Jimmy Farmer is considered by many to be the greatest all-around athlete ever to attend Patterson Collegiate. A veteran of World War II, he held several important positions in the Canadian football community following his retirement from competitive sports.
Jimmy Farmer was born in Scotland, near Glasgow, on November 8, 1916.
At Patterson Collegiate, Farmer excelled at football, basketball, baseball, track and field, and swimming. At his alma mater, some of Farmer’s performances have become legendary. He is said to have once punted a football 104 yards in a WSSA regular season game against mid-town rival Kennedy Collegiate.
Farmer was a First-Team All-City selection in both basketball and football during his high school career, and he won the Junior “A” baseball championship in 1935.
He was also a noted track and field athlete, winning the 1934 WSSA Senior Individual championship and setting the WSSA discus record in 1935.
Later, at Assumption College, Farmer played on the 1935-36 Canadian Senior finalist basketball team.
Farmer, a natural athlete, was also an outstanding distance swimmer. He competed regularly at Windsor/Detroit swim meets and the CNE Marathon and was undefeated over a four-year span in the quarter-mile, half-mile, one-, two-, and eight-mile races.
Farmer attended the University of Western Ontario between 1936 and 1939. At Western, he continued to play multiple sports and won back-to-back CIAU Basketball Championships in 1937 and 1938. In football, the OQAA named Farmer, a fullback, an All-Star in 1938. He made the Canadian Press Intercollegiate All-Star team in the same year.
Out of university, Farmer played IRFU “Big Four” football with the Toronto Argonauts. During the 1939 season, his only year with the Argos, Farmer established himself as one of the best plunging backs in Canada. Farmer’s spell in Toronto came to a close with the dawn of World War II. He was called to serve five years in the Royal Canadian Navy, prematurely ending his football career.
Shortly after his return to civilian life, he replaced Hec Crighton as referee-in-chief for the OQAA. He served Canadian football for seven years from this important post. Farmer was also a member of the CIAU Football Rules Committee (from 1959 to 1975) and served as Editor and Rules Interpreter for the OQAA, OUAA, and CIAU Football Rule Book for 10 years.
In 1978, the University of Western Ontario named Farmer as one of the six original inductees to its “W” Club Athletic Hall of Fame.
Jimmy Farmer passed away on January 5, 1988.