Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The other night, The Mister watched Cinderella Man and mentioned that it was filmed in Toronto.
I thought I had read something about the use of Sully's Gym on Queen Street West, and The Mister and I had a conversation about Sully.
I remember him when I was a young girl.
I remember him being a fixture at the Northgate Restaurant counter at Lansdowne and Queen.
I remember him being a kind man.
Us kids used to joke around with him and he used to tell us to "stay outta trouble!".
He was a character.
A larger than life old school boxer with a squished nose, large sunglasses with a pinkish tone, lots of bling and advice.

He was the chain smokin' King of Queen Street.

And when we saw him, he'd always say "how's it goin? Stayin' outta trouble?"
My Sully story happened when I was in ninth grade, and it is great in the sense of stories of neighbourhood legends that are true.
It was always said that Sully looked tough, but he had a big soft heart, and it was true.

One Saturday, I was having french fries and gravy with my friend Patty, nursing my coke as we did back then, alternating between hanging at the Northgate or the Skyline restaurant.
Sully was sitting in his spot at the counter drinking coffee and talking to the owner.
I was telling my friend about how it was my mothers birthday, and how I didn't have any money to buy her a gift.
Sully overheard me and called me over.
He shoved a twenty in my hand and told me to buy something nice for my "Ma", and told me not to argue with him.
Just like that.
Twenty bucks back then was a lot of money.
Sully was a lot of man.

This story, and a hundred others is why I've got a soft spot for Parkdale.