Saturday, April 26, 2008


I am very sorry to tell you that I will no longer be contributing postings to this site. (The TSE Traders' Archive Page) There have been 'a few' complaints from people about the content of my blogs. I have been asked to 'edit out' anything that might be considered anyone I guess. I will not do this. To those of you who have given me such positive responses to my words, I thank you profusely. To any of you that I might have offended...HA! Anything else I might add would no doubt be considered offensive.
One of the things that made us what we were, was our absolute lack of political correctness. That is why I could NEVER work in an office environment. Political correctness makes me puke. This is why I will not be 'edited' for the sake of a few gilded lillies.
If you want to read anything else that I write about MY TSE LIFE, I will now be posting on my personal blog site ONLY.
If you are prone to sensitivity...stay to hell away from it.
This is a copy of Simone Lau's e-mail to me informing me of my perceived bad behavior - it is not confidential, so I share it with you.

Hi Jimmy.
We've received a few complaints about your postings so we had to start taking out parts of your stories. Some people don't wish to be reminded about more sensitive areas of their past and may not share your sentiments or sense of humor. The point of having this archive is to create positive memories for all so anything that may make people uncomfortable will be removed.
So please, if you have the time, go through your postings on the archive again and edit them.
Simone Lau
ScotiaMcLeod Equity Trader 416.862.3906

Simone's e-mail addy is:

If you have a problem with what I have contributed to this site and feel it has been offensive or negative, please, by all means, let her know. If you support what I have contributed and feel that it has been positive and of benefit to your enjoyment of this site...let her know!

Friday, April 25, 2008


I have to start this by telling you, April 23, 2008 was one of the best days I can remember in a very long time. Says a lot about my life, doesn't it!

I parked for $18.00 at Bay St. and Lakeshore Blvd. at about 4:15 and walked up Bay toward the Toronto Stock Exchange, which it will always be to me. I walked along the east side of the street, just as I had done on my first day as a floor trader on April 1, 1980. The throngs of people were moving south, so I was definately swimming upstream. My mind filled with the memories of that first day so very long ago. I was so young and excited. This day I was excited but I have no idea what happened to the young. When I reached the area across from the Exchange I stopped and sat down and stared at this beautiful art deco masterpiece, which, even as a shell of its former self, was still magnificant.

