Maple Leaf Gardens – Toronto’s Iconic Cathedral of Hockey

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2021 - The south facade and main entrance to Maple Leaf Gardens
2021 – The south facade and main entrance to Maple Leaf Gardens

Maple Leaf Gardens is located at ‪50 Carlton St‬ (at Church St on the northwest corner), in the Church and Wellesley neighbourhood of downtown Toronto.

Architecture of Maple Leaf Gardens

Known as one of the “cathedrals of hockey,” this landmark was built in 1931 by Toronto Maple Leaf owner Conn Smythe. He hired the Montreal-based architectural firm of Ross & Macdonald, as well as associate architects Mackenzie Waters and Jack Ryrie, to design the building. Constructed during the Great Depression, the rectangular-shaped structure took a record-breaking five months and 12 days to build at a cost of $1.5 million (1931 value).

1950s - Looking northwest towards Maple Leaf Gardens at Carlton St and Church St in the Church and Wellesley neighbourhood of Toronto
1950s – Looking northwest towards Maple Leaf Gardens at Carlton St and Church St in the Church and Wellesley neighbourhood of Toronto (Toronto Public Library R-3834)

The 6-storey arena had seating for over 12,400 spectators. Combining Art Moderne and Art Deco styles, The Gardens are clad in yellow brick with stone trim and banding. The landmark features stepped corners and a metal sash, crowned with a great dome and lantern. The massive arched ceiling rises 15 stories in the centre. A steel truss system supports the domed roof on four comer piers, giving spectators unobstructed views without interior column supports.

Other architectural elements of the historic structure include vertical strip windows with stone spandrels, simple geometric shapes carved into stone, three flagpoles at the roofline and the iconic “MAPLE LEAF GARDENS” marquee.

Circa 1960 – A game between Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Black Hawks at Maple Leaf Gardens. The Leaf's goalie is Johnny Bower, who started playing with the Leafs in 1958 and Eric Nesterenko (No. 15) for Chicago
Circa 1960 – A game between Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Black Hawks at Maple Leaf Gardens. The Leaf’s goalie is Johnny Bower, who started playing with the Leafs in 1958 and Eric Nesterenko (No. 15) for Chicago (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 7529)

The Toronto Maple Leafs

The Gardens was home to the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1931 to 1999. They won 11 of their 13 Stanley Cups there. The first and last games played there were against the Chicago Blackhawks. It was also where “Hockey Night in Canada” with Foster Hewitt began. The feisty Harold Ballard was once the owner of the Leafs and Maple Leaf Gardens.

The Leafs and the Stanley Cup

The Toronto Maple Leafs won their last Stanley Cup at The Gardens on May 2, 1967. The final series was against the Montreal Canadiens. It was the last season with the Original Six.

  • Toronto won the series in the 6th game with a score of 3:1
  • Ron Ellis scored the first goal for the Leafs
  • Jim Pappin scored the second game-winning goal
  • George Armstrong scored the third goal in an empty-net
  • Terry Sawchuk was in goal and had 41 shots on goal
  • Dave Keon won the Conn Smythe Trophy
  • The average age of the Toronto team was 31
  • Johnny Bower was 42 years old when he won his 4th and final Stanley Cup
  • Dick Duff scored the single goal for Montreal

Toronto Captain: George Armstrong
Toronto Coach: Punch Imlach
Toronto Players included: George Armstrong, Bob Pulford (A), Allan Stanley (A), Bob Baun, Johnny Bower, Brian Conacher, Ron Ellis, Larry Hillman, Tim Horton, Larry Jeffrey, Red Kelly, Dave Keon, Frank Mahovlich, Jim Pappin, Marcel Pronovost, Terry Sawchuk, Eddie Shack, Pete Stemkowski, Mike Walton, Aut Erickson, Milan Marcetta

