To The Forum, Bus Driver

Twice I saw games at the old Forum when a buddy and I took a bus charter from Orillia. This was the Forum before the renovations in 1968, when there were pillars throughout that caused obstructed views, and I remember thinking that I was glad I wasn’t sitting behind one.

The first time I went I was 13 when the Habs hosted Chicago (Feb. 22, 1964) but I remember almost nothing about this trip, including who I went with. I only know the date and my age because of my ticket stub I show here.

But the second time, with the game on February 26, 1966 against the Rangers as you can see in the other ticket stub and on the Forum marquee, was when I was 15 and I went with my friend Bernie Rivard.

I took all these pictures that also include Toe Blake’s Tavern on Ste. Catherine, which is now long gone (the tavern, not the street), McNeice’s Sporting Goods, which was located on Atwater St, at the Forum, and my two ticket stubs from both trips which are pasted in my scrapbook.

On the bus ride back to Orillia, older guys were passing booze around and when my dad picked me up at the bus station in the middle of the night, I was completely drunk. But he didn’t say one word about it.

4 thoughts on “To The Forum, Bus Driver”

  1. Great story…brings back many memories. Thanks for the photos of McNeices where i bought the Bobby Rousseau game worn jersey for $15.00…and ended up giving to John Lennon..and the photo of Toe Blake’s Tavern…where you could order a table full of draft beer..hand the waiter a $20..and still get change. Toe also had a tradition at Xmas time…on Xmas Eve ( if memory serves me well)….all the patrons would get 2 free glasses of beer and a cigar!…
    It was a sad day when Toe closed the place for good…i was there on the last day..even got Toe’s autograph thanks to Cliff the waiter…Toe spent most of the time in his office and wasn’t one for pressing the flesh….
    Those were the days!

  2. Thanks Ed. One of these days I’m going to re-post the story about you and the sweater and John Lennon. It’s amazing. I went to Toe’s several times in the 1980s with my two brother-in-laws. There were huge photos of different players (or maybe they were caricatures), and I heard years ago now that they ended up with Toe’s son Bruce.

  3. A lot of framed “art” work pieces on the walls of Toe Blake’s Taverne were original caricature type cartoons of sports figures that were featured in the Sports pages of some of the Montreal newspapers when Toe was a player…there was also an early team photo of a team that Toe played with before joining the Habs..(Hamilton Tigers?)…and one thing i remember to this day was there was a player on the theme who looked Chinese?
    Would be great to find out who now owns all the framed items that were on the walls..There was an auction shortly after Toe’s Tavern closed..but it was primarily the chairs, tables and wood panelling that can be found in some Brasseries in Montreal.It was a great place to have a glass or four…food from the kitchen wasn’t too shabby either.
    but

  4. The big ones like I say, apparently ended up with Bruce. These were framed. Maybe he has all the wall pictures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *