Stompin' Tom's famed footwear was homegrown
The toe-tapping footwear that helped earn Stompin' Tom Connors his notable nickname was as authentically Canadian as his heartfelt homegrown tunes.
The late music icon would famously stomp his heeled leather boot on a piece of wood while performing. The footwear was from Boulet, which bills itself as the first company to produce cowboy boots in Canada.
"They were called square dance boots, actually, because they come up to your heel," recalled Brian Edwards, president of Rocklands Entertainment and Connors' promoter for the last 25 years.
Edwards said they would pick up a couple of pairs of Boulet boots anytime they paid a visit to Winnipeg.
"They were about 11½, double-wide or something," he said of Connors' shoe size. "He had big feet."
Georges-Alidor Boulet established G.A Boulet Inc.
in 1933 in St-Tite, Que., often called "The Leather Town." The company bills itself as the largest cowboy boot factory in Canada.
Terrie Murchison worked at the now-defunct Boulet factory outlet store in Winnipeg, and said Connors favoured the ankle-high, slip-on heeled Boulet Western boot which sold for about $100 a pair.
"I think that's the only boot he ever wore," recalled Murchison, who now manages a Canadian Footwear store in Winnipeg.
"He would come into Winnipeg and we would turn around and we would give him two pairs of these boots and then he would do his performance," he added. "And then, we would open up after hours for him and his crew to come down to do his shopping."
While he can't recall meeting Connors, Murchison was nostalgic when hearing "The Hockey Song" blaring through the speakers while heading into town on Thursday.
"We lost a legend," he said.
Also signature to Connors' style was his ever-present black cowboy hat. But Edwards was uncertain of the origins of the famed topper, which he said Connors stored in a old paper shopping bag with two handles.
"He only had one hat ever and he had it back in the early '60s and I have no idea [where it's from]," said Edwards.
"But there's no other hat but the one."