Wednesday, August 31, 2011

For the first Time

While reading information on goalie Lorne Chabot, I came across an interesting tidbit. According to several sources, Chabot has the distinction of being the first hockey player to grace the cover of Time Magazine.

Time, "The Weekly Magazine", can still be purchased either by subscription or off the magazine rack. Covering current events, it is mostly noted for it's Man of the Year cover, which is published annually. Sifting through the Time Magazine archive, I was able to locate the February 11, 1935 cover/story featuring Chabot.

The article opens with a recap of NHL games played in the past week. Particular interest was paid to a contest involving the Black Hawks and New York Americans in Chicago Stadium. In a close confrontation, Chicago edged the Americans 3-2, with Marty Burke beating Roy Worters for the winning tally. The victory enabled Chicago to maintain their hold on first-place in the American Division.

In other action, Toronto defeated the Americans 2-1 in Maple Leaf Gardens. The Montreal Maroons outscored the St. Louis Eagles 5-2. In a tie-game played in Detroit, the Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens each netted four goals. At Madison Square Garden, the Rangers let a 3-0 lead slip away against Detroit, but recovered for a 5-3 win.

In a great promotion for the National Hockey League, the piece pointed out that 100,000 spectators took in NHL action in the one week span. The American audience was captivated by the Canadian game, with hockey ranking behind baseball and horse racing.

Time provided a glimpse into the business side of pro hockey. Statistics from the 1933-34 season, revealed some interesting information. A total of 1,750,000 customers shelled-out about $2,000,000 to witness 231 NHL matches. About 150 players made up the rosters for clubs participating in the NHL. The salary range for those under contract was between $3500 and $7500.

To highlight hockey's growth in America, specific details were presented relating to it's largest market, New York City. Over the course of 1933-34, 1,461,000 sports fans passed through the turnstiles at MSG. Hockey's share in this attendance figure was a remarkable 440,000 paying supporters.

In regards to Lorne Chabot, Time Magazine supplied some interesting biographical information on the man and hockey player.

He is described as a "bulky, silent, French Canadian." At the age of 16, Chabot joined the Royal Canadian Field Artillery. According to Time, he participated in battles at Passchendaele and Vimy Ridge. At the conclusion of World War I, Chabot became a member of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police. Once the NHL season came to an end, Chabot's off-season employment came as an ice cream salesman. His hockey salary for '34-'35 was $4500. Chabot was always decked-out in grey spats. While in Chicago, the goalie and his family (wife & 2 children) resided at the Groydon Hotel.

On the ice, Chabot chewed on a wad of gum to cope with his nerves. He had a superstitious side to his personality, wearing his lucky pants over the last nine years.

Providing an analysis for his style of play, Time pointed out that "Chabot almost never leaves his net. Slow at regaining his feet when he falls down, he indulges in a few of the acrobatic tricks that make the work of smaller goalies more spectacular."

Some 76 years later, the name of Lorne Chabot still occasionally pops-up in the sports pages. He is considered to be the greatest goalie not in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Maple Leaf Gardens Update

I was looking for any excuse. Sure, there are plenty of bookstores in suburbia, but they most likely wouldn't have this particular publication on my to-read-list. After convincing myself there was zero possibility a local retailer could be of assistance, I quickly put plan "B" into motion.

Within a couple of hours, I was securely planted in the sports section of the Worlds Biggest Book Store. I spent at least another hour scanning a number of titles spread out on the shelves. The landscape being dominated by McFarlane, Fischler and Shea.

Checking my watch, I decided there was time for one more journey prior to heading home. In reality, the walk north on Yonge Street, then east on Carlton, seemed to be my real purpose for heading downtown. A visit to the book heaven on Edward Street being a convenient excuse to make the trip in the first place.

Indeed, it was time for another visit to Maple Leaf Gardens. Yes, I have no hesitation in calling the building at 60 Carlton Street by that name. The recent squabble between Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and Ryerson University concerning the name, seems to incorporate several disputes. Mostly, on the part of MLSE.

The sports giant is concerned over their brand name "Maple Leaf Gardens" becoming part of the still in development project.  However, the major bee-in-their-bonnet is the potential use of the arena being constructed for Ryerson. A non-compete clause ruled out any competition with the Air Canada Centre. With legal action being  initiated by MLSE, the two sides are attempting to resolve this matter.

I can understand their concerns relating to the non-compete clause. In regards to the name, they are barking up the wrong tree.

