Tag Archives: Gordon Lightfoot

Orillia The Good

(Re-posting a previous post, for no particular reason)

I think you should include Orillia in your future travel plans.

Why would you not? It was the home of Gordon Lightfoot, Stephen Leacock, Rick Ley, and Dino’s pool hall for goodness sakes. It’s historic.

In Bobby Orr’s book “Orr, My Story”, he says his hockey school with Mike Walton was in the Muskokas. It wasn’t. It was just outside Orillia, which is below the Muskokas.

In fact, the only time he mentioned Orillia was when he said his former agent and ex-friend Alan Eagleson had a cottage near there.

It took Gordon Lightfoot about twenty years into his career before saying he was from Orillia and not Toronto.

Stephen Leacock changed the name from Orillia to Mariposa in his book “Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town”.

Dino’s pool hall burned down.

Rick Ley has always seemed a proud Orillian, even though he hasn’t lived there since the 1960s..

My ongoing unofficial poll, which I’ve conducted for years, asks old friends who now live in places not called Orillia. “Could you ever live in Orillia again?”, to which about 98% say no.

I could, I think. But maybe not.

And about the Lightfoot thing, maybe it didn’t help that a guy I knew went in through an unlocked back door at a Lightfoot concert at Orillia’s Opera House and stole Gordon’s or one of the band member’s leather jacket. It must have put a sour taste in Gordon’s mouth, which is understandable.

Below, Gordon’s boyhood home in Orillia.

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The Old Phone Book, With Orr And….

My old Orillia and area phone book that I grabbed years ago, just before my old man threw it out.

Paging through the Orillia section, I see the GM Lightfoot household at 283 Harvey St., where young Gordon grew up. The singer would’ve been about 20 when this phone book came out, and had moved out of the house just the year before.

My good buddies Kerry Baker and Robin Metcalfe also lived on Harvey St, and my dad worked for awhile at a dry cleaners in Orillia with Gordon’s father.

You see the Lightfoot listing halfway down, and further up is former NHLer Rick Ley’s dad Norman at 47 Wyandotte.

The book also features the area surrounding Orillia, including Parry Sound, and I found Bobby Orr’s family home, listed as Douglas Orr, (his dad) at 21 Great North Road. And Bobby’s grandfather, Robert Orr, is at 67 River. Bobby was about 11 at the time of the phone book.

Searching further, I went into the Sundridge pages and found Bucko McDonald on Main St. Bucko had not only been a star in the NHL in the 1930’s and 40’s with Detroit, New York, and Toronto, but had also coached Bobby Orr in squirt and peewee in Parry Sound. Bucko decided to make the young fellow a defenceman even though Bobby was small and had great skills up front. When dad Doug questioned Bucko about this odd decision, Bucko told him “Bobby is born to play defence.”

Sundridge is also where my mother came from.

Also listed in the pages of this old phone book is the Roger Crozier household in Bracebridge, writer Paul Rimstead’s dad’s farm outside of Bracebridge, the family home of respected Canadian writer Roy MacGregor in Huntsville, (who played minor hockey against Orr and the Parry Sound team), and John MacWilliams’ home in Huntsville.

And finally, the old homestead at 5 Elmer Ave.

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Ticket To Orillia Please

I think it’s pretty darn important that you include Orillia in your future travel plans.

Why would you not? It was the home of Gordon Lightfoot, Stephen Leacock, and Dino’s pool hall for goodness sakes.

In Bobby Orr’s new book “Orr, My Story”, he says his hockey school with Mike Walton was in the Muskokas. It wasn’t. It was just outside Orillia, which is below the Muskokas.

In fact, the only time he mentioned Orillia was when he said his former agent and ex-friend Alan Eagleson had a cottage near there.

It took Gordon Lightfoot about twenty years into his fame to say he was from Orillia and not Toronto.

Stephen Leacock changed the name from Orillia to Mariposa in his book “Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town”.

Dino’s pool hall burned down.

And my ongoing unofficial poll, which I’ve conducted for years, asks the question to old friends who now live in places not called Orillia. “Could you ever live in Orillia again?”, to which probably 98% say no.

I, on the other hand, could. And someday I think I might. I’ve dealt with my issues from when I was an older teen and into my 20s. I think.

See? It says on the pennant below that the Orr-Walton Camp was in Orillia, not Muskoka.

And about the Lightfoot thing, maybe it didn’t help that a guy I knew went in through an unlocked back door at a Lightfoot concert at Orillia’s Opera House and stole Gordon’s or one of the band member’s leather jacket.

Orr

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Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag

We’re in Orillia, home of Gordon Lightfoot and Stephen Leacock. And Samuel de Champlain for a day or two about four hundred years ago.