The sound of the pipes brought me back to my Scottish roots and Cape Breton home, and as they do for every Scotsman's blood, they made me feel just a little homesick. This time I wasn't feeling homesick for my Nova Scotia shores...I was feeling homesick for my Toronto Stock Exchange. This time I was feeling homesick for my many, many good friends from the floor. This time I was feeling homesick for the wonderful respected life I led as a Floor Trader. This time I was homesick for the laughs, the fights, the excitement, the boredom, the young guys, the old guys, the girls, the posts, the arb, the clock, the screaming, the bob loblaws', the day-o's, the 3:33:33's, the can, the california sandwich lunches, the gallery, the paper ball fights, the paper cuts, my trading book, the 10 coffees a day, the 15 coffees a day, the TD danishes, the greasy eggs at Marta's, the mango shakes, the capuccinos, the great lunches, the liquid lunches, the shitty lunches, the missed lunches, the beers at the Cork Room, the drinks at Sammy's and Ho Shim's, the hockey nights, the Bulls, the Rockets, the softball games, the soccer games, the easy money, the easy girls, the easy guys, the easiness in general, the constant buzz, the energy that didn't run out, the parties, the lines, the all nighters, the tough mornings, Weston health club pool, the limos to Buffalo with Gardner for wings, the almost getting killed with Gardner in Buffalo, people who liked me, the people who hated me, the pictures in the Star, the TV cameos, the first bonus, the last bonus, all the bonuses in between, downtown girl watching summer days, my first BMW, the trips to Vegas, the trips to New York, the trips to Montreal, my band playing at Ildiko's, my bad 80's hair, skinny ties and most of all, every single day I spent on the floor of the Toronto Stock Exchange.
As I j-walked across the street to the TSE, and it will ALWAYS be the TSE to me, I saw a few barely recognizable faces from the past. Faces I hadn't seen for a very long time. The one of these bodies I was closest to, as a friend, was Marty Wittenbols and Paul Napolitano. Walking over to the boys I was immediately flushed with the memories of our arb days with Burns Fry. Marty and his wonderful histrionics as the ultimate 'arb' trader every time there was a TV camera within screaming distance. Paul with his intimidating presence and big booming heart which now contained 4 new bypasses. As we shook hands I wondered what it was like for Marty when the floor died. He was such a fixture and was so at home on the floor, it must have been really tough. And for Paul who could never see himself in an office. Arb boys and offices were oil and water. Seeing Marty and Paul I was feeling the first brick being laid in the foundation of emotion that would become a building as the event unfolded. I stood outside for about 10 minutes and shook some hands and exchanged smiles filled with joy and sorrow. It was beginning to dawn on me that times had really changed, never to return. People no longer looked the same and I was only then feeling sure that this was also true of me as well. Then I saw this woman crossing the street comming toward the building. She looked vaguely familiar and when she was beside me our eyes met and I realized it was Carm, my old friend from so long ago. When I knew Carm, she was a girl, who I shared a lot of time with and somebody who meant a great deal to me at in my time on the floor. We were, at one time, great friends. We always had a wonderful sexual tension, mostly because Carm was just a bundle of young exhuberant sexuality and she carried herself in a very confident way...kind of slutty without being a slut. She was wonderful. When Our eyes met, I not only knew it was Carm, I knew I meant very little to her these days. She almost blew me off and did not look, not even for a moment, as if she even had the time of day for me. We exchanged a few very uncomfortable words and drifted off to other greetings and salutations with other people. It was so very wierd. This was the second brick in the foundation, which was a perfect metaphor for my feelings before and after theis event...bitter/sweet! I shook off the wierd encounter with Carm qiute easily, not because I was didn't care, but just because I was so hyper psyched and excited. But I have to tell you, under normal circumstances, Carm's reaction and obvious indifference to me, would have devistated me.
I walked into the building and took a moment to breath it all in. It was of course different now in its new life as 'the design exchange'. (note the lack of capitals and mild distain) I pain my $75.00 and was wrist wrapped by the smiling Susan Tonkin. I slowly assended the stairs, as I had done so many hundreds of times before. This time with a flood of memories with every step. It was warmly overwhelming. When I got to the top of the stairs I stopped and took several deep breaths. They were bittersweet. Surrounded by the familiar marble, granite and deco art and detail, I knew I was home. I entered the room and was immediately overwhelmed by a kind of out of focus feeling as I looked over the crowd for familiar faces. My vision wasn't out of focus, but my memory of what everyone looked like in my mind and the reality of the people 18 years later was enough to cause a momentary blur of emotion. The first person I encountered inside was Mark Grimes. Not in person, just in his overwhelming booming voice over and above the din of the assembled crowd. I meandered through the people feeling amazingly good. Shaking hands, hugging and kissing friends. Feeling like some wierd time warp had taken place and everyone I knew now looked like people I didn't know. Within a very short period of time I met up with Ed Szolopiak. We talked and shared a few memories and lamented the lost life we lived. Ed looked basically the same. Little thinner on top and a very grey moustache. Little more cynical after too many years locked away being a battery in an office cell. I then talked with Kenny Rathgerber and thanked him for his efforts in this reunion and the web pages we now live our past lives through. Kenny looked basically the same. Just a little heavier but maybe a little happier than most. We posed for a few pics and chatted with Harold Maines, who looked great! I drifted toward the bar but was intercepted by Owen Ritchie whom I spent a great deal of the evening talking to. Owen looked good, a little heavier, like the rest of us, but filled with the same contageous energy that I always loved him for. We shared some great laughs and some sad memories of comrades lost.
Standing with Owen, something odd caught my eye to my right. This leather clad, helmet toting cowboy made his way toward us. I barely recognized him. It was my old friend and co-abuser Mike Gardner. Mike Harleyed his way there and looked every bit the poster boy for middle aged penis replacement. haha. Just kidding Mike. But I think it used to be a Porsche or a 20 year old blond to cure that crisis of mid life. Think I would've gone for the blond Mike hahaha!
We very briefly chatted as I marvelled at the difference in appearance. Holy shit man, we were definately NOT in Kansas anymore Toto.
I walked around, scoping out the crown. I spotted a lot of my pals and one by one, I was making my way through as many as possible. With so little time and so much to say, it was a difficult task. I met up with Anna Dixon and shared some great moments from the past. The great parties at Colin's place. Her unbelievable french maid uniform costume at a halloween party at Chris Martin's place. I informed her that her costume had made her a bit of a celebrity with the horny boys who only drooled, because of her Colin status. To this she responded, half in jest, that if she had known that, she would've dumped Colin and gone for the boys...all of them. Anna is great and as a 19 year old, she was very very hot!
I chatted briefly with Anna Carlouchi. She looked great and was her usual smiling self, but didn't really have too much to say. I was a little dissapointed. Her and Carm were good friends back in the day, so I wondered if there was residual from the Carm thing. Who knows. Maybe these girls didn't like me as much as I thought. I walked over to Jimmy Dimson to say hi. Jimmy looked great and it was cool to talk to him. Across the room I spotted Joe Turner. Joe sent me a pic of him and his dad a couple of weeks before the reunion, so I wasn't shocked to see the shock of white hair on his head. It seems so out of place with his youthful face and 20 year old posture. It was great to see Joe. He is a great guy. He told me I looked the same as I did back in the day...with an 80's tie, slicked back 'same' hair and 'ahem' casual look jacket, which he obviously didn't care for too much. Oh well. Truth hurts...haha! We chatted for awhile and Joe told me about his business these days and it was all good.
I saw and chatted briefly with Brent Schwalm, Gord Gladney, Jimmy Barkwell, Russle Barnes, Bob Point, John Manna, Bruce Cocker, Brad, Jerry the Bell man, Peter Ergli, Dave Knight, Gord MacNeil, John Moir, Dave James, Peter Polson, Johnnie Johnson, Lori Sexton, Sandy Eamond, Ken McIntosh, Glen Grossmith.
Then I had a great chat with Ronnie Williams. Love the guy. We had some great times back in the day. Ronnie looks and sounds great and he deserves it.
Then I met up with Steve Welch. He looks a little older but has lost none of his amazing wit and sense of humor. We had a few belly laughs before we continued on our journeys from chat to chat with as many friends as 41/2 hours would allow, and we met up throughout the evening for similar moments of laughter. Then Rick Walker and I shared some memories and laughs. Rick and I have been talking some in the past weeks and we both needed this reunion, for our own reasons. It was really good to see Rick. He is a great guy and we have a great past and share a macabre sense of humor. Steve Curry saw me in a crowd and came over and gave me the big hug and smile. I was so happy to see him. He will always mean alot to me. One of the great people I was so lucky to share some life with. After sharing some memories with Curry I was getting just a little overwhelmed with the moment and the huge emotional surge that came with it.


