“The Banks of the Don”


Singer pays sarcastic tribute to the "boarding-house" by the Don: rent and taxes are paid, food is free. Inmates must turn out and work in the stoneyard; knives and forks are counted after meals. To obtain residence, listeners can get publicly drunk


Abbott reported learning the song as a teenager in 1890 from an Irish farmer in the Ottawa valley. - PJS

Historical references

  • 1860s - Don Jail built

Cross references

  • cf. "The Mountjoy Hotel" (subject)
  • cf. "Johnson's Hotel" (subject, lyrics)
  • cf. "Erin Go Bragh" (tune)


  • Recordings: O. J. Abbott, "The Banks of the Don" (on Ontario1)


  1. Roud #3846
  2. BI, RcTBOTDo


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1958 (recording, O. J. Abbott)
Found in: Canada(Ont)