Stompin’ Tom legacy tour returns to where it all began – by John Emms (Timmins Daily Press – October 7, 2016)

TIMMINS – Stompin’ Tom Connors died in 2013 at 77 years of age, but his iconic status known from coast to coast and his hundreds of songs and stories are still very much alive. The city and residents of Timmins have a unique part in his legend.

As Canada turns 150 years old in 2017, there is no question that Stompin’ Tom’s music is part of our Timmins and Canadian heritage

In fact, these songs and stories will be celebrated in Timmins on Friday, Oct. 14 at Charles Fournier Auditorium at École secondaire catholique Thériault when Whiskey Jack performs its national tour here in our city. It’s going to be one heck of a night when the sounds of Bud The Spud, Sudbury Saturday Night and the Hockey Song fill the auditorium.

For some people in this city, it’s a long way from Stompin’ Tom’s residence gigs at The Maple Leaf Hotel in 1964 and 1965, his early records on CKGB radio and his first stories written at The Timmins Daily Press by former reporter turned publisher John Farrington.

Those gigs and Connors patriotic songs and stance was indeed an influence on myself as a songwriter and of course more famous musicians like Gord Downie and even a sweat-drenched Jeff Healey. Back in the ’90s when after a sold-out show in our city, Healey asked me, “John, is the Maple Leaf Hotel still open? I have always wanted to go out and check out where Stompin’ Tom got his start. In fact, I may want to go out and jam a few songs with the house band.”

That gig, where I luckily got to jam with Jeff, also has become a part of Timmins history that involves Stompin’ Tom. To think the whole spur-of-the-moment decision by another Canuck icon to drop into the fabled Maple Leaf Hotel because of Connors’ legacy is impressive.

Considering the fame of Stompin’ Tom’s actual stompin’ board that originated in Timmins in the mid ’60s, the City of Timmins should consider a full size commemorative plaque be erected as a tourist attraction. After all, this is an iconic piece of cultural and musical Canadian history, folks.

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