In 1989, the Toronto Historical Board prepared a heritage property report on Maple Leaf Gardens. After much discussion, the property received historical status. Having been granted legal designation, there seems to be no separating of the legal address and name. At least, from the perspective of the hockey world and   "Joe & Jane Public". The short statement of the reasons for the proposed designation opens with the following sentence: "The property at 438 Church Street, known as Maple Leaf Gardens, is recommended for designation for architectural and historical reasons."

The report is littered with references to hockey and the Toronto Maple Leafs. As a designated site, it is the only reason the entire building wasn't demolished. The exterior being protected by law. To associate the historical standing with a new name would be counter productive and ludicrous. Not to mention a mockery. The historical significance is just as important as the architectural. The Toronto Maple Leafs, Foster Hewitt and his broadcast of their games across Canada being front and centre.

No matter what argument is advanced by MLSE, their "brand" will forever be tied to the protected property - Maple Leaf Gardens. In order to recognize the historical aspects, more than a plaque is necessary. If the citizens of Toronto, and for that matter Canada, care about the past, there should be a national outcry calling for the building to remain as Maple Leaf Gardens.

Imagine, Ryerson University (as depicted in an artists rendering of the finished product) or Loblaw Ltd. being projected from the marquee. Or, MLSE insisting the name Maple Leaf Gardens be abandon. In either case, it would be a lost opportunity to salute 68 years of hockey history. What's wrong with Ryerson Arena at Maple Leaf Gardens or Loblaw Super Centre at Maple Leaf Gardens?

After a pleasant walk along Yonge, I reached the Gardens. At this stage of construction, most of the work appears to be going on inside. Thus, it is difficult to gauge how much or what progress is being made.

Prior to departing, I snapped several photographs. While standing on the south-side of Carlton, one portion of the Gardens caught my attention.

Leaf Sport 1997

Same location, August 2011

For generations of hockey fans, the above location was home to Doug Laurie Sporting Goods. It became a pre-game tradition to visit the store before venturing further into the Gardens. Racks of hockey equipment and sweaters greeted the public as they negotiated the small confines. Need a Maple Leaf key chain or pin - Doug Laurie was the place to shop for Toronto Maple Leafs souvenirs.

I suddenly wanted to delve deeper into this specific location and Doug Laurie Sports. With no regard for time, I continued my march north, strolling up to the Toronto Reference Library at Yonge & Bloor.

Researching the City of Toronto Directories provided some information. The 1944 directory reveals 458 Church Street being occupied by Junior League Opportunity Shop, dealing in used clothing. Also noted in the '44 directory, was a home address for Doug Laurie in Leaside, Ontario. The future owner of Doug Laurie Sports, is listed as being a department manager at Brown Sports and Cycle Company. They were situated at 345-5 Yonge Street.


The 1945 directory shows the first listing for Doug Laurie Sports at 458 Church Street. It would indicate they became a tenant sometime in 1944.

In 1963, a change in use of the premises at 458 Church took place. The space from 454-458 Church served as a Gardens storage warehouse. Ultimately, becoming home to the Hot Stove Lounge. In the same year, Doug Laurie Sports moved around the corner.

The next home for Doug Laurie Sports is listed as being 62 Carlton Street. As with anything to do with real estate, the prime need is "Location, location and location". By moving to 62 Carlton, the store was situated between the main entrance of Maple Leaf Gardens at 60 Carlton and Alton's Barber Shop at 66 Carlton. Doug Laurie, taking possession of the space vacated by McCutcheon's Camera. The address at 62 Carlton would be home to Doug Laurie Sports from 1963 until the early 1990s.

The 1992 city directory contains the final listing for Doug Laurie Sporting Goods Ltd. at 62 Carlton. Thos. (Thomas) S. Smythe is noted as being the President. The following year, 1993, Leaf Sport appears in the directory at 62 Carlton Street.

Mission accomplished - right? Forget-about-it! I couldn't get back home fast enough to re-read the combined efforts of the late Tommy Smythe and hockey author Kevin Shea in their fascinating 2000 book, Centre Ice - The Smythe Family, the Gardens and the Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey Club. Contained within are wonderful stories and facts concerning Tommy's involvement and ownership of Doug Laurie Sports.

It was day filled with hockey for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Who cares if it was early August and the temperature was soaring upward.

