December 1, 2009
The Friends of Maple Leaf Gardens was formed in early 2004 to help ensure the long term existence of The Gardens as a place to play hockey. Built in 1931, the Gardens served for almost 70 years as the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs until they moved to the Air Canada Centre.
As Friends it has been our hope any future use of the Gardens would be appropriate to its cultural and social importance. Our goal has been to help inform the public of opportunities and threats to the building.
We have recognized that it is unlikely that The Gardens will be home to a professional hockey team in the near future, but that does not mean that other appropriate uses might not emerge. In Toronto, the Gooderham and Worts complex at the south end of Parliament Street stood for years as an investment muddle facing demolition when a group of investors proposed to re-invent it as the Distillery District, giving the area vibrancy and an economically sustainable future.
Our efforts have not been successful. In May 2004 Toronto City Council approved an application by Loblaws to make the Gardens into a grocery Store. As described in Bulletin No. 6 posted on this site, our attempts to retain an ice rink, including combining it with a Loblaws store, have been unsuccessful.
As of mid-September 2004, as a group The Friends has generally become inactive since we believe the bad decisions have been made and they seem irreversible. Thank you for your interest in the Gardens. Advice on contacting the Mayor or Loblaws is found on our Action page.
To contact the Friends, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org