Montreal Captain: Jean Béliveau
Montreal Coach: Toe Blake
Montreal Players included: Ralph Backstrom, Dave Balon, Jean Béliveau, Yvan Cournoyer, Dick Duff, John Ferguson, Terry Harper, Ted Harris, Jacques Laperriere, Claude Larose, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Jimmy Roberts, Leon Rochefort, Bobby Rouseau, Jean-Guy Talbot, Gilles Tremblay, JC Tremblay, Rogie Vachon, Gump Worsley

Concerts & Events at The Gardens

1950s - Fat's Domino on stage at Maple Leaf Gardens
1950s – Fat’s Domino on stage at Maple Leaf Gardens (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 7208)

The National Historic Site of Canada wasn’t just for hockey. It was also home to other sporting events like boxing (including the 1966 15-round match between Muhammed Ali and George Chuvalo), ice skating, wrestling, and basketball, as well as concerts, circus performances, operas, and political events. Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Fats Domino, Aerosmith, Madonna, Elton John and AC/DC are just a few of the music legends that played there.

Loblaws & the Restoration

In 2004, Loblaw Companies Limited purchased the Toronto gem, and in 2009, renovations began. Conservation experts, ERA Architects, were hired to direct the restoration. The roof, rafters and exterior were preserved. Completed in 2012, there was extensive masonry work, the industrial heritage windows were replaced, lighting fixtures were preserved, and the Carlton St marquee was restored. Today, this historic building is home to Loblaws on the main level.

Mattamy Athletic Centre

On the upper levels of the historic structure is Toronto Metropolitan University’s (formerly Ryerson University) Mattamy Athletic Centre. There’s a basketball/volleyball court with seating for 1,200 people and a fitness centre, and under the original domed roof is an NHL-sized hockey rink with over 2,500 seats.

Did You Know?

  • The architectural team of Ross & Macdonald also had significant roles in designing a few other Toronto landmarks, including the Fairmont Royal York Hotel and Union Station.
  • The original structure had over 750,000 bricks, 2006 m3 or 850,000 board feet of lumber, and 22.5 km or 14 miles of underground piping to keep the ice surface cold.
  • The steel truss roof was made by the Dominion Bridge Company of Montreal. They also manufactured the 3-point turntable bridge at the John Street Roundhouse.
  • Sports reporters nicknamed Maple Leaf Gardens the “Carlton Street Cash Box.”
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs moved to the Air Canada Centre, now Scotiabank Arena, in 1999.
  • Center ice is still visible in Loblaws.
  • Maple Leaf Gardens received heritage status from the city in 1974 and from the province in 1990, and the treasure became a National Historic Site of Canada in 2007.
  • The Stanley Cup, other major NHL trophies and much more are on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame, in the historic Bank of Montreal building at 30 Yonge St and Front St W.
  • The marquee at the main entrance of Toronto Metropolitan University’s Mattamy Athletic Centre, which still bears the name “Maple Leaf Gardens,” is the only remaining label that harks back to the building’s past.