My purchase earlier in the day - Eddie Shore and That Old Time Hockey by C. Michael Hiam - would take it's place on top of the pile of books positioned on my night table.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Summer of '31

In the summer of 1931, box-lacrosse, came upon the sporting scene in two NHL cities. Box lacrosse, played indoors, consisted of seven players taking the floor instead of twelve. In a move to decrease the amount of dates their venues were dark, arena owners in Montreal and Toronto took action.

Initially, plans for the International Professional Lacrosse League called for teams in Montreal, New York, Boston and Toronto. News of the venture first came to light in April 1931. The team from New York was to be guided by Canadian Ed Barrow. Financial backing for the operation fell to the New York Yankees baseball club.

Ultimately, the new league, known as the Pro Lacrosse League, was composed of four teams - Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Maroons, Montreal Canadiens and Cornwall Colts.

The marquee franchises were Toronto and Montreal. In particular, Montreal, with the NHL Canadiens and Maroons sponsoring clubs. With the backing of Joe Cattarinich and Leo Dandurand, the Canadiens lacrosse team was managed by former NHL great Newsy Lalonde. In 1918-19, while playing centre for Montreal (NHL), Lalonde scored an amazing 22 goals in 17 games.

The Montreal Maroons were funded by Gordon Cushing and Dunc Munro. In September 1929, Munro was named playing coach of the NHL Maroons. In a dual role, he also took on the managers title. He held these same positions with the Maroons lacrosse club.

In this capacity, Lalonde signed several NHL names to lacrosse contracts. The major signing being Lionel "Big Train" Conacher. The Toronto born and raised Conacher, excelled at several sports. In addition to skating in the National Hockey League, he played professional football and entered the boxing ring (just to name a few). Conacher was named Canada's Male Athlete for the first-half of the century.

Another NHL player in the Maroons lacrosse line-up was Nels Stewart. In his rookie season, 1925-26, with the Maroons, Stewart lead the NHL in scoring with 42 points, including 34 goals in 36 games.

Of interest, sportswriter Ted Reeve of the Toronto Telegram played defence for the Maroons. Both Montreal teams played their home games in the Montreal Forum.

In Toronto, it was anticipated former St. Pats owner Charlie Querrie would be front and centre. However, he was too busy with his participation in the motion picture industry. Instead, ownership rights were granted to a gentleman named Peter Campbell. The Toronto team appointed Eddie Longfellow of field lacrosse fame as manager.

On Friday June 26, 1931, Toronto held an open practice at Arena Gardens on Mutual Street. A crowd of 300 spectators showed-up for the event. With the NHL Leafs moving to their new home, Maple Leaf Gardens, in the fall, the owners of Arena Gardens were in need of a new tenant.

Featured on the Maple Leafs roster was former NHL star Cy Denneny. The left winger played his final NHL season in 1928-29 with the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins. In 328 NHL games, he scored 248 goals and amassed 333 points.

The inaugural game for the new indoor lacrosse league took place on June 23, 1931, in Montreal. The Maroons defeated the Canadiens by a score of 9-7.

The Toronto Maple Leafs opened their season on Monday June 30, 1931 at Arena Gardens. On a hot summer evening, over 3000 took in the action. The first goal was scored by the visiting Maroons. The honour went to Toronto resident and starting defenceman Ted Reeve. Joining Reeve on the Maroons defence was former NHL defenceman Jesse Spring. The native of Alba, Pennsylvania started his NHL career in 1923-24 with the Hamilton Tigers. He wrapped-up his time in the big league as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1929-30.

Toronto's defence core consisted of Bert Burry and Red Spencer. The 5'9", 180 lbs., Burry would play in 4 NHL contests with the 1932-33 Ottawa Senators.

Although Toronto came out on the wrong end of an 11-6 score to Montreal, the paying customers were more than thrilled with box lacrosse.

On Friday October 9, 1931, the championship game took place at Arena Gardens. Toronto would tangle with the Montreal Canadiens. After a scoreless first period, play opened-up in the middle frame. The Leafs scored the first goal, but Montreal responded with 4 unanswered tallies. The Canadiens built-up a 6-1 lead in period three, before Toronto concluded the scoring with 2 goals.

Montreal were crowned World Champs having downed the Maple Leafs 6-3. The final game resulted in an attendance record being set for the new league with 7200 fans witnessing the conclusion to the 1931 season.

