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This project was made possible by funding through the Canadian Culture Online Strategy and the Heritage Policy Branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Canadian Heritage

Bill Bridges


WILLIAM ‘BILL’ BRIDGES (guitarist) was born in 1944 in Empress, Alberta, Canada. The son of a farmer, his early years were spent in farming communities in British Columbia and Alberta where he honed self-taught guitar skills when he hooked up with the best teacher in the territory, undeterred by the fact that it required his father driving 100 miles every Friday to deliver him to his weekly lessons. The family took up roots in Calgary, and from that base, Bill took to the road, celebrating his 15th birthday on tour with Keith Hitchner and the Be-Bops, the best R&R band in the area at the time.

Eventually, he took up jazz, attending master classes and studying arranging and composition. Relocating to Toronto in 1971, he became quickly in demand, working with local leaders and touring greats including Howard Cable, Guido Basso, Bobby Edwards, Hagood Hardy, Phil Nimmons, Art Van Damme, and Red Norvo.

He was called to record jingles, albums, movie scores, and TV & Radio broadcasts, and worked in stage bands and pit orchestras for some of the finest talent to appear in Toronto including Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Eartha Kitt, and Vic Damone. For many years he served as Musical Director and guitarist for John McDermott, and was a member of the Shaw Festival Orchestra for a number of seasons. He is still active on the Toronto music scene.