Maple Leaf Gardens Photos

1950s - Looking northwest towards Maple Leaf Gardens at Carlton St and Church St in the Church and Wellesley neighbourhood of Toronto
1950s – Looking northwest towards Maple Leaf Gardens at Carlton St and Church St in the Church and Wellesley neighbourhood of Toronto (Toronto Public Library R-3834)
2021 - Maple Leaf Gardens is located in downtown Toronto's Church and Wellesley neighbourhood at ‪50 Carlton St‬ at Church St on the northwest corner. Today, home to Loblaws and Mattamy Athletic Centre
2021 – Maple Leaf Gardens is located in downtown Toronto’s Church and Wellesley neighbourhood at ‪50 Carlton St‬ at Church St on the northwest corner. Today, home to Loblaws and Mattamy Athletic Centre
February 2024 – The ice rink at Toronto Metropolitan University's Mattamy Athletic Centre, located inside Maple Leaf Gardens. The rink is on the upper level and offers a great view of the building’s domed roof
February 2024 – The ice rink at Toronto Metropolitan University’s Mattamy Athletic Centre, located inside Maple Leaf Gardens. The rink is on the upper level and offers a great view of the building’s domed roof
1931 - The construction of Maple Leaf Gardens
1931 – The construction of Maple Leaf Gardens (photo taken at Toronto Metropolitan University’s Mattamy Athletic Centre inside Maple Leaf Gardens)
2021 – The old  blue seats from the former Maple Leaf Gardens in an art display at Loblaws
2021 – The old blue seats from the former Maple Leaf Gardens in an art display at Loblaws
1960 - Looking northwest toward Maple Leaf Gardens
1960 – Looking northwest toward Maple Leaf Gardens (Archives of Ontario I0005729)
2021 - Centre ice in aisle 25 at Loblaw's, in the former Maple Leaf Gardens
2021 – Centre ice in aisle 25 at Loblaw’s, in the former Maple Leaf Gardens
1962 – Toronto Maple Leaf player George Armstrong
1962 – Toronto Maple Leaf player George Armstrong (photo taken at Toronto Metropolitan University’s Mattamy Athletic Centre inside Maple Leaf Gardens)
May 2, 1967 - Toronto was awarded the Stanley Cup, seen with veteran centre George Armstrong, after winning the final playoff game against the Montreal Canadiens in Maple Leaf Gardens
May 2, 1967 – Toronto was awarded the Stanley Cup, seen with veteran centre George Armstrong, after winning the final playoff game against the Montreal Canadiens in Maple Leaf Gardens (Library and Archives Canada/Centennial Commission Fonds e011195951)
1960 - Audience at the Biggest Show of Stars for 1960 at Maple Leaf Gardens
1960 – Audience at the Biggest Show of Stars for 1960 at Maple Leaf Gardens (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 7245)
1957 - Elvis Presley on a table answering questions from journalists at a press conference after his performance at Maple Leaf Gardens
1957 – Elvis Presley on a table answering questions from journalists at a press conference after his performance at Maple Leaf Gardens (Library and Archives Canada/John Sebert Fonds e011052488)
2021 - A pillar in the Loblaw's store showing when Elvis Presley performed at Maple Leaf Gardens on April 2, 1957
2021 – A pillar in the Loblaw’s store showing when Elvis Presley performed at Maple Leaf Gardens on April 2, 1957
April 16, 1949 - Toronto Maple Leafs Captain Ted "Teeder" Kennedy accepts the cup from Clarence Campbell. Toronto won the series against the Detroit Red Wings in 4 games at Maple Leaf Gardens
April 16, 1949 – Toronto Maple Leafs Captain Ted “Teeder” Kennedy accepts the cup from Clarence Campbell. Toronto won the series against the Detroit Red Wings in 4 games at Maple Leaf Gardens (City of Toronto Archives, Globe and Mail Fonds, Fonds 1266, Item 132796)
February 10, 2024 – This row of red seats is on the second level of the Toronto Metropolitan University's Mattamy Athletic Centre. It marks where the original “reds” were located in Maple Leaf Gardens, which were once above the “golds”
February 10, 2024 – This row of red seats is on the second level of the Toronto Metropolitan University’s Mattamy Athletic Centre. It marks where the original “reds” were located in Maple Leaf Gardens, which were once above the “golds”
