Stompin’ Tom Connors stomps his way into The Beaverbrook Art Gallery

New Brunswick artist Fred Ross’ sketches of Canadian-singer songwriter Stompin’ Tom Connors to the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. (Submitted: Beaverbrook Art Gallery)

New Brunswick artist Fred Ross’ sketches of Candian-singer songwriter Charles Thomas Connors — better known as Stompin’ Tom Connors — to the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. 

John Leroux, manager of collections and exhibitions at the art gallery, said the sketches were donated a year and a half ago. The sketches show a group of young people, where three of the characters are inspired by the old portrait of Connors, created by Ross. The sketches show a healthy young boy, shirtless, wearing only high-top sneakers and a pair of small shorts that appear to be a bathing suit.

“He’s a very proud Canadian and he loved his country,” he said. “People are really interested so it’s good to know that you have something that resonates with people.”

Connors is from Saint John, New Brunswick. He’s a great role model for Canadians, not only because of his humility but also because he managed to grow as a person even while growing up underprivileged, said Leroux.

Leroux said people from Canada knew who was because his music was inspiring and catchy. His hits include “The Hockey Song,” “Sudbury Saturday Night” and “Big Joe Mufferaw.”

“For people of a certain age and older, he is a musical icon,” said Leroux. 

A Fred Ross painting, based on his sketch of Stomping Tom Connors, hangs at Harbour View High School in Saint John, New Brunswick. (Submitted: Beaverbrook Art Gallery)

Olivia Potter, a first-year St. Thomas University English student, went to Harbour View High School, where there is a mural based on the sketch of Connors. She said despite not knowing the men on the left side of the mural are based on Connors, she always liked it. 

“I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan of Connors,” said Potter via Facebook Messenger. “However, knowing now that my high school had a mural of him, I wish we had done more to acknowledge both, the beautiful art throughout the school as well as celebrating Stompin’ Tom.”

LeRoux said Connor would almost be the equivalent of Johnny Cash for Canada.

“[Connors] is a very proud Canadian. Some of his songs were fascinating. They’re all a little goofy and funny, but he loves this country. He wrote incredibly interesting and poignant songs about people from coast to coast,” he said.

Leroux said Connors’ music isn’t for everybody but he thinks that people who care a lot about Canada will be able to take a lot out of his music. 

“The biggest thing is that people should get interested in him as a person and for his music,” said Leroux.