I recently visited Bill Rawson, who has shared a lot of great stories with us in the past about the history of Long Branch (Toronto not New Jersey), and I was delighted to see his used furniture store, on the south side of Lake Shore Blvd. West across from the Long Branch Library, is now open again. It had been closed for some time during restoration work following a fire that had occurred in an adjoining building.
Bill has been reading a book by Jim Colemen entitled A Footprint on My Heart (1971). During my visit, Bill told me many stories about Jim Coleman, and about horse racing and betting. I’m looking forward to reading the book once Bill has read it. Bill mentioned that Jim Coleman’s dad was a vice president with Canadian Pacific Railway who travelled in a private railway car.
The first link in the pervious paragraph provides some background about who Jim Coleman was. Here is an excerpt:
- Coleman was educated in Victoria and McGill University. At the age of 10 he made his first visit to a racetrack when his aunt took him to Brighouse Park in Vancouver. She put up a $2 place wager on a horse he selected from the program, Mineral Jim, who finished third. He was hooked. Coleman explained, “… you may be wondering how anyone can get hooked on horse racing at the age of 10 or so and then go through an entire lifetime without shaking the habit. It’s easy, really. All you require is the spirit of perseverance.” A notable drinker in his younger years – he swore off booze in the late 1950s – he once wrote, “I lived two lives. One the newspaperman who drank too much but who usually managed to complete his work; the other the escapist who spent much of his time in a dream world populated by horses, horsemen, gamblers, bookmakers, touts, stock hustlers and oddball sports promoters.”
[End of excerpt]
Bill Rawson is a great person to talk with about local history. Lots of people drop in to say hello and chat, and to buy or sell.