April 16, 1949 - Toronto Maple Leafs scoring the 3rd goal against the Detroit Red Wings during a Stanley Cup playoff game at Maple Leaf Gardens
April 16, 1949 – Toronto Maple Leafs scoring the 3rd goal against the Detroit Red Wings during a Stanley Cup playoff game at Maple Leaf Gardens (City of Toronto Archives, Globe and Mail Fonds, Fonds 1266, Item 132792)
Between 1984 and 1987 - Maple Leaf Gardens at Carlton St and Church St also notice Doug Laurie sporting goods once located inside The Gardens
Between 1984 and 1987 – Maple Leaf Gardens at Carlton St and Church St also notice Doug Laurie sporting goods once located inside The Gardens (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1465, File 426, Item 16)
1955 - Crowds on new escalators at Maple Leaf Gardens
1955 – Crowds on new escalators at Maple Leaf Gardens (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 7446)
February 25, 2024 – The Toronto Maple Leafs Mural can be found in the Loblaws grocery store in Maple Leaf Gardens. The mural reads “Bill Barilko's Blow That Beat Canadiens,” which refers to Bill Barilko's famous winning goal against the Montreal Canadiens on April 21, 1951, winning the Leafs the Stanley Cup (Artist - John Richmond - 1926-2013)
February 25, 2024 – The Toronto Maple Leafs Mural can be found in the Loblaws grocery store in Maple Leaf Gardens. The mural reads “Bill Barilko’s Blow That Beat Canadiens,” which refers to Bill Barilko’s famous winning goal against the Montreal Canadiens on April 21, 1951, winning the Leafs the Stanley Cup (Artist – John Richmond – 1926-2013)
April 16, 1949 - Spiff Evans pouring champagne into the Stanley Cup
April 16, 1949 – Spiff Evans pouring champagne into the Stanley Cup (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 3015)
Between 1940 and 1960 - Cleaning the ice at Maple Leaf Gardens
Between 1940 and 1960 – Cleaning the ice at Maple Leaf Gardens (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 2439a)
May 5, 1977 - Looking west along Carlton St towards Maple Leaf Stadium and Eaton's College Street store in the background
May 5, 1977 – Looking west along Carlton St towards Maple Leaf Stadium and Eaton’s College Street store in the background (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 93, Item 6)
1978 - King Clancy on the ice at Maple Leaf Gardens
1978 – King Clancy on the ice at Maple Leaf Gardens (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 8865)
1969 - Irvine Ace Bailey of the Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey Club  in his office at The Gardens
1969 – Irvine Ace Bailey of the Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey Club in his office at The Gardens (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 2370)
1970s - Darryl Sittler and Rosemarie for the March of Dimes at Maple Leaf Gardens
1970s – Darryl Sittler and Rosemarie for the March of Dimes at Maple Leaf Gardens (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 4253)
Circa 1960 – A game between Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Black Hawks at Maple Leaf Gardens. The Leaf's goalie is Johnny Bower, who started playing with the Leafs in 1958 and Eric Nesterenko (No. 15) for Chicago
Circa 1960 – A game between Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Black Hawks at Maple Leaf Gardens. The Leaf’s goalie is Johnny Bower, who started playing with the Leafs in 1958 and Eric Nesterenko (No. 15) for Chicago (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 7529)
1972 - Looking northwest towards Maple Leaf Gardens at Carlton St Church St. Notice Doug Laurie sporting goods once located inside The Gardens
1972 – Looking northwest towards Maple Leaf Gardens at Carlton St Church St. Notice Doug Laurie sporting goods once located inside The Gardens (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 2032, Series 841, File 51, Item 30)
April 21, 2024 – Maple Leaf Gardens was built in 1931 by Toronto Maple Leaf owner Conn Smythe
April 21, 2024 – Maple Leaf Gardens was built in 1931 by Toronto Maple Leaf owner Conn Smythe