The Pro Box Lacrosse League would cease operations following the 1932 campaign.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

8:30pm in Toronto

 For those who enjoy nostalgia, I recommend spending the cash to take in Woody Allen's latest flick - Midnight in Paris. Here is a brief synopsis. Gil, a screenwriter who works out of Hollywood, is on a trip to Paris with his fiancee (Inez). After a night of drinking, Gil decides to walk the streets of Paris and soak in the atmosphere. As a writer, he is seeking inspiration to work on his own novel. While resting on a set of stairs, chimes from a bell announce the midnight hour has arrived. As this is taking place, an old car pulls up. The occupants encourage Gil to join them. Their journey takes them to a local nightspot. At this point, Gil realizes he has gone back in time - to the roaring 1920s. In the crowd his eyes focus on F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda. His eyes flash upon Cole Porter performing his magic on the piano. The next destination results in a meeting with Ernest Hemingway. I will refrain from going further, as I don't want to give too much away.

After screening the movie, I couldn't shake the concept from my thoughts. It was simply brilliant. Then, I started to envision a scenario where a hockey fan is suddenly whisked back in time. With my apologies to the "Woodman", the following is my fictional take on a hockey version of Midnight in Paris.

8:30pm in Toronto
A Short Story by Jim Amodeo

My name is William Taylor Foster. With a name like this, most people expect to meet a bank vice-president or partner in a large law firm. In my early years, William was shortened to Billy and Taylor limited to official documents. Today, I'm Billy Foster, employed in a dual role as creative director and art director with an advertising agency. The task of toiling over my drawing board consumes an enormous amount of time. My creative juices spilling out and dripping onto canvass as I bring story lines to life. Working with copywriters to craft the tale of a clients product and brainwashing the buying public into purchasing same. From morning until night, the current campaign being the single thought flowing and racing through my entire body.

We have all heard of the - "Golf Widow" - the poor darling who is left at home while her hubby is out chasing the small white ball. Jennifer, my better-half for the last two years, is known by her friends as an "Ad Widow". She gained this moniker thanks to my late lunches which lasted into the next day. As creative director, it became part of the job description. The client, fully aware all expenses were being absorbed by the agencies American Express card.

It was time to settle the score with Jennifer. No man could have a better partner. Being a freelance writer, she understands how the game is played. The philosophy of "work hard & play hard" becomes a way of life in the zany world of advertising. It is no different in the marriage game. As a couple, both parties have to take-a-little and give-a-little. It was my turn give. After a month of communicating with Jennifer via e-mail and text messages, quality time together topped our agenda. The last campaign was more difficult than usual, as the shooting schedule included locations in New York and Manchester, England.

For the past week, Jen and I have once again connected. The simply aspects of life bringing us the most joy. Watching an old black & white movie in bed during the middle of the afternoon. Cooking a meal together and washing it down with an overpriced bottle of wine. The drives out to the country and walks in the tree-lined landscape. Going to the local cinema and viewing four pictures. Sprinting from one exit to the next entrance, hoping the trailers would provide us with a buffer zone between show times. Stuffing our faces with buttered popcorn and massive sized cups of cola.

Yesterday, we attempted to play tennis at the club. The couple on the next court were well into their seventies and their game put ours to shame. Jennifer and I couldn't stop laughing as our ball wandered on numerous occasions onto their side. Wally and Beatrice were so wonderful and even offered to provide some instruction on the finer skills of avoiding double-faults. We treated our new friends to cocktails and dinner. We listened to their engrossing stories relating to trips made around the world.

On this Saturday in early December, we spent the morning in Yorkville having breakfast. This was followed by taking a stroll along Bloor Street and doing some window shopping. In the evening, Jennifer was meeting a college roommate, in town for a conference starting on Monday. I was treating my younger brother, Harry, to a Leaf game at the Air Canada Centre. We are both hockey fanatics and loyal fans of the Blue & White. From the time I was a wee grasshopper, one of my favourite past times involved reading hockey books. At the top of my list are biographies and releases chronicling the history of the game. Another must-have are large coffee-table publications with their stunning photographs.

After seeing Jen off in a taxi, I opted for pounding the pavement as my mode of transportation. I have always found taking long walks as being therapeutic. It is a time to clear my head or workout any nagging problems. Also, I had some clicks of the clock to kill prior to the drop-of-the-puck. As I made my way down Yonge Street, the traffic light at Carlton Street turned red. Glancing to my left, I noted the College Subway Station. This brought back flashbacks of walking up the subway stairs and proceeding east to Maple Leaf Gardens. While lost in my reminiscing, the light turned green. To buy more time, I turned to face the red light, as it was my intention to cross the street and walk on the west-side of Yonge.

