Born: Toronto, Ontario in 1868. Died: Toronto, Ontario, January 8, 1932.
We will never really know how good a player Walter Thomson was. But by all the accounts in his time he was something very special. Thomson was born in Toronto in 1868, attended Upper Canada College, then Galt Collegiate Institute and finally the University of Toronto. He played for Canada against the United States in New Jersey in 1885 and captained the teams that went to Britain in 1888 and 1891. When his playing days were over he became the second President of the Ontario Soccer Association and served in that capacity in 1902, 1903 and 1904. He was also Honorary President in 1901 and 1909 and Honorary Vice-President from 1905 to 1908.
But it is on the field where he really made his mark. In his book "The Blue and White" a history of sport at the University of Toronto, T.A. Reed writes. "Among all there is none so worthy of mention as Watty Thomson. For several years the genial 'Watty' was the life and soul of Varsity Football. As a player, he was nothing less than a miracle of speed, accuracy and artfulness? as a centre forward he was a model of unselfishness and a phenomenal shot of goal? as a captain he was an inspiration and an ideal to his men. We never shall look upon his like again."
Writing in the Toronto Globe in January of 1892, William A. Ellis, the manager of the 1891 tour to Britain writes in Tour Manager's report. "Thomson was our best forward, and in fact our best man. When he first joined the team he played rather selfishly, but soon dropped this. At the time he left he was playing a perfect centre-forward game and one which could hardly be beaten by any player. At that time there were probably no two centre-forwards in England better than he. He could have played with either Bolton Wanderers or Preston North End had he chosen." This is one of several reports of his being offered contracts with Bolton and Preston.
Thomson played 25 games on the 1891 tour and scored 19 goals. The record for 1888 is incomplete but he played 21 games and scored at least 10 goals.
Around Ontario he always seemed to be in great demand. He played for the Western Football Association team in St. Louis in 1884, and in Fall River in 1887. He was in the Canadian team against the United States in an international in Aylmer, Ontario in May of 1888, and again in Berlin in June of 1891. He also played numerous games for all-star teams in the Caledonia Cup.
In addition to football Thomson was also a good hockey player and played on the 1892-93 team at the University of Toronto, while in 1893-94 he was the president of the hockey club. On retiring as a player he became a MD and practiced in Toronto for 35 years.