2024 - The cornerstone is on the south façade at Maple Leaf Gardens on Carlton St
2024 – The cornerstone is on the south façade at Maple Leaf Gardens on Carlton St
1960s - Liberace on stage at Maple Leaf Gardens
1960s – Liberace on stage at Maple Leaf Gardens (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 3402)
1967 - Frankie Avalon at The Gardens
1967 – Frankie Avalon at The Gardens (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 7255)
1950s - Fat's Domino on stage at Maple Leaf Gardens
1950s – Fat’s Domino on stage at Maple Leaf Gardens (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 7208)
April 30, 1956 - Bill Haley and the Comets at The Gardens
April 30, 1956 – Bill Haley and the Comets at The Gardens (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 7214)
1950s - Conn Smythe (centre) and others in front of Maple Leaf Gardens
1950s – Conn Smythe (centre) and others in front of Maple Leaf Gardens (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 7473)
February 10, 2024 – Maple Leaf Gardens was built in 1931 by Toronto Maple Leaf owner Conn Smythe
February 10, 2024 – Maple Leaf Gardens was built in 1931 by Toronto Maple Leaf owner Conn Smythe
1950s - Sonny Fox and Harold Ballard at Maple Leaf Gardens
1950s – Sonny Fox and Harold Ballard at Maple Leaf Gardens (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 3038)
1950s - Ice show performers with Toronto Maple Leafs players
1950s – Ice show performers with Toronto Maple Leafs players (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 6828)
1950s - Two men pointing at a sign in the Toronto Maple Leafs dressing room
1950s – Two men pointing at a sign in the Toronto Maple Leafs dressing room (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 7447)
1950s - Toronto Maple Leafs, including Tim Horton, Carl Brewer, Bert Olmstead and an Ice Capades performer with a broken leg at The Gardens
1950s – Toronto Maple Leafs, including Tim Horton, Carl Brewer, Bert Olmstead and an Ice Capades performer with a broken leg at The Gardens (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 6756)
April 12, 1955 - Concession booth and stairs to the Grey seats at Maple Leaf Gardens
April 12, 1955 – Concession booth and stairs to the Grey seats at Maple Leaf Gardens (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 7426)
1955 - A crowd at the opening ceremony for the new escalators at Maple Leaf Gardens
1955 – A crowd at the opening ceremony for the new escalators at Maple Leaf Gardens (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 7445)
Circa 1955 - Testing out the new escalators at The Gardens
Circa 1955 – Testing out the new escalators at The Gardens (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 7457)
1950s - Converting Maple Leaf Gardens into an opera house for Metropolitan Opera
1950s – Converting Maple Leaf Gardens into an opera house for Metropolitan Opera (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 6901)
1950s - A Metropolitan Opera concert at Maple Leaf Gardens
1950s – A Metropolitan Opera concert at Maple Leaf Gardens (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 6938)
April 12, 1955 - Refreshment stand at The Gardens
April 12, 1955 – Refreshment stand at The Gardens (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 7423)
January 16, 1946 - The first time basketball was played in Maple Leaf Gardens. Two games were played that evening: the University of Toronto Blues played the University of Western Ontario Mustangs, followed by the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons versus the Rochester Royals
January 16, 1946 – The first time basketball was played in Maple Leaf Gardens. Two games were played that evening: the University of Toronto Blues played the University of Western Ontario Mustangs, followed by the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons versus the Rochester Royals (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 7523)
1940s - Circus trapeze artists at The Gardens
1940s – Circus trapeze artists at Maple Leaf Gardens (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 7354)
