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Arriving in Fort William from Ireland in the late 1800s, this early sports pioneer was instrumental in the development of a number of different sports as both an athlete and builder for over 30 years. As an amateur athlete Thomas demonstrated his skills in badminton, track & field and cycling.

Along with his brother James, Thomas was also a breeder of top-quality sulky race horses which competed in the Western Canada leg of the Canadian Trotting Circuit which extended as far west as Calgary, as far east as Ottawa and as far south as Kentucky. From 1904-30 Thomas truly dedicated himself to the development of sulky racing on both ice and dirt tracks.

Instrumental in the amalgamation of the Fort William and Port Arthur Riding Associations in 1913 he served as President of the Twin City Riding Association from 1914-16. Thomas' outstanding skill as a sulky driver contributed greatly to the support this sport had throughout the region. Newspaper accounts from that time report close to 5,000 spectators turning out to watch the races on the ice of the Kam River and Lake Superior breakwater. In 1910 Thomas and his horse Tokay broke the World's Record for the half-mile on ice in Toronto.

Aside from his involvement in sulky racing, Thomas' building career also included serving as President and Manager of the Kam Lacrosse Team, Committee Chairman and referee for the Fort William and Port Arthur Soccer Leagues, an official for local track and field events and as President of the Fort William Wanderers Hockey club, making him a true builder of sports.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 26th, 1992

Thomas McCranor

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