Built in 1931, Maple Leaf Gardens quickly became a social and cultural hub in the city, and it is no overstatement to say that the wide variety of events held there over the ensuing decades influenced the cultural development of the nation. Best known as the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team from 1931 to 1999, the Gardens also hosted political rallies, large religious congregations and assemblies, military drills, and pageants. The large, clear-span arena provided the setting for every conceivable form of musical entertainment, from the Metropolitan Opera to Metallica. It was also the battleground for boxers, wrestlers and runners, and has hosted innumerable bicycle races, tennis matches, ice follies, basketball games, rodeos, ballets, bingos, and circuses. The building is widely acknowledged as a local and national landmark, and has been recognized as a National Historic Site. As part of the on-going Maple Leaf Gardens adaptive reuse project by Loblaws and Ryerson University, ERA is currently developing the Heritage Interpretation Plan to celebrate the rich history of the Gardens as a series of moments and stories distributed throughout both new owner spaces.
In doing our research and combing through the mountains of audio/visual content associated with the building from the past eighty years, we’ve come across some pretty amusing photographs. This is one of our favorites, found at the City of Toronto Archives. Who is … The Legionnaire Mystery Man?