February 1, 1946 - Ice follies at The Gardens
February 1, 1946 – Ice follies at The Gardens (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 6636)
June 26, 1931 - Looking northwest toward the construction of Maple Leaf Gardens and laying track at Carlton St and Church St
June 26, 1931 – Looking northwest toward the construction of Maple Leaf Gardens and laying track at Carlton St and Church St (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 8654)
Circa 1934 - Looking northeast towards Maple Leaf Gardens and its massive dome with a lantern on Carlton St
Circa 1934 – Looking northeast towards Maple Leaf Gardens and its massive dome with a lantern on Carlton St (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 3185)
2021 - The south facade and main entrance to Maple Leaf Gardens
2021 – The south facade and main entrance to Maple Leaf Gardens
2021 - A pillar in Loblaw's showing closing night date at Maple Leaf Gardens on February 13, 1999
2021 – A pillar in Loblaw’s showing closing night date at Maple Leaf Gardens on February 13, 1999
2021 - A pillar in Loblaw's showing the bout between Muhammad Ali and George Chuvalo at Maple Leaf Gardens on March 29, 1966
2021 – A pillar in Loblaw’s showing the bout between Muhammad Ali and George Chuvalo at Maple Leaf Gardens on March 29, 1966
March 29, 1966 - Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) defeated Toronto’s George Chuvalo in 15 rounds at Maple Leaf Gardens
March 29, 1966 – Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) defeated Toronto’s George Chuvalo in 15 rounds at Maple Leaf Gardens (photo taken at Toronto Metropolitan University’s Mattamy Athletic Centre inside Maple Leaf Gardens)
Before 1980 -  Tommy Nayler was the the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey club equipment man from 1931 to 1981
Before 1980 – Tommy Nayler was the the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey club equipment man from 1931 to 1981 (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 3840)
2021 - A photo on display at Loblaw's, formerly Maple Leaf Gardens
2021 – A photo on display at Loblaw’s, formerly Maple Leaf Gardens
January 2023 – Looking west under the Carlton St marquee at Maple Leaf Gardens. On the upper levels of the historic structure is Toronto Metropolitan University's (formerly Ryerson University) Mattamy Athletic Centre
January 2023 – Looking west under the Carlton St marquee at Maple Leaf Gardens. On the upper levels of the historic structure is Toronto Metropolitan University’s (formerly Ryerson University) Mattamy Athletic Centre
1978 - Dave “Tiger” Williams signing an autograph for Greg Crombie at Maple Leaf Gardens Gardens
1978 – Dave “Tiger” Williams signing an autograph for Greg Crombie at Maple Leaf Gardens Gardens (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 8857)
July 5, 1956 - Wrestling match between Dick Hutton and Whipper Billy Watson at Maple Leaf Gardens. Watson defended his National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship against Hutton
July 5, 1956 – Wrestling match between Dick Hutton and Whipper Billy Watson at Maple Leaf Gardens. Watson defended his National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship against Hutton (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 7520)
2021 – The heritage plaque reads: Maple Leaf Gardens "Foster Hewitt exclaimed "He shoots! He scores!" during the national broadcasts of many of hockey's most exciting moments in this shrine to Canada's game. The country's largest arena when it was built in 1931, it was home to the Toronto Maple Leafs for 68 years and was a major venue for other sporting events, political rallies, religious services, and concerts. From the Metropolitan Opera to The Beatles, Winston Churchill to John Diefenbaker and Pierre Trudeau, and the 1972 Summit Series to the Ali-Chuvalo title fight, the Gardens played host to celebrities and major events and holds a special place in Canada's popular culture." Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada and Parks Canada
2021 – The heritage plaque reads:

