Inside the new Loblaws supermarket, traces of Maple Leaf Gardens history remain
By Feria Kazemi
The marquee outside Loblaws at the Gardens (Images: Feria Kazemi)
It was amazing to see a crowd outside the Maple Leaf Gardens again, probably for the first time in over a decade. Obviously, the crowd wasn’t there for the Maple Leafs, but for the opening of the new Loblaws yesterday.
While many were on hand to take in the 18-foot wall of cheese, order fresh sushi or indulge in meals prepared by 14 chefs, we were there to absorb the sights (or, what’s left of them) of the old Maple Leaf Gardens.
Although the exterior walls and roof are protected by a heritage building agreement with the city, the interior has been completely re-designed by Australia’s Landini Associates. The good thing is that there are plenty of touches of history left within the building. We take a look at them below.
1. The Maple Leaf sculpture
An art sculpture designed in the form of a maple leaf, situated near the front entrance, has been created from reclaimed stadium chairs.
2. Reclaimed light fixtures
Two light fixtures near the main entrance of the building are the actual light fixtures that illuminated the bowl of the Gardens from the '30s through to the '90s.
While the windows are brand new, they have been designed to replicate the type of window frames that were at the Gardens when the building first opened in 1931.
4. Canteen tables
Past events that were held at the Gardens have been commemorated in photographs displayed on canteen tables. Some of the events are paired with text, written by The Globe’s Stephen Brunt, to explain the history behind the images.
There are six columns that run through the grocery aisles. Each of these columns are four-sided and contain images and descriptions of heritage moments, events and celebrations that occurred at the Gardens.
6. Centre Ice
A red dot on aisle 25 commemorates what was once the actual location of centre ice.
7. Stencil fonts
Any stencil font that you see around the store is a replica of the stencil font that was found throughout the Gardens during the 20th century.
8. The John Richmond mural
While this mural is not the original one painted by John Richmond, it is an exact replica of it. Since the original mural could not be preserved, a photograph was taken of it and artists were commissioned to repaint it.
9. Original seats
For those hoping to relieve the Leafs glory days of the past, a row of original seats from the Gardens can be found right by the mural in the cafe.
10. The Marquee
This marquee is a duplicate of the one from 1941.