Saturday, April 5, 2008


Any discussion of time spent as a Floor Trader would be less than complete without an 'in depth' look at the socializing habits of this strangely elite group, of which I was a proud member. The single most defining description of these socializing moments can be found in one word.....PARTY.
Because of the fact that too many people might be subjected to too many non-specific slings and arrows for me offering a totally factual play by play, I have to seriously limit my recolections to a 'G' rated version of events. Those of you that experienced and lived through the events I speak of, well, you already know what I mean. As for those of you that don't...use your 1980's imagination. Sex, Drugs and Rock&Roll baby!

I don't know if it was the times we were in, cause the 1980's were unbelievable, or maybe the chemistry that seemed to manifest itself among the floor people whenever there was an opportunity to enjoy any given social momnent. Maybe it was the cliches' that started to make sense like "going out with the boys and comming in with the men" and "work hard, party harder". Maybe it was just the amazing, almost magic shared valence electrons forming a bond between adjacent nuclei. HaHa...Ok, grade 12 chemistry alert!! Or maybe it's just because a group of talented, intense, extremely pressure driven individuals who shared one of the most individualized working environments on the planet, just GOT IT! We really knew how to enjoy the moment and live it to the fullest, no matter what the outcome. Ah, unbridled passion and crazy people...sounds like a party to me.
There were several categories of party in the floor trader world. Almost every time a group, be it large or small, of Floor Traders would get together for any of a number of reasons and sometimes no reason at all, a party was always a distinct possibility and a danger of breaking out. These parties could start from a gathering at the Cork Room or some other popular apres work thurst quencher. They could start to develop from a group playing soft ball or day tripping downtown. They could start from an impromptu road trip to who knows where. Honestly, they could start anytime, any place...anywhere.
The next category would be the sometimes planned, sometimes unplanned 'house parties' that were as common as they were legend. These were the parties where everyone was a little more equal than they would ever be on the somewhat 'elitist' trading floor. You know, the kind of equal where we were ALL as capable of facing the indignities of hurling in the host's bathroom as the next guy...or girl!
The final category of 'party' that we will endeavour to study in this thesis will be the 'organized' or 'annual' parties that had existed for ever as far as I knew. These parties included the 'Stags', the annual company 'Christmas Parties', the 'Bun Toss' and the most intriguing and the mother of all great Floor Trader inspired parties, the annual Montreal based 'Oyster Party'.


In my time on the 'floor' some of the best house parties were held at the Bayview and Eglinton house rented by Chris Martin, Bill Walsh and Rick Walker, Chris's Yonge & Sheppard abode and Jimmy Barkwell's place on Wellington St. downtown. I was only at about 10 of these events, combined, but that was enough to grasp the concept. The 'three amigos' house, Chris, Bill & Rick's, was a small, kinda 'cute' little 'North Toronto' bungalow and a half, or for party purposes, cozy. It was in a nice quiet area just off the busy intersection. Most of the action was centered on the main floor area where as many people as you can imagine would be sardined into a very 'cozy' space. But I have some rather 'odd' blury memorries from a sub-terrain area of the house where only strangeness can be recalled. These parties were usually friday night affairs as I remember, so people usually pre-tanked downtown in the Cork Room or wherever and by the time most of us got to the party, we were pretty much hammered. By midnight the air quality was roughly that of Bejing in rush hour. It seemed that everyone and his mother smoked cigarettes in those days and in parties like these, you barely had to light up. Even the non-smokers woke up in the morning feeling like they 'smoked a pack'! As if the cigarette smoke didn't create a thick enough ambient curtain, the pot smoke was absolutely dense and seemingly never ending. You would be able to share in wave after relentless wave of countless joints. I know it's hard to believe, but 'some' people actually did 'drugs' back in the day. Well...take off your hat and say...Imagine that!
These parties were so great, not so much because they offered anything out of the ordinary, it was something more like a spiritual hammering of the minds!
They were just so very much fun because you knew everyone and everyone knew you and we all knew how to have a really good time.

Jimmy Barkwell's parties were another fantastic way to willingly submit yourself to mild, or not so mild, brain damage. The smoke never deemed as big an issue at Jimmy's because there was at least an opportunity for ventilation and not just circulation. He had a great frightening elevated patio kind of thing at the back of the place. OK, so I can't exactly remember the details because I was never at Barky's house when I wasn't pissed. Not angry...drunk! All I know for sure is that there was an open area overlooking a parking lot. I think!! I remember there were always more ladies at Jimmy's parties. Sorry Chris...haha Or maybe I just kept seeing the same ones over and over. Whatever the case, these parties were excellent. There were some great eating places close by, so the enevitable attack of the incredible drunken/stoned munchies could be satiated with prejudice. That means you could get drunk and blitzed and eat. Hah!
I think I can safely state that EVERYONE that has memories of the parties at Barkwell's place thinks they were really, really cool. Jimmy always brought that inexplicable 'je ne sait quois' to his events much as he did to the rest of his life. He was such a smooth rider that his energy alone could bring a so so, to a cool high! That, believe it or not, was not a veiled drug reference. We all owe Jimmy a little thank you for the good times he provided so many of us so often.