My birthplace. My hometown. A place I couldn’t wait to leave, but that was a long time ago. I love it all over again. Funny how that works.

Our trip tally was:

5500 kilometres from Powell River to Orillia, which took just over seven and a half days, and cost $355 in gas.

We saw one moose, didn’t get any speeding tickets, and noticed five identical tractor-trailers near the Soo with Taylor Swift’s name on the side, driving by on their way to Winnipeg (I know this because I Googled her itinerary).

I also saw a guy in Kenora wearing a Leafs jacket and a Habs jersey.

Today it’s down to Niagara Falls, which is way off the route, but Luci wants to go, and because I’m such a fantastic husband, I said of course. I yanked her out of Powell River so I could try out my new job in Montreal, so going to Niagara Falls is the least I could do.

I know. I’m a saint.

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If this doesn’t excite you, nothing will.

I bought a new duffel bag in Orillia yesterday. It’s more than 50 years old.

How’s your pulse now?

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Local Boy Made Good

I haven’t been able to do a lot of hockey-related topics in these last few days because I’ve been preoccupied with family matters, and between this and the fact that I can’t find any NHL games anywhere in the TV guide, I’ve decided to go with the following at this time.  I know you probably come here for hockey stuff and I apologize for the lack of such at this time. I’m doing the best I can do under the circumstances.

I was wandering through a second-hand store in Orillia a few days ago and came across an old Orillia high school yearbook, the Oricolle, from 1955-56. I bought it (cheap) because it has a whack of stuff about local boy Gordon Lightfoot in it. The name written on the front of the book says Terry Whelan, who was a member of Lightfoot’s little high school band.

But first, I went over to the house on Harvey St. where Gordon grew up, and took a picture of it.

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Gordon seems to be number 32 in the middle of the back row.

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Proud

My dad was a self-taught sign painter, a profession he found himself in after working for Gordon Lightfoot’s father at Wagg’s Laundry, a place which cleaned, yes, you guessed it, laundry.

Along with the normal sign painting duties, he also drew cartoons which were published several times in magazines, he painted art on motorcycle gas tanks, he lettered trucks, and he painted landscapes, many of which graced the walls of our little wartime house in Orillia.

Our house also had an old garage, and twice my dad painted cars on the garage door.

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Argos Cancel Stamps

The big game, the 100th Grey Cup, is now in the books as the Toronto Argonauts outshone the Calgary Stampeders 35-22, and it wasn’t nearly as close as the scoreboard showed. Calgary’s offence, with Kevin Glenn at the helm, couldn’t put together any kind of attack, passes fell short, there was no pressure and too many turnovers. They reminded me completely of the Habs power play.

Half time was almost interesting, with good old Orillia boy Gordon Lightfoot warbling his Canadian Railroad Trilogy, followed soon after by Justin Bieber doing whatever it is he does. Gordon looks old, his voice is weaker now but it’s still there, and he needs a haircut. Justin of course is a couple years younger than Gordon, his voice is downright mediocre, and he doesn’t need a haircut.

Maybe I’m wrong but I feel Mr. Bieber won’t be having a brilliant 50-year career like Gordon has. If I am wrong, you can remind me in 50 years and I’ll apologize and buy you a beer.

An unfortunate offshoot to the game? Thanks to it, the hole in the ozone is going to get bigger once again. You think cows give off emissions? You blame the cows for affecting the ozone? They’re not the only culprits. There’s also the Grey Cup partiers who ate chili and drank beer and are now polluting the atmosphere with hideous gases. Chili and beer, lots of it, consumed by way too many football fans, turning the air into a horrific, smelly, ozone hole-creating mess. And sometimes they light lighters under their bums to show they don’t care.

Of course cows are a problem too. It’s disgusting how they spend their days. Maybe if we could get a billion people or so to eat nothing but cheeseburgers and meatloaf for a decade or two, the cattle population would decrease and the hole in the ozone would have time to heal.

Next year, the Grey Cup is in Regina, where the world’s greatest football fans live. Crazy, loveable, hard workin’, hard livin’ prairie football fans.

The ozone’s in big trouble next year.

Habs’ New Scout Knows Orillia

I’m proud to say that the new Habs pro scout for the NHL Western Division has a huge Orillia connection.

Ethan Moreau played for the Junior B Orillia Terriers during the 1990-91 season, has lived in Orillia off and on for quite some time, and his parents Ab and Ester still live there. Moreau attended Orillia’s ODCVI high school, while I went to Park St., one of the other secondary schools in town, before Moreau was born but I don’t want to get into that.

Gordon Lightfoot and John French also went to ODCVI

ODCVI seemed to always have a huge flock of good looking female students, including Lynn Sinclair, who I once made it to second base with.

Is all this exciting or what? And with this new Orillia/Habs connection, can my stick boy job be far behind?