Maple Leaf Gardens

“Foster Hewitt exclaimed “He shoots! He scores!” during the national broadcasts of many of hockey’s most exciting moments in this shrine to Canada’s game. The country’s largest arena when it was built in 1931, it was home to the Toronto Maple Leafs for 68 years and was a major venue for other sporting events, political rallies, religious services, and concerts. From the Metropolitan Opera to The Beatles, Winston Churchill to John Diefenbaker and Pierre Trudeau, and the 1972 Summit Series to the Ali-Chuvalo title fight, the Gardens played host to celebrities and major events and holds a special place in Canada’s popular culture.”

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada and Parks Canada
2021 – The heritage plaque reads:

Maple Leaf Gardens
 
“One of the most renowned arenas in the history of hockey, Maple Leaf Gardens was the largest facility of its type in Canada when it was constructed in 1931 for the Toronto Maple Leafs. To build it, the team's General Manager, Conn Smythe, secured a group of investors despite the Great Depression. The 700 construction workers, who completed the arena in just five months, received 20% of their pay in company shares. Designed by the architecture firm Ross and Macdonald, its brickwork emphasizes both horizontals and verticals, while trusses, rather than columns, created an unobstructed interior. 

The Gardens was home to the Toronto Maple Leafs for 68 years and hosted 19 Stanley Cup finals. Other sports were also staged here, including legendary boxing and wrestling matches. For decades, it was Canada's largest indoor venue for cultural, political, and religious events. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs moved to the Air Canada Centre in 1999. The iconic Maple Leaf Gardens was purchased by Ryerson University and Loblaw Companies Limited, which completed its conversion into a multi-use facility in 2012."

Designated under the Ontario Heritage Act
Heritage Toronto 2013
2021 – The heritage plaque reads:

Maple Leaf Gardens

“One of the most renowned arenas in the history of hockey, Maple Leaf Gardens was the largest facility of its type in Canada when it was constructed in 1931 for the Toronto Maple Leafs. To build it, the team’s General Manager, Conn Smythe, secured a group of investors despite the Great Depression. The 700 construction workers, who completed the arena in just five months, received 20% of their pay in company shares. Designed by the architecture firm Ross and Macdonald, its brickwork emphasizes both horizontals and verticals, while trusses, rather than columns, created an unobstructed interior.

The Gardens was home to the Toronto Maple Leafs for 68 years and hosted 19 Stanley Cup finals. Other sports were also staged here, including legendary boxing and wrestling matches. For decades, it was Canada’s largest indoor venue for cultural, political, and religious events.

The Toronto Maple Leafs moved to the Air Canada Centre in 1999. The iconic Maple Leaf Gardens was purchased by Ryerson University and Loblaw Companies Limited, which completed its conversion into a multi-use facility in 2012.”

Designated under the Ontario Heritage Act
Heritage Toronto 2013
2024 – The heritage plaque reads:

1972 Summit Series

“Here, at Maple Leaf Gardens, Game Two of this unprecedented eight-game hockey series was played on September 4, 1972. Marking the first encounter between top Canadian professional players and the Soviet Union's national team, the series aroused fervent passions in both countries as these two rivals, representing different styles of play, clashed on the ice. Millions of Canadians were riveted to their televisions, coming together to cheer for their team. In Moscow, Team Canada gained a dramatic come-from-behind series victory by scoring the winning goal with only 34 seconds left in the final game.”

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada and Parks Canada

The plaque is located at Maple Leaf Gardens, 50 Carlton St
2024 – The heritage plaque reads:

1972 Summit Series

“Here, at Maple Leaf Gardens, Game Two of this unprecedented eight-game hockey series was played on September 4, 1972. Marking the first encounter between top Canadian professional players and the Soviet Union’s national team, the series aroused fervent passions in both countries as these two rivals, representing different styles of play, clashed on the ice. Millions of Canadians were riveted to their televisions, coming together to cheer for their team. In Moscow, Team Canada gained a dramatic come-from-behind series victory by scoring the winning goal with only 34 seconds left in the final game.”

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada and Parks Canada
The plaque is located at Maple Leaf Gardens, 50 Carlton St
2021 – The heritage plaque reads:  

Toronto’s Basketball History  

"On November 1, 1946, at Maple Leaf Gardens, the Toronto Huskies and New York Knickerbockers played the first-ever game in the Basketball Association of America, a league created by hockey arena owners to fill seats between hockey games. The Huskies folded at the end of the first season and the BAA merged with a rival league to form the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1949.  

As basketball grew, NBA teams tested the Toronto market. During the 1970s, teams like the Cincinnati Royals, Los Angeles Lakers, and Buffalo Braves played at Maple Leaf Gardens. A failed plan to relocate the Cleveland Cavaliers here resulted in the creation of the short-lived Toronto Tornados of the Continental Basketball Association in 1983. 

