A small piece of Toronto’s rock and roll history died this week with nary a mention. Among Whitey Chmielewski’s claim to fame—he was a lifelong unionist and ran for the NDP a few times– was as a pioneer of r and b music in the mid 50s.
Whitey was a wellknown music nut in those days. As a teenager attending Central Tech Whitey worked for Eddy Chow, a Chinese cabby in the latter’s unique record store on the south-west corner of McCaul and Queen. Records Unlimited was the only shop where you could purchase the real stuff, Atlantic Records—Lavern Baker, Ray Charles, Joe Turner, Ruth Brown.
Whitey would drive to Buffalo buy a slew of 78s then 45s and we would gobble them up. The only place on the dial you could hear this music played by the Hound,George Lorenz was WKBW 1520 on your AM dial.
Whitey also took his stash to teen dances around the city—Sateen,Trocasero and Masaryk.hall in Parkdale When you saw Whitey’s 6’5’ frame coming through the door, you knew the joint would be rockin’.
Somebody should put a plaque with Whitey’s name on it at McCaul and Queen.
RIP brother Chmielewski.