Bulletin No. 5

November 2, 2008

Friends of Maple Leaf Gardens is a group dedicated to help protect the interior and exterior character of Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, a building which has played a significant role in the collective memory of many Canadians. Our web site is http://friendsofmapleleafgardens.ca .

In this issue:
1. City Council decides the fate of the Gardens at its June 22 meeting.
2. Contact the Mayor’s Office.
1. City Council decides the fate of the Gardens at its June 22 meeting
Toronto City Council will consider the future of Maple Leaf Gardens when it meets on Tuesday, June 22. (The meeting usually lasts three days and it is unclear exactly when the Gardens will be discussed.)

After the Preservation Board had given approval to converting the Gardens to a Loblaws store, the Toronto South Community Council followed suit on June 8. Only Councillor Joe Mihevc argued that the hockey should continue at the Gardens to preserve its heritage but no other councillor spoke in favour of this position and all the remaining members of the committee who were present voted to approve the Loblaws proposal.

It seems that the most likely opportunity for keeping the Gardens as a hockey rink will come if Mayor David Miller decides to take on this issue as something of importance, as indeed it is.

When the Mayor was recently in New York City he made the strongest comments we have yet heard regarding his vision of Toronto. “Ours is a city that is buzzing with ideas and energy, “ Miller said at a luncheon in New York. “It’s this energy that means the most to our future. We must rule out the possibility of half-measures and stop-gap solutions. We have to take chances. We have to believe that our city can be spectacular in ways that no one has yet imagined. We have to be unabashedly passionate and visionary in our ideas. For Toronto, `good enough’ simply is not good enough.”

Maple Leaf Gardens is a great place to enjoy hockey. If you’re looking for a great place to enjoy casino games, go to www.casinorating.ca.

Putting the future of Maple Leaf Gardens in the context of this vision seems like exactly the right thing for the Mayor to do. Grocery stores are a dime a dozen while Maple Leaf Gardens as a hockey rink is unique and famous throughout the world. It’s institutions like this that define the city, and it’s hard to imagine having a city council that denudes itself of its very significant landmarks.

This is an opportunity for the Mayor to step forward and ask City Council to buy some time to see if it is possible to find ways to keep the Gardens as a hockey rink, maybe even in a way which incorporates a food store without interfering with the ice rink which can serve a community, city-wide and regional group of users.

2. Contact the Mayor’s Office
It is critical that those interested in the Gardens as a continuing hockey rink contact the Mayor’s office at this time. This should be done by letter and/or email and by telephone.

The telephone number of the Mayor’s office is 416-397-2489. While you might ask to speak to the Mayor it is very unlikely you will be put through to him. In that case it may be useful to speak to his executive assistant Bruce Scott (direct line 416-338-7112) or the staff member dealing with this issue, Cara O’Hagan (direct line 416-338-7106).

The email address is mayor_miller@toronto.ca.

The postal address is: Mayor’s Office, Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen Street W., 2nd Floor, Toronto, ON M5H 2N2.

Obviously contact should be made before June 22.

If possible, please get four or five of your friends and colleagues to also contact the mayor’s office. Given the limited interest expressed by councillors to retaining the Gardens as a hockey rink, our opinion is that the mayor’s intervention is critical; however, those who wish to contact councillors should do so. Contact info can be found on the city’s web site, http:www.toronto.ca