Today Canada lost one of it's iconic characters. A famous politician? Nope. An Olympic medal winner? Try again. A well known author or journalist? Still wrong.
If you are not a Canadian, you may not have heard of him. Singer / Songwriter / Country legend Stompin' Tom Connors has passed away. I'm definitely not a country music fan. In fact, I have never bought one of his recordings. I never went to one of his concerts. But Stompin' Tom meant "Canada" to me. I tapped my feet to his music and sang along with his uniquely Canadian lyrics.
He wrote songs about Canada, and only sang his own songs. He always took a plywood board on stage so he could stomp his cowboy boot in time to his music. And his gravelly voice was unique and so recognisable.
Stompin' Tom had a hard life. He was born to a teenage mother, and spent some time with her in a penitentiary before being adopted. He drifted from job to job and even spent some time living on the streets before starting an entertainment career. He won several Juno awards for his music, but gave them all back in the 1970s to protest Canadian artists leaving to pursue music careers in the USA.
He wrote a letter to his fans before he died.
This morning the radio is playing Stompin' Tom Connors songs. He loved Canada. And Canada loved Stompin' Tom. He will be missed.