Ah the 'bun toss'. What more needs to be said. You get a group of business men (and women) together, in this case floor traders, and you add a formal dress code, a luxurious hotel banquet area with dancing to follow and about a million pops and about 2 million buns. No, the dinner roll kind! I remember at my very first bun toss I actually thought the 'boys' were pulling a fast one on me, the rookie, and that I would be somehow sorry if I took it too seriously.
When we were at the event Jimmy Ackers was on the podium and after the glad tidings were spoken, he gave everyone a stern warning NOT to indulge in the bun tossing ritual. Something about insurance concerns from the hotel. I guess not too many people were listening. Within 30 seconds of the end of the meal, the boys were scrambling, grabbing and stockpiling every 'bun' in the place. They seemed to be popping up everywhere and then it began. From every direction and from even the most unlikely sources (Eddie Lewer), the air absolutely filled with buns. Man oh man did they get tossed. I was hit by about three before I even knew what was going on. Mark Grimes was at our table and he was like a 'bun tossing' machine gun. Across the room at Ackers table, there was Jimmy, rocketing off a barage at harold Maines. It was insane. It was the most immature display of grown men being boys that you can imagine. And it was THE most fun you could ever hope to have at ANY formal event you can imagine.

After the buns died off, the mess was something else. 'I love the smell of dead yeast in the morning'. This was a small part of the wild environment that was the world of the floor trader.


It is difficult for me to hear ANY 80's song these days without evoking memories of those wild and crazy party soundtracks from back in the day.
So many of those songs were related to my memories of the 'oyster parties' throughout the 80's. Don't think I missed one.
Within six mmonths of starting my job on the floor I attended the first of my 'oyster parties'. A weekend in Montreal was required to fully participate and comprehend the 'oyster party'. This was definately NOT like other parties, there were none that could compare.

The party started with a trip to Montreal. Limo to the airport, drinks. Flight to Montreal, drinks. Taxi straight to the party and lots of drinks. The party itself was held at the Boursse de Montreal, or for everyone else, the 'Montreal Stock Exchange'. The party was a really cool affair that started with a trip to the trading floor to chat with guys we worked with. That meant Frankie Breaker and Paul (something english) and Paul (something french). He had the hottest girlfriend whose name I cannot remember. She worked some time at the 'boursse' but I think she might have been a stripper. Whatever! Anyway, by the next oyster party rolled around, she was dead. They found her and some other girl in the trunk of a cadillac at the Dorval airport parking lot. Wrong place/wrong time...that's another story!
What a waste.
Back to the action. When the floor got boring, an average of six minutes after arrival, we made our way upstairs to the actual party floor. It was a great space and had a fantastically catered food service. But that isn't why they called it the oyster party. This was why they called it the 'oyster party'...thousands of oysters! Oysters Rockefeller, Deep fried oysters, oysters neuberg, breaded oysters, baked oysters and most importantly, oysters on the half shell. I absolutely LOVE oysters. Here I was in oyster heaven. Mark Grimes absolutely LOVES oysters. He too was in oyster heaven. This being my first oyster party, I was a little laid back, a taking notes kind of thing. Rookie you know! That lasted till I power chugged four bloody caesars with Mark and he challenged me to an oyster war. Oh yeah, eating oysters till ya die. I didn't say we were smart. Our little contest was a see who can devour the most oysters in the shortest time deal. I told you. I didn't say we were smart! To make this interresting, all oysters had to be dressed with red sauce, hot sauce and lemon. Yummy!
The first couple of dozen had pushed our profile to the 'alert' level for the eight servers on duty. It was taking us very little time to go through their pre shucked supplies. Keep in mind that there were about 700 other patrons throwing back oysters as well. We didn't care. We also had to drink at least one caesar per dozen oysters. By the time I got to my fifth dozen, Mark was over 100! He wasn't just eating shucked oysters, he was throwing down ALL varieties available. And to start with, he was about twenty drinks ahead of me. We kept at it for quite awhile but Mark blew my doors off. He might have eaten 12 dozen. Shit, it might have been 20 dozen...haha. I was so hammered by this time that it was a woozy world of oysters and caesars and little else. I had to struggle to keep it all down, especially with Mark giving me the 'noogies'. But then something magical happened and we were fairly sober again. What a world!
This night was just getting started. After the oyster portion of the party it was back to the hotel for a little post party, partying. Oh yeah...that's right!
The next part of the oyster party weekend was definately the best looking part. It was off to 'Club Super Sex'. Today there are tons of 'whaterer goes' strip clubs all over Toronto, but back in the day, there was nothing like the Montreal strip clubs in all!
I mentioned in one of my earlier blurbs the kind of money some of the boys dropped at the clubs on these weekends. Let's just say you could buy a decent used car, on each of the nights there in the club, with the money that got G-stringed into oblivion. Oh man, what a way top go broke, haha.

