. When it was all over, we ended up finishing second (with a vote of 5-4 by the Celebrity Judges). One of the Judges who voted for us was Sam (The Record Man) Sniderman, who came up to us after the contest and said, "I don't know why you boys didn't win - I thought you were the best!" He then thrust out his giant gnarled hand and shook our hands and gave us his card. "Give my son, Jason a call," he said. "I think we can do some business together." I have never forgotten those words. Sam was one of the most brilliant Canadians in Music and he liked our song!
After the words of encouragement from Sam The Record Man, I was like a man possessed; trying to find outlets for 'Toronto's NEW Anthem'. When the Toronto Maple Leafs went 3 rounds in theNHL Playoffs (the year we were robbed by Wayne Gretzky), I was talking with someone from the City of Toronto about the city using our song. He wanted his boss to hear it, and then invited me to the 'Blue and White Rally' being held at Nathan Phillips Square for the Maple Leafs later that day. There were thousands of Leaf fans all over the square with a meet and greet of the players and management on stage. Suddenly they put on my tape of Toronto You're My Home over the PA System!! I was shaking Ken Dryden's hand at the time - you couldn't wipe that stupid smile off my face for weeks!! Two months later I also had the song played at a Pre-Season Argos game at the SkyDome. It was also on 3 radio stations.
I never forgot about Toronto You're My Home, or the positive things Sam (The Record Man) Spiderman had to say about our song. I would also never forget the feeling of having thousands of people hearing our song while meeting the Toronto Maple Leafs. I was waiting for the Boys in Blue to have a big Playoff Run again, and get some more exposure for the song. Then a couple of events happened that made some of my lyrics outdated - I had mentioned Maple Leaf Gardens and Rocket Ismail, both of which now longer work in the song. I had the opportunity to re-attend the Music Industry Arts Program at Fanshawe College in London after 20 years (that is where I first met Eric in 1983). I re-recorded the song and added in a Rapper named Doug Rodger.
In 2005 I stuck around College for a Post-Graduate Course in Sound for Film and TV. I ended up recording a Video for Toronto You're My Home as my Final Project that year. It was a simple concept of pictures of Toronto with Lyrics crawling up the page. In the solo section I put in some statistics about Homelessness in Toronto - hoping to have some social relevance. Years earlier I had a vision of donating money earned from the song to help fight the problem of Homelessness in Toronto. Once I wrote these plans on paper, doors suddenly seemed to open. I have been patiently waiting for the year that the Maple Leafs finally get some success in the Playoffs to re-release our song. I truly believe 2019 is the year. Add to that the fact that The Toronto Raptors are also doing extremely well this year, and we have the recipe for a Perfect Storm.
I still have everything I recorded in 2004, and I have my own small recording studio to work on it further. We are currently recording a new guitar solo (to replace a dated-sounding sax solo) . In May, 2019 the new version of Toronto You're My Home was re-mixed by JUNO Award Winning Mixer Siegfried Meier - who also mixed the 2004 version of the song. We need your help; please listen and watch our videos, share with your friends, request at your favourite Sports or Talk Radio Station and help us generate a buzz this Playoff Season.
There is a HUGE problem with Homeless Folks in Toronto (and yes, other cities) that does not seem to be getting better; Government and Social Services seem only able to put Band-Aids on the problem. We, the people of Toronto are the solution to the problem. If we are able to get together in a common forum and pool our resources, we can start to do something about the problem ourselves, if the Government is unable or unwilling. I wish to create and support the Toronto You're My Home Foundation with the proceeds of this song (and with my copyrights for 75 years after I am gone). But I am only one person. I need your help.
While we cannot fault the Government completely for not getting a handle on the homeless problem in Toronto, the fact remains that every four years we change all 3 levels of Government (Municipal, Provincial and Federal). Inherently, the efforts towards eradicating homelessness in Toronto are bound to be less than 100% effective because of these constant changes of opinion in Government on how to best solve the problem. Besides, Government can be slow to react to fast changes on the street. The Toronto You're My Home Foundation will hopefully be able to help fill the gap between what is available and what is needed.
I truly believe that when I wrote down my plans in 1993 to form The Toronto You're My Home Foundation, the Universe noticed. Doors have opened, and everyone has been receptive towards our song and my goals for it since then. The same Hand of Fate may be pushing our Toronto Sports Teams towards Greatness in their respective Playoffs this Spring. In case you haven't noticed, Torontonians tend to go a little crazy at Playoff time, and we should be able to take advantage of this and get our song heard a lot on Radio, TV, Live and On-Line, and potentially get some sales to help support our Foundation. With the Internet and computers of today we can get our song into peoples computers, tablets and phones and create a buzz instantly.
Go Leafs Go ! Let's Go Raptors !! Let's Go Viral !!!