As I walked in front of College Park, a glorious vintage vehicle in the curb lane caught my attention. Having worked on several automobile ads, I conducted extensive research on the history of General Motors. Once the car passed, I noticed it suddenly braked and started to back-up in my direction.

I was able to dissever the make and model. It definitely belonged to the GM brand. The "Flying Lady" chrome hood ornament being the first clue. Recalling my research, I established the vehicle was a Cadillac five-passenger sedan. I remembered reading 1929 was the first year GM introduced sidelights on the fenders, which was the case with this car. So, it must have rolled off the '29 production line or sometime early in the 1930s. The markings were very distinctive and featured chrome-plated headlights, bumper and front grill. The spare tires were positioned in fender wells and mirrors were mounted on top of them. The paint job was exquisite. The main body was light gray and the roof washed with a dark gray.  A magnificent contrast emerged as the fenders were painted black and draped over white-wall tires.

The vehicle came to a halt just as I stopped walking. For a moment nothing happened. After checking my watch, I looked up to discover the front passenger window had been rolled down. I stepped up onto the running board and leaned forward to take a peak inside. The gentleman behind the wheel was neatly attired in a brown tweed overcoat with cuff sleeves. An all-white silk scarf providing protection from an autumn chill. A fedora hat perched at the top of his head completed the look.

"Nice sweater" said the driver, his eyes glued to the middle portion of the jersey.

After leaving  Jennifer, I slipped my Leafs retro sweater over my coat. This morning, I chose the 1930s replica jersey. The 47-point Maple Leaf clearly showing which team I supported.

"Are you going to the game?", he asked

"I'm heading there now", I replied. The humming from the V-8 engine causing my voice level to increase by several octaves.

"Glad to give you a lift", he stated. I could see his breath as the open window filled the interior with brisk night air.

For some reason, the gent looked awfully familiar. His manner of dress reflecting the same era as his car.

I swung open the passenger door, picking-up a newspaper dangling near the edge. Under the Toronto Daily Star banner, a bold headline screamed out, "HEART TROUBLE CAUSES W.F. MACLEAN'S DEATH." Glancing at the text, I discovered some facts about MacLean. He was the founder and editorial writer for a local newspaper - Toronto World. The article mentioned the newspaper no longer existed. The writer of the piece noted it was Canada's first one-cent morning paper.

The sheer size and design of the Toronto Daily Star stood out. In technical terms, it is refereed to as a broadsheet. The date? December 7, 1929 - 5 O'clock edition.

My imagination kicked in at this point. The car. The driver. The newspaper. You know the feeling. Is this really happening or is it all a dream? While lost in my thoughts, I noticed the drivers right-hand coming in my direction. His left-hand remained on the huge steering wheel.

"Let me introduce myself, I'm Charlie Conacher" he stated, with his handshake lasting for several seconds.

Taking a second, third and fourth look, I couldn't believe it. Then, all the photographs of Chas Conacher in books I read flashed before me like a slide show. This truly was Charlie Conacher - star of the Toronto Maple Leafs!

"Nice to meet you Mr. Conacher. I've been a big fan of you and brother Lionel", is all I could muster-up as I introduced myself.

"Did you know we signed Harvey Jackson to a pro contract yesterday? He should be in the line-up for tonight's game, Conacher explained enthusiastically.

"Will he play on your line" I enquired. The Bomber, a nickname given to Conacher due to his wicked shot, shrugged his shoulders and seemed to be thinking about my question. In my head, I added Joe Primeau to the mix. Perhaps, the NHL version of the Kid Line would make it's debut this evening.

At Yonge and Gerrard, Conacher made a left turn, then a right at Church Street. As we travelled south, I questioned Conacher about the car - "What year is this Caddy?" - he confirmed it was a 1929.

In no time at all, we reached the intersection of Church and Dundas. I could tell Conacher was making a transition, putting on his game-face. Our chit-chat decreasing and his attention shifting to other matters. After making a left at Dundas, a right took the Cadillac down Mutual Street.

We had reached our destination - 60 Mutual Street - the Arena Gardens, home to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Built in 1912, the edifice took in parts of Shuter Street, Mutual and Dalhousie Street.