On my second trip to Montreal for my 2nd oyster party I shared a room with Radar (Ralph Ditchburn). Actually it was his room and I was just going to split the costs with him. After following the prescribed protocols for the oyster party event, I made my way back to the hotel, no idea how, and crawled into bed with the spins from hell. I got into the room at about 3:30am and passed out violently. Hard as it might seem to believe, I actually woke up to an unbelievablw banging on the door. It was Radar and he was hammered and he didn't have his key. I did! Could I get up off that bed and let Radar into the room? NO! Could I do anything, move anywhere, NO! Did I care? NO! I passed out again! The next thing I knew, I was being shaken awake by some dude in a scary uniform. Of course in those days, all uniforms were scary...except those private school things. But I digress. Anyway, this barely understandable goof was shaking me and asking me..."Do you know this guy, Do you know this guy?"
He sounded like Peter Sellers doing Inspector Clouseau. Maybe he was Clouseau.
I looked over at another security guard holding Radar by the arm. Radar certainly would have been on the floor if not for this brute's strength in holding him up. I quickly assessed the situation and made the only logical choice I had available...I said NO, NO, NO, I don't know this guy. Get him out of here. They, of course, dragged Radar out of the room, kicking and screaming while giving me the f-offs to beat the band. Drunk as I was, this was a fine example of humor to me. To Radar...not so much!
I made a herculean effort to save my friend from the indignities of a french jail and called the front desk and explained that if those guys didn't bring Radar back, he would sue their asses off. The room, I reasoned to her, was in Radar's name. He was brought back to the room and the security guards sat him on the other bed and he just sort of slumped there, limp. When the guards finally finished admonishing me, for my "not funny joke", I flipped them the bird I did not understand a single word they uttered, and thusly passed out. This pass out was short lived. Radar, in a feat of super-human strength well beyond his drunk and stupid 110 pounds, jumped on me and started screaming, it could have french too, but he didn't speak it, and was punching me under the covers. I was laughing at him and my really funny joke so hard, I puked in the bed. Then I passed out again and slept in it. I guess Radar stopped pummelling me at some point through the night, cause' when I woke up at around 7:00am, covered in my own vomit, possibly Radar's too, Radar was flopped over his bed. He looked dead. I was wishing 'I' was dead!

Then we started the next day much as we ended the last...with many drinks and way too much fun and living too many cool future stories.

These were the best of times boys and girls.
In retrospect it all seemed so normal and we all just kind of took it for granted.


This brings me to what might possibly be the LAST party. Bay St ghosts present and future. So many friends have left us since those glory days. I have to wonder, at the risk of getting morose, how many will be left for the next party. At the risk of sounding morbid to go with it, we are all getting 'old'. There, I said it! We better enjoy whatever time we have to share with our many friends from the days of the floor trader. We better start to be better friends. We can do this by NOT waiting for 5-10-15 years to see each other, our friends. We can better appreciate what it was that we had by better appreciating what we have today. We aren't what we used to be. But alot of that is because we have done precious little to maintain what we were and who we were. For the sake of posterity, we better do something to keep the memory of our past lives alive forever. The Floor Trader's Archive is a great start. Compiling a directonary of e-mail addresses and phone numbers that members can access will also improve the chances of keeping in touch.

We don't have to become a lost civilization. We don't have to be the next 'lost tribe'. Lets do something to insure that there is a legacy, a "real' legacy, of the men and women who were the life and breath ofthe 'floor'. Let our children and children's children be able to look back be able to see what we were.
Once, we were great. Really, we were. Although 'we' are all going to die, (sorry, but it's true) what we were should never die with us!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Post# 10 - The Rest of My Friends At The Toronto Stock Exchange



There are many reasons people become friends. When people spend alot of quality time together under stressful and sometimes very high pressured situations over a long period of time, people become close. I was always privliged to considered many of the people on the floor my friends... good friends in many cases. Yet recently, when I called as many of my old friends as I could, it was the first time I had spoken to many of them for 11 to 15 years. Every time I think of a friend of mine from the TSE floor, any friend really, I have to give my head a real shake to try and understand why I have made so little effort to maintain a friendship with people that have meant so much to me. It is not just me...It is almost everyone that I have spoken to that is out of the business and about half of the people that are still in the business. It speaks to the human condition and the fact that sometimes when people are forced do battle together, when that war is over, maybe people all just needed to forget the war and unfortunately, the people they fought beside. I know the war analogy might be a bit over the top but I am sure that everyone of us feel and know that we have had to give up little piece of ourselves just to be in this business. This is much the same way a soldier who comes back from battle is never quite the same. That is definately very true in our business. This being said, I am thoroughly excited to re-connect with so many excellent people. Although I may not EVER know why I allowed so much time to piss away without even so much as inquiring about any of my friends, something really interresting has taken place in my cold calling of friends from days past. In almost every single case, with almost every single individual, it is as if I last spoke with them...yesterday. Sharing the memories and the laughs, the victories and the defeats and the fact that we were all so very lucky to have been where we were, doing what we were doing, in the very best of times.
At the risk of sounding really all of my 'floor' friends I just want to say that I missed you. I missed you all and I hope that this reunion will help all of us to appreciate who we are, what we are and who our FRIENDS are.

These Are Some Of My Other 'Floor' Friends in No Partictular Order

Joe Turner
I have many great memories with my old friend Joe. We had so many hours of terriffic conversations and even though he was a Habs fan, I still really liked him. Those great hot dogs in the Montreal Forum..oh yeah, and the games. haha A little baseball, a little hockey, memories. Joe was a really steady, even keeled trader and was well respected. A great sense of humor and a good laugh when that ketchup pack Joe was playing with exploded all over his white shirt and cool silk tie. Sorry Joe, but it was hilarious. I told you not to play with it...hahaha Joe is a really good guy and everyone that knows him will agree on this. It is great to be talking to Joe again and I look forward to getting together for another shared revisionist history lesson.

Bill Webb
My very best hockey conversations I ever had were with Bill. He was such a calm relaxed guy you would never be able to tell he had serious GOON blood flowing through his veins. Great times with Bill and his cool dad Lenny, Bill Walsh, Steve Welch and an assortment of hockey experts. Bill was one of the most informed and intelligent people on the floor and his hockey knowledge was vast and accurate. So much fun and great laughs with the 'Crunch' goon pool and every other pool that existed. So many good laughs on the floor keeping each other barely sane sometimes. Watching Tim Taugher threatening to go after Bill Brough to, I think, kill him while we stood by and laughed. Oh yeah, the good old days on the floor. Murder and mayhem...that was Bill...haha The fact that Bill and I were so, so different made it really cool to be friends. Bill was so measured and collected and I was...let's see...insane. Bill was a real calming influence on me, which was required once or twice...haha Thanks Bill. Go Wings!

