As a member of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario’s young professionals group NextGen, I helped organize a heritage tour of Maple Leaf Gardens. I have fond memories of the building from when the Toronto Rock lacrosse team played there their first years (and the staggering lack of women’s washrooms!)
Scott Weir of E.R.A. Architects, the firm responsible for the heritage adaptive reuse of the Maple Leaf Gardens’ transformation in to the complex it is today, gave a terrific and informative tour. About 30 heritage professional and fans braved the nippy November weather to bask in a historied Toronto landmark.
Some of the original chairs were used to create a blue maple leaf – in honour of the arena’s namesake team. The diagonal zig-zagging line is a remnant of the original stairs – just one of the many examples whereby the original structure and use of the building was incorporated to the new design.
Maple Leaf Gardens still houses a rink! It’s in the exact spot of the original rink, just raised up a few storeys.
The tour was a great success. Just a few young and passionate volunteers working out how to make heritage accessible and enjoyable for a wider audience. Keep an eye out for our next event at our Facebook page, and follow @arconserve and #ACONextGen on twitter. Hope to see you at the next event!
Were you on our tour? What did you think? Is there a heritage building in your town you’d like to know more about? Are you interested in hosting a tour? Let us know!