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ERA Architects


Maple Leaf Gardens marquee restoration

by ERA Architects

The very public face of the on-going Maple Leaf Gardens adaptive reuse project was installed this morning. The restored marquee recreates the historic character of the iconic building signage, which was in place for decades. It was a recognized priority for both Loblaws and Ryerson to honour and evoke the rich and varied history of the former arena, which is also a National Historic Site.

Conn Smythe (fourth from left) in front of the historic marquee, 195-. Toronto Archives f1257_s1057_it7469.

The original canopy from 1931 did not include the lightbox above (which was added in the following decade), and the marquee has been subsequently modified numerous times over the life of the building. It was decided in consultation with municipal staff from Heritage Preservation Services to restore the signature element to it’s iconic, longest-running version; the one which is most clearly defined in the public consciousness. ERA is proud to have been so closely involved in the design and direction of the restoration process. More photographs after the break..


The ‘as-found’ condition of the modern marquee at the start of the project.

The original drawings from 1931 helped us to get a better understanding of the structural steel design, and of the subtle ornamental metal-work elements such as the horizontal banding (in profile, at left) and octagonal window drops (far right).

The original custom font was painstakingly recreated from historic photographs.


The soffit lighting was restored to the historic round fixtures in a staggered pattern.



We had hoped that beneath the modern overcladding some of the original metalwork details would have remained, but unfortunately these had all been cut off at the time of the previous renovation. These were all recreated from historic photographs and original drawings.


Stripping the marquee back to the bare structural steel allowed the team to replace deteriorated sections and reinforce old riveted joints which did not meet contemporary code requirements.



The restored marquee signage box installed.

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