When I lived in Toronto I frequently walked around with my camera in hand. I had heard from a friend that Maple Leaf Gardens was still in existence so I went searching. I found it on Carlton and Church, right where it was years ago when I watch the Toronto Maple Leafs play. Back then I was visiting suppliers while working for one of the Big Three and was treated to a game or two. I remember entering the section through the same stairs the players used and not being able to see anything that happed at the other end of the ice.
Anyway, the Leafs play in the Air Canada Centre around the corner from my apartment and I never gave a thought to what happened to the old building.
It turns out the Canadian grocery chain Loblaws bought it in 2004 and, with some aid from the federal government, spent $60M (Canadian, of course) to convert it into a grocery store. It opened in 2011 and is part of the Ryerson University athletic complex.
I loved the logo made from seats from the old arena. The bare walls make me wonder where the $60 million went.
I like the idea of keeping the old building around. It’s part of the history of the city. It is a contrast to the decisions made in Detroit about the Joe Louis Arena. Now that the Red Wings have moved to their brand new digs in Little Caesar’s Arena developers want the land under the Joe and they don’t want the building. The deadline for the city of Detroit to begin demolition is May 2018. I guess when agreements are made during a city’s bankruptcy you can’t throw money at keeping a dilapidated building around for sentimental reasons.