Rick Perogi
Rick was an absolutely great guy. I enjoyed his company as much as anyone on the floor. I have great memories of Rick including the time he came up to my farm in Brougham to enjoy some the trees that were made available to us from the tree nursery adjoining my property. OK, so we had to wait till it was kind of dark to dig them up, but there you are...hahaha
Paper balls were king on the floor and Rick was an ace. No one was spared. He even threw a rocket that hit Tommy Milligan right on the top of his head, causing Tommy just a little aggrivation. I once threw a sugar pack at Rick, never believing I would hit him, but I did. He was so far away but the stars were aligned. I threw the pack on a very high arch, because he was so far away, and it went if in slow motion. BANG, right in Rick's right eye. It was so funny in a paper ball kind of way. Rick marched over to my booth as soon as it happened. He couldn't see that it was me, but yet he knew. He walked up to me and said, "nice shot Jim" and turned and walked away. What a true warrior. Just a great guy with a really good attitude. Once again, sorry Rick, but it was my best shot ever. Thanks!

Gord Gladney
I worked with Gord through part of my Peter Mitchell period as a trader and we shared a lot of hockey pools and pick-up games at midnight. Those games were tons of fun and I will now apoligize to any of my team mates that I injured through the course of our playing time together. Chris Martin, I am sure you can relate. Gord, I forgive you for the Peter Mitchell inspired plank walking in the Gordon/Davidson fiasco. I did OK by the way.

Owen Ritchie
Owen and I were kind of a ying/yang on the floor. He was a more soft edged and considerate individual to my rather hard assed approach. Of course, my being an Arb trader always kept me on edge. Pressure baby. You gotta love it!
Great Owen memories from the soccer pitch, hockey pools and chats about the 'carting' life. Owen was always so good to see. Always so positive. I only saw him loose it one time and it made me realize that it would always be better to have Owen as a friend than an enemy. Owen made having Owen as a friend very easy and rewarding. He and Bob Point could always be counted upon to provide lots of entertainment and general good cheer. I am glad I have Owen memories from the floor because without Owen, it would just not have been the same place. He was one of the truely 'good' people that helped make my job as a floor trader such a rich and rewarding experience.

Jeff Gamble
I used to really like Jeff and the times we spent together. Back in the Tow Truck days, the condo with Mike McCarthy, the boozecan experiment we almost followed through with, all of which I'm sure Jeff will deny ever existed, we had some great times. After Jeff went to New York to join the Larry Hoes gang, he was never the same guy, or so EVERYONE told me. Yeah, I thought that too Jeff. That was a real shame because Jeff was such a good friend and terriffic guy. Jeff would always help you out in a pinch and never want anything in return and was terminally friendly. I have no idea if he is any of these things anymore. Maybe some time he will tell me!

Colin O'Handley
Colin was a guy that I had much in common with. We were both musicians, motorheads and enjoyed a good party. I used to like going over to Colin's place to jam. Hey, Cherry Bomb! Pink Cadillacs'!
Colin gave the greatest parties. His annual 'corn roasts' were always so much fun...well, what I can remember from them. Colin actually served corn, boiled in huge pots with open fires and there would be butter melted into empty apple juice cans, ingenious, and the corn dipped in just right. The entertainment at these parties was always live bands and Colin and Brian Duff were in their element. What great memories!

Ah yes, Ed. Well Ed Szolopiak had one of the best names of my friends on the floor (except for maybe Rick alphabet) but for whatever reason really didn't look like his name...if you know what I mean. Ed wasn't nearly as exotic looking as his name sounded. Since he wasn't a stripper, I guess that didn't much matter. Ed and I used to spend a great deal of time hanging out and talking during the many down times on the floor. Ed had a great sense of humor, which it seems was a prerequisite to being a floor trader. Of course there were an awful lot of guys that had no sense of humor at all, so it kind of balanced out in our little universe. (see Tom Milligan) Ed was a perfect straight man and had excellent timing and demeanor for such a designation. I loved bouncing my rather extreme viewpoints off Ed because he always had such a deep measured response. His perspective on things was intelligent, while at the same time being quite funny. I believe Ed was an Acadia grad with a football major and an english minor...haha Like most of us on the floor, his education had little to do with his career. I really enjoyed my friendship with Ed and when we got together for a few after the closing of the old floor I didn't realize it would be 11 years between beers. I sincerely hope that it is not so long between the next!

Marty Whittenblos
When it came to characters on the floor of the TSE, Marty was near the top of the heat. Marty never met a camera he didn't have a passionate love affair with. Almost every clip on the news shows would enevitably be of Marty shouting and frantically hand signalling, real or imagined and sometimes including such well known 'arb' men as Arnie Coombs. I worked with Marty at Burns Arb and I enjoyed socializing with him off the floor. Marty wan not a drinker or a party animal, so it was hard to find common lines of interest. Marty is a long time Corvette man and once recorded a 'Taking Care of Business' cover video with Stevie Gilbert and I at a studio I had. Marty played drums. Marty was never as happy as I thought he should have been, although I am not really sure why.

Ike Ross
Ike was way happier than I thought he should have been...just kidding Ike! He was such a pleasure to have on the floor. A funny voice of reason in a world of turmoil. His take on life made you look at yourself just a little differently than you normally might. I think Ike was a trader, but I can't actually remember him actually doing a trade...haha Sorry Ike.

