Today's a very special day for Canadian country icon Stompin' Tom Connors.
This is the day he becomes an officer of the Order of Canada. The honor will be bestowed in a ceremony at 4 this afternoon at Rideau Hall. The singer says he's overwhelmed and extremely satisfied with being given such a prestigious title.
"I've actually known about the honor since last spring and, ever since the word got out, a lot of people have been wishing me well. The whole thing came as quite a surprise," Connors said from his home in southern Ontario. "I guess it's just a nice thing for me personally because I've taken a lot of flack from a lot of corners and avenues over the years," says the man famous for everything from Bud The Spud, Big Joe Mufferaw to The Hockey Song.
"I'm still not exactly sure how this all came about but through the grapevine I got the impression that over the years a lot have people have mentioned the name Stompin' Tom Connors with respect to the award. "I guess, if your name keeps coming up, you've got a good chance," he suggests.
Love him or leave him, there's no denying Connors actively loves Canada, and he feels this honor is recognition of his years of singing the praises of his country.
"You know, when I think about this, it just gives me a very warm feeling, because over the years it's always seemed to be Pick on Tom Week. And , although I've always just rolled with the punches, when something like this comes along, it just seems to make it all worthwhile."
Connors has been a little quiet lately, because he's currently working on a new book.
"My first book was called Before The Fame, and it covered my memories up to the age of 31.
"And this is the second half of that story, but I don't have a title for it yet.
"I'm just not doing any touring and recording at the moment because, when you're in the middle of writing a book, there isn't a lot of time for other things, because some days it goes well and other days it's a struggle."
But today Connors will put his manuscript down and join 45 fellow Canadians as they're ushered into the Order of Canada by Governor -General Romeo LeBlanc.
Others scheduled to receive the Order of Canada include: Ernest "Mr. Dressup" Coombs, the Honorable Rosemary Brown, Montreal broadcaster George Balcan, Montreal Expos' executive Claude Brochu, violinist Angele Dubeau, musician Trevor Payne of the Montreal Jubilation Choir, artists Gordon Smith and Antonio Tascona and broadcaster Peter Stursberg.