Orr Town

I dislike the Boston Bruins as much as anyone. Can’t stand them. Hate the uniform. When I see someone on the street wearing a Bruins sweater or jacket I say to myself, yep, there’s the friggin’ enemy.

I’m a Habs fan, so these are natural feelings. I have no control over this.

But disliking the Bruins has never stopped me from feeling that Bobby Orr is the greatest to ever lace ’em up. Better than Gretzky. Better than Howe and Lemieux and Beliveau. And yes, better than my lifelong idol, the Rocket.

Any of this can be debated. I just don’t have the energy.

Orr was magnificent, the Norris Trophy was his for eight straight seasons, but his career lasted just nine full seasons because of those wretched knees. It’s one of the hockey’s true tragedies.

Below, some photos I took in Orr’s hometown Parry Sound while driving from Powell River to Montreal to start my job at Classic Auctions back in 2013. Parry Sound is about 60 miles northwest of Orillia, where I grew up.


-A sign on the highway, of course.
-The house Orr grew up in. The Seguin River, where he honed his skills, is just across the street.
-The name of his street, Great North Rd. (He lived just three houses around the corner from the main drag).
-Orr’s Deli, owned by his dad’s brother. A couple of his nieces work there.
-A big wooden sign in the deli. Too bad about the uniform.
-And outside the Orr Hall of Fame, which was closed.

Orr sign

Orr's house

Orr street


Inside deli

Orr hall of fame

15 thoughts on “Orr Town”

  1. Orr…better than Rocket!…not in my books!…Orr was a good player…yet played in a different NHL environment…same goes with Gretsky, Lemieux etc…..the Rocket was “the man”
    who started a riot….enough said!

  2. The Rocket is the man. My biggest hero. No one comes close as a hero. But Rocket was mostly great from the blueline in. Orr could do it all.

  3. For me Lafleur will always be the greatest since he was the man while I was growing up. And with my biases I like to think that Robinson was a better defenceman than Orr. But realistically I have to agree that Orr was the best, or at least in the top three (with Gretzky and Howe). It’s hard to significantly disagree with the opinions of those I know are much more knowledgeable and unbiased than me.

    But in the end they were just great hockey players, Richard and to a lesser extent Beliveau transcend sports and are cultural icons, revered even more so for their contributions outside of hockey.

  4. All these players were magical. For me, what sets Orr above the rest was how he dominated the game when he was on the ice, and he was also tough as nails. When he started out with the puck in his own end and took it deep, or wheeled around, went back and started over, was amazing. And the crowd buzzed. Imagine if he was completely healthy and able to play in the 72 Summit Series. It might have been a completely different series. Gretzky was a points machine, Howe was everything, although not overly exciting, Lafleur was beautiful to watch, as was Beliveau, and Rocket burned with intensity. And don’t forget that smallish yet shifty right winger for Byers Bulldozers.

  5. Can’t offer an informed opinion on Orr because I don’t remember seeing him much but from what I’ve read what about Doug Harvie? Wasn’t he the Orr before Orr?
    Hey Dennis my number one son is moving to Orillia! Is this a good thing?

  6. Moving to Orillia? Fantastic. I think he might really love it. Is he going to school there? If he has any questions I’ll be happy to answer or find answers for him. And yes, DJ, Doug Harvey was the league’s elite defenceman for years and some still say they’d take him over Orr. He played a different style than Orr, a careful and controlled game, and was a leader and a general out there. He controlled the play, slowed it down when need be, and was tremendously smart with pinpoint passes. Harvey was loved by his teammates, he loved kids, but management couldn’t control him. For example, he was told not to go to Grey Cup games for different reasons or he’d be fined, but he went anyway and happily paid the fines. He did things his own way. It came out years later that he was bipolar. I had a real nice conversation with his son quite a few years back.

  7. Thanks Dennis. The girlfriend is from there and she works for the OPP at the com centre in Thunder Bay. She put in for a transfer to Orillia and got it. They move in January. The boy is working now but is looking at going back to school next year to get his Physio Therapy degree. I googled Orillia and it does look like a nice place. What’s this about a lot of the residents having family roots in the old asylum? Kidding!

  8. Yep, at one time the Ontario Hospital was the biggest employer in town. Not sure what happened. I guess it’s closed down. The Main Street of Orillia goes right down to Lake Couchiching and the park. It’s really nice. I’m very curious to see how he likes Orillia. I certainly have a soft spot for it.

  9. Well as I am retired now there is a very good chance I’ll get to see it as well when I help them move in January. I’ll be sure to pass on our impressions!

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