Jimmy Dimson
Swish, as Jimmy was known by so many on the floor was a really tremendous guy. Very quiet by floor standards, but a wonderful sense of fair play and a grounded personality. I thoroughly enjoyed my many and varied conversations with Jimmy. I always appreciated the fact that he would patiently listen to my many gripes and always offer calm relaxing advice. Jimmy was an absolute pleasure.

Mark Houghton
I just loved this guy. He was so gregarious and fun to be around. I spent many an evening after work having a beer with Mark and it was never ever boring. When I recently heard that Mark had died, I was absolutely shocked and could hardly believe my ears. I had been calling Mark's number trying to get in touch with him and didn't even realize that he would not be picking up. Mark spent many summer days and nights at the Exhibition, working in the family business selling home made beer nuts, which were delicious. At the end of the Ex he would often come by my apartment and drop off like 20 bags of these beer nut sweets. This was a very good 'munchy' appeaser. I miss Mark Houghton.

Sharon Butler
In my time on the floor Sharon was one of the coolest girls I ever hung out with. She was hot and could hang out with the boys and never feel like a third wheel. She was so much fun to spend time with and talk to and it was cool to have a female friend, of the hot persuasion, that you could just have fun with without the tension. Only the boys will know what I mean by that one. Sharon had a ton of friends and admirers and I am happy to have been one of them.

Kelly Gilbert
Kelly was one of the first girls that I became friends with on the floor. She was a great post clerk and we spent hours and hours of down time talking. She was the most energetic person I had ever met. Boundless energy and full time smiles. Kelly was a beautiful girl and soul. The night Kelly and Steve Gilbert became an item, and later married, was a classic. You know what, I think I will just leave that night at that. I just loved Kelly because she was such a great friend. She used to confide in me alot and I always felt like she cared about my opinions. I miss our good times together. Still love ya Kelly!

Little Carm
Carm, I am so sorry that I can't remember your last name. OK, you can shoot me. Carm was one of my very good friends and like Kelly, we spent countless hours talking and flirting. She was probably the only person that I talked with EVERY day on the floor. Carm was such a kind soul and so generous to me. She was always worried about me. She didn't approve of my lifestyle choices and always let me know when she thought I should curb the enthusiasm. I have such great memories Carm and I will cherish them forever. Love you too Carm!

Sheila Barry
The first time I met Sheila I was upstairs at the Cork Room with a group of non-traders types from the floor. Since there was a bit of segregation in the Cork Room which had the traders on the main floor and the non trading staff of the floor relegeted to the 'upstairs' portion of the establishment. Sheila was kind of hammered, like everyone else there, and people were talking about going to a party at Jimmy Barkwell's place. Most of the good parties were trader exclusive, to a degree, and the party ay Jimmy's was going to be a coup for the postie people to attend. This was to be a more 'open' party than most of the usual 'trader' parties, so people were excited. Meanwhile, back at the bar, Sheila was a real 'life of the partier' and was as funny as hell. She was toe to toe with a couple of guys and matching them gross out for gross out. She was no shrinking violet and I could tell I was going to like her. I owe alot of good laughs on the floor to Sheila. She was just a really funny girl. Since she came from a fine floor trading pedigree with trading vetrans Paul Barry (dad) and Bill Barry (uncle and gruff of note), you just knew Sheila was cut out for the job. Her North Toronto roots served her well in the wasp bastion of the trading floor of the TSE.
She was friends with Sharon Butler in those days and those two together were quite the party tag-team. (no, not that kind of tag team). Sheila almost always had a HUGE smile on her face and she really knew how to enjoy herself, which usually meant those around her enjoyed themselves as well. I always liked Sheila's company and her terriffic sense of humor and ascerbic tongue. Along with all the laughing I did with Sheila, I also considered her a great friend.

Vic Ciampini
Vic and I recently spoke about his first day on the trading floor. Vic was not your average postie in any demonstrable way. The day he started he was immediately the wierdest looking guy on the floor and discovered the attention that went with that distinction. In brief, Vic had the piercings and spiked hair of a hard core punk of the day. Not exactly a white shirt and tie guy. Vic was a musician and looked the part. Vic and I shared a rehearsal space for our individual musical needs and I loved the way he played. I was sure he could have made a career in music with a few breaks. Vic went on to become a wheel at the TSE which I am sure he wears as well as his musical endeavours. Vic is a great guy and I am indeed very happy to have spent time with him and share lots of cool moments.

Bob Mullet
I spent a lot of time with Bob on the floor as we both traded on opposing Arbs for many years. Bob always with Dorhety. Although we had an adversarial relationship, we never let that get in the way of our having a good time. Bob was a S&P 500 guy from way back which was oddly out of place for an arb trader. Bob was smart and funny and could snap you in two if he wanted to. Luckily a friendly guy. I remember Bob telling me there were way too many nights at The Keg Mansion, so many in fact that Bob actually had a nameplate there...sort of a wall of fame thing I guess. Thats a whole lot of steaks and drinks Bob...haha Ah, memories! I am hoping I get to see Bob at our reunion. That's right Bob, I'm talking to you buddy!