In 1993, Toronto received an NBA expansion franchise and the Raptors entered the league in 1995. Until 1999, the team played at the SkyDome (later named the Rogers Centre). The Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors to win their first NBA title on June 13, 2019.  

Many Toronto-area players have excelled in the NBA, such as Jamaal Maglorie, Cory Joseph, Tristan Thompson, and Andrew Wiggens." 

Heritage Toronto 2019
2021 – The heritage plaque reads:

Toronto’s Basketball History

“On November 1, 1946, at Maple Leaf Gardens, the Toronto Huskies and New York Knickerbockers played the first-ever game in the Basketball Association of America, a league created by hockey arena owners to fill seats between hockey games. The Huskies folded at the end of the first season and the BAA merged with a rival league to form the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1949.

As basketball grew, NBA teams tested the Toronto market. During the 1970s, teams like the Cincinnati Royals, Los Angeles Lakers, and Buffalo Braves played at Maple Leaf Gardens. A failed plan to relocate the Cleveland Cavaliers here resulted in the creation of the short-lived Toronto Tornados of the Continental Basketball Association in 1983.

In 1993, Toronto received an NBA expansion franchise and the Raptors entered the league in 1995. Until 1999, the team played at the SkyDome (later named the Rogers Centre). The Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors to win their first NBA title on June 13, 2019.

Many Toronto-area players have excelled in the NBA, such as Jamaal Maglorie, Cory Joseph, Tristan Thompson, and Andrew Wiggens.”

Heritage Toronto 2019
1976 - The Wurlitzer organ was built in 1923 and installed in Shea's Hippodrome Theatre in Toronto. When the theatre closed in 1957, it was moved to Maple Leaf Gardens until 1964, then relocated to Casa Loma, where it is today. The photo shows an organist at the Gooderham & Worts dinner and dance at Casa Loma
1976 – The Wurlitzer organ was built in 1923 and installed in Shea’s Hippodrome Theatre in Toronto. When the theatre closed in 1957, it was moved to Maple Leaf Gardens until 1964, then relocated to Casa Loma, where it is today. The photo shows an organist at the Gooderham & Worts dinner and dance at Casa Loma (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 6183)
2019 - The plaque reads:

Casa Loma Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ

"This exceptional Organ was built in 1923 and installed in Shea's Hippodrome Theatre in Toronto at a cost of $55,000. With the demolition of the theatre in 1957 it was moved to Maple Leaf Gardens and enjoyed there until 1964.

To ensure against its destruction and discard, a dedicated group, the Toronto Theatre Organ Society, invested their personal finances, time and talent in rebuilding the Organ into the old organ chambers at Casa Loma. This work required three years to complete and a great deal of ingenuity and skill on their part.

The Kiwanis Club of West Toronto and the City of Toronto are also recognized for their part in the restoration of exceptional instrument. The inaugural concert at Casa Loma was given February 12, 1974 by Mr. Dennis James."

The plaque is located on the wall of the great hall in Casa Loma
2019 – The plaque reads:

Casa Loma Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ

“This exceptional Organ was built in 1923 and installed in Shea’s Hippodrome Theatre in Toronto at a cost of $55,000. With the demolition of the theatre in 1957 it was moved to Maple Leaf Gardens and enjoyed there until 1964.

To ensure against its destruction and discard, a dedicated group, the Toronto Theatre Organ Society, invested their personal finances, time and talent in rebuilding the Organ into the old organ chambers at Casa Loma. This work required three years to complete and a great deal of ingenuity and skill on their part.

The Kiwanis Club of West Toronto and the City of Toronto are also recognized for their part in the restoration of exceptional instrument. The inaugural concert at Casa Loma was given February 12, 1974 by Mr. Dennis James.”

The plaque is located on the wall of the great hall in Casa Loma
1953 - The Toronto City Directory showing the address and phone number of Maple Leaf Gardens
1953 – The Toronto City Directory showing the address and phone number of Maple Leaf Gardens (Toronto Public Library)
SOURCE

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