Canadian country music legend Stompin Tom Connors – whose songs about Northern Ontario nickel miners, P.E.I. potato farmers and hockey were part of the nation’s cultural lexicon. Via CTV:

Charles Thomas Connors was born in 1936 in Saint John, N.B., to a teenaged mother, and raised by foster parents in Skinners Pond, P.E.I, until the age of 13.

One story has it that in 1964, at the age of 28, Connors found himself at the Maple Leaf Hotel in Timmins, Ont., short five cents for a beer. He made up the difference by playing a few songs, and that turned into a 14-month contract.

He was known as “Stompin’ Tom” for tapping his boot on a wooden board in rhythm to his playing, and was rarely seen in public without his signature black cowboy hat.

Connors made a point of writing songs about Canadians, and as a result his music transformed him into a cultural icon. Some of his songs have become closer to national anthems, most notably “The Hockey Song.”

Connors was 77.

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