Imagining If Neil Young Rocks Omemee

There is much speculation—some of it courtesy of hints from Neil Young himself—that his December 1st acoustic concert to be broadcast on CTV, streamed online on CTV.ca and live streamed on Facebook may well be coming to us from Omemee, Ont., near Peterborough, the place Young spent some of his formative years as a child.

Toronto, Pickering, Winnipeg and Omemee—all places Young lived as a kid—are on the shortlist of where Young is expected to play from. But the small town of Omemee, with its historic Coronation Hall—the very hall Young posted a video in front of a couple months ago (more on that below)—would be the perfect choice for him to play coinciding with the release of his new album, The Visitor.

Photo by Neil Morton, PTBOCanada.com

Photo by Neil Morton, PTBOCanada.com

Not only did Young spend some of his adolescent years there—below is a Grade 1 class photo at Omemee Public School (1951-52) where he is standing in the back row, third from the left—but for many years a volunteer run museum, the Youngtown Rock & Roll Museum, was based out of Omemee until 2014 that was dedicated to the rock legend.

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The old Youngtown museum in Omemee

The old Youngtown museum in Omemee

His iconic "Helpless"—with its lyrics "There is a town in North Ontario, with dream comfort, memory to spare"—was written as an ode to his Omemee childhood home.

And his Facebook post (see below) saying "I will be going to my town"—not city—further fuelled the notion that he would pick Omemee, though one could interpret him using "town" colloquially, yes.

As well, back on September 24th, Young made a stop in Omemee in front of where he's rumoured to be playing and mentioned "the Visitor" in a tweet that is now carrying extra weight...

Ryan Lalonde is a co-producer of an upcoming documentary The Radius Project that looks at the wealth of famous musicians who come from the area in and around Peterborough, such as Young, Thousand Foot Crutch, Three Days Grace, My Darkest Days, I Mother Earth, Ronnie Hawkins, The Leahys (and Natalie McMaster), producers Greg and Rob Wells, and Serena Ryder.

"For Neil Young to play a show here in town and to document it for people to watch forever, it'd be huge," Lalonde tells PTBOCanada. "And it's a testament to not forgetting where you come from."

Photo by Neil Morton, PTBOCanada.com

Photo by Neil Morton, PTBOCanada.com

"If it's Omemee he chooses—and I still think it's a BIG 'if'—it really brings him full circle," adds Lalonde. "This would be a phenomenal gift to the town, even if for one night only. It gives them a legitimate claim to their favourite son. Everyone has an opinion where his home town is, and this might just put the argument to bed."

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