The Hogg's Hollow Disaster
A Song by Smokey Dymny©Smokey Dymny 2000
Tune: 1913 Massacre
Take a trip with me to 1960
When construction crews were expanding the City
We were mostly new immigrants we're proud & we're strong
But our lives were .... held cheap by weak laws.
My name was Giovanni, I dug the black coal,
That was in Belgium right after the war.
I was raising a family but I feared for my life,
'Cause the coal mines ... made profits by playin' with our lives.
Then I heard up in Canada there's work for all men,
Who're willin' to work hard to build a new land.
So, I packed up my kids; promised my wife
We'd do better.... in a new immigrant's life.
Toronto was big and Toronto was new,
There were lots of paisani and jobs quite a few.
In the building trades I found lots of new friends,
But Canadians.... just called us immigrant men.
The men who lay bricks they worked hard as hell,
And plumbers & carpenters worked hard as well,
And I dug underground to lay a pipe line,
They paid us .... a buck sixty-five for our time.
And I don't know who'd admit what they did was all wrong
But a man in a hole without training's forlorn
If he's got no hard hat; just a candle for a light,
You wonder........ have they got respect for his life.
So down went six men to work overtime hours,
Then welding wires shorted and started a fire.
No one up above knew what they should do,
They turned the air off ........ and the water on too.
There was Guido & Allesandro who were brothers so true
And both us Giovannis and Pasquale too.
Only Walter got out, an experienced man.
The rest died.... in the dark and the mud and the sand.
So, goodbye my dear kids; goodbye my dear wife,
I came here to build you a new kind of life.
I think you'll do well if you learn just one thing,
A worker's........... best skill's his or - gani - zing.
My name was Giovanni, I dug the water main,
In the days when construction was a wild west game.
I was raising a family but I paid with my life.
Cause the companies.... made profits by playin' with our lives
Many thanks to Smokey Dymny for permission to add this song to the Union Songs collection.
Smokey Dymny writes
"In 2000 I wrote a song about the death of Italian new immigrant workers in a tunnel excavation in Toronto in 1960.
Song for: Guido Mantella, 23; Allesandro Mantella, 25;
Pasquale Allegrezza, in his 20s; Giovanni Fusillo, in his 20s;
Giovanni Correglio, in his 40s, & Walter Andruschuk, who got out.
Toronto, Hogg's Hollow, March 17, 1960
Traditional tune. For history read The Italian Canadians, pp. 141-161.
Original reporting by Frank Drea, for the Toronto Telegram"
"Smokey's voice is a pork chop with a little bit of road dirt."- Art Farquharson
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union songs..........a selection by mark gregory