"We are here" Conacher announced, as he parked his car at the side of Arena Gardens.

I stood by as he locked the passenger door. I wished him luck as we shook hands. Conacher was immediately mobbed by fans as he made his way into the Arena. I felt something in my hand. It was a ticket to the game, slipped into my possession by Charlie Conacher.

As I slowly walked-up to the entrance on Mutual Street, I read the following sign...Hockey Tonight - Arena Gardens, Les Canadiens (Hockey's Three-Ring Circus) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs ("Your Own Team"), Reserve and Bleacher Tickets Still Available, Bleacher Seats On Sale in Advance.

Once inside, I purchased an "official programme" (Buckingham Hockey Pictorial). Contained within were stories on the Stanley Cup, Allan Cup and Memorial Cup. Wonderful photographs graced the pages, including those of Babe Seibert, Bill Cook, Frank Nighbor, Bill Brydge, Jack Adams, Cyclone Wentworth, Hap Day and Baldy Cotton. Not to mention, my new friend Charlie Conacher. Special features highlighted NHL rules and a schedule for the 1929-30 season. Most important, were the line-ups for both Montreal and Toronto.

The Arena was quite a size smaller than the Leafs future home at Maple Leaf Gardens. A full-house would incorporate between 6000 and 8000 customers.

I spotted sportswriter Lou Marsh of the Star huddling with broadcaster Foster Hewitt. Straining to overhear their conversation, I heard Marsh ask Foster about the show airing on CFCA Radio prior to his call of the game.

"Well Lou, it is a recital by soprano Margaret MacLennan Andrew. Her pianist and accompanist is Montagu J. Kellaway. Miss Andrew's rendition of "Don't Drink to Me Only" and "Indian Love Call" are a joy to listen to", Hewitt told his fellow member of the working press.

I took my seat and noticed the Leaf bench directly across the ice surface. I sat in a state of dazed bewilderment. Reading the programme was similar to turning the pages of a history book. An incredible list of names stared back at me - Hainsworth, Morenz, Chabot, Day, Horner and Cotton. The referees were even ex-NHL players - Bert Corbeau and future Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Cy Denneny.

It was 8:30pm in Toronto.

During first period action, the Leafs dominated, but couldn't beat goalie George Hainsworth. In the middle frame, Montreal opened the scoring on a tally by Pit Lepine. His intended pass to a teammate, deflected off Hap Day's stick, past Lorne Chabot in the Leaf net. For the balance of play, Hainsworth shut the-barn-door, as Montreal defeated Toronto 1-0. I was mesmerized watching Howie Morenz dart and dash from point "A" to point "B". Maple Leaf fans rose from their seats as Primeau, Conacher and Jackson skated up ice on the same line.

Throughout, I noticed how much more vocal and rambunctious the Toronto crowd was in expressing their pleasure or displeasure. I'm certain the presence of several "betting-pits" scattered at various locations only added fuel to the fire.

Departing the rink, I walked along Mutual Street and observed a greasy-spoon at Mutual and Dundas. The sign outside told me I was about to enter an establishment called Arena Lunch. I ordered a cup of coffee and couldn't resist a huge slice of apple pie with two scoops of vanilla ice cream.

My head was spinning as I left the delightful 1920s diner. Several additional cups of strong black coffee provided a boost of energy. Reaching the corner of Church and Dundas, I was overtaken by an impulse to check the scene over my left shoulder. As I somehow expected, the Arena Gardens was no longer on the horizon. Instead, the land was occupied by a number of Housing Co-Ops. The identical buildings which were situated on the property during my last visit to the area in 2009.

The hockey crowd which took in the game at the Air Canada Centre had long since dispersed. Approaching Union Station, I decided a strong-stiff drink was necessary prior to boarding a train for home.

I crossed Front Street and nodded to the doorman positioned at the entrance to the Royal York Hotel. As the main dining room came into view, I noticed a small billboard informing customers of the following...Toronto's Smartest Sunday Occasion - Mr. Rex Battle and His Famous Concert Orchestra Will Provide a Select Program of Concert Music - Every Sunday Evening - $2.00 Per Person.

Sticking my head in the door, I observed three smartly dressed  fellas having their dinner order taken by a tall-sleek waitress. All I could do is shake my head and rapidly blink my eyes.

Seated at the table were Sylvio Mantha, George Hainsworth and Howie Morenz.

The End.