Larry Hoes
Larry was a good friend of mine for a long long time on the floor. When I first started on the floor a whole lot of guys thought Larry was kind of a dick and he didn't have too many friends. To be fair to Larry he was good friends with Mark Grimes, Jeff Gamble and myself. He was very hard to get to know, a very 'to himself', arrogant kind of guy, dying to be accepted by the 'in' crowd. He never was. Larry was always a smart guy and we had some great conversations. Great memories from Kensington Market, the St. Lawrence Market and endless bargain hunts. He was a driven capitalist. He traded client orders for Burns but wasn't much of a trader as I recall. His specialty however, was in the office and management. Not Burns office however because they fired him over something that probable litigation prevents me from going into. Larry went on to New York where he teamed up with a questionable wierd grey area character that I never liked or thought too much of. Larry went on to made his fortune in 'hedge fund' heaven, and lost alot of it, in 'hedge fund' hell, if the rumors be true. But that all went kind of south for reasons that probable litigation prevent me from discussing. I do not believe that his company, Sharpe Capital Inc. is doing much business these days, for reasons...well, you get the point I'm sure. Larry is, I believe, alive and that is a good thing. I tried to contact Larry in Parry Sound where he has land and some real estate holdings but he did not respond to my fax, which was the only available technology my efforts were able to come up with for him. Just doing the hermit thing I guess.
The one thing that I most regret about my dealings with my former friend Larry was that I set him up with my good friend, Carm. She was totally wierded out by the guy, which I can't go into for the previously mentioned legal reasons. She forgave me but I didn't! Larry completely sandbagged me at McNeil Mantha. Et tu Brutus? Nice friend. He usurped my power within the Arb operation I had created there while I was in the hospital and laid up for 6 weeks. Did I mention, nice friend! Other than the money it cost me and the pain of being back stabbed by a 'friend', it was wonderful. I'm not so bitter anymore however because it got me to move to the Caribbean for 4 years, which was ubbelievable, and helped me develop my current career. So, thanks Larry...I guess. It also taught me that friend is just a word...and words are cheap. Betrayal and Larry are just words too! It is odd to see me keep using 'Larry' and 'friend' in the same sentencses. Wishful thinking I guess. Larry has gone through a lot of friends, like everyone he took from Toronto to New York, and a lot of wives. Oh well! When you have the dough, you can always buy more friends I guess. Larry was never one to let friendship get in the way of his career. When Larry was getting married to one of his wives he invited me up to Parry Sound, to the wedding on his island property. I didn't go. He never forgave me. Get over it! She divorced him and so did I.

Pier Donnini
When Pier, pronounced 'Pierre', started on the floor he was an open book. A very young impressionable spirited guy with a good, if mildly depressed, attitude to life. The depression part is from Pier, not from me. He was ok at his job, certainly nothing special, which seems really wierd considering the executive position he would later go on to hold with Yorkton. He played keyboards in a band with some friends of mine and myself, mostly because I just convinced him he could. You see, he didn't play keyboards but was up to the challenge none the less. That did take some kohones! Ok, I know. We did Brian Adams songs. Come on, it was the 80's! It was great fun and I am glad Pier was with me to share in the experience.
Pier was a good friend for awhile, but when he didn't need too much more from our relationship, he abandoned least I think he did. I was kind of the same way myself, so I don't have the luxury of being judgemental. Pier went on to become an executive wheel of some note and prestiege with Yorkton Securities, which was absolutely shocking to me. Not because I didn't think he could attain such a position, only that he did. He was, unfortunately front and center in the ultimate demise of that operation. You probably remember him for such courageous but career killing moves as taking on the Ontario Securities Commission...! Ouch, Ouch!
According to my spies Pier is currently the owner of an eatery and watering hole in Port Elgin or where ever that long weekend biker spot is. I informed Pier of this reunion, but because of the huge OSC publicity and accompanying crap that goes with it, he has had to suffer, he might not allow himself to come to this little reunion. I know it was tough for me when I got burned at McNeil Mantha, so I would understand. Those kind of wounds run deep. I hope he does come and I hope we can work out our differences... whatever they are. Good luck with the planning commission Piergeorgio.

In Conclusion and a Eulogy

Although one of the last two people I mentioned, in my humble opinion and based on my very personal experience, was of questionable character as a friend, and one just drifted out of friendship with me (I am sure you can tell which) something that was proved to me is that Larry was indeed the exception to the rule. That considered, it has been my absolute pleasure to have been associated with this fine group of people...these 'floor' people...traders and staff. The friends I have made far outnumber the idiots I have known by a huge margin, which is not the norm in the 'real world'. We hardly ever had to be in the real world. Our world was a more protected, more elite environment. Our world was a little more secretive and mysterious. Our world and our lives were definately more exciting than the 'real world' and average lives in it. Our world was always very rewarding and we always felt just a little better about ourselves because of the nature of our world.
My career as a Floor Trader on the Toronto Stock Exchange trading floor was more than just a job to me. It truely was a way of life. We were the foot soldiers in the never ending war that is the securities industry. This war takes few prisioners and the casualties are many and varied. We were in the trenches and on the front lines of the Canadian business world. We were warriors, without a war. We were a culture on to ourselves. There was no work like it. There was no atmosphere like it. There were no people like floor people. Truely, there was no life like it.
All of that is gone now. Chewed up and spit out like so many other casualties of the computerized trading world of today. Today the trading world is a spirit killing office devoid of personality and truely a more heartless and hostile territory. Who's to blame? Well, the short answer is WE are to blame. We fighters who put up NO fight of consequence. We dreamers who were incapable of seeing the value of the situation we were in. We loud mouths who were too afraid to speak up when it meant the most. We just allowed the bean counters and bankers come in and use us to create our own ultimate demise. It is probably difficult for many of us to agree on where or when it all went wrong but we all know that we did indeed let it happen. The Toronto Stock Exchange is dead. The Floor Trader is dead. The culture that was the 'floor' is dead. The only question remaining is...will we allow it to be buried?

Well...will we?