November 15, 2013
by Canadian Architect
On November 14, 2013, Ryerson University, Loblaw Companies Ltd. and Heritage Toronto, along with their partners, unveiled a new historical plaque to be mounted on the former Maple Leaf Gardens, in recognition of the building’s heritage, recent restoration and historic presence as an important Toronto landmark.
“When you have all generations enjoying old memories and making new ones, that’s living heritage,” said Ryerson University President Sheldon Levy. “That’s been the beauty of this project from the start, how people in Toronto and beyond have taken so much pride and ownership. It’s an honour to thank the team: our great partner Loblaw, our students, the federal government, our benefactor Peter Gilgan, and the exceptional professionals who revered the building over the course of construction.”
“Built between April and November 1931, Maple Leaf Gardens was and remains a Toronto landmark,” said Heritage Toronto Board Member and Ryerson faculty member Dr. Ross Fair. “It was the site of political conventions, Stanley Cup victories, religious services, and musical acts as diverse as the city itself.”
In 2012, the building, a national historic site, reopened as a Loblaw retail space and Ryerson University’s Mattamy Athletic Centre, a 220,000-square-foot athletic and recreational centre with a fitness centre, multi-purpose gym and NHL-sized ice rink.
“This is a model site for the innovative repurposing of a heritage building, keeping its historical significance intact and maintaining its vital relationship to its community” said Ward 27 Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam.
In October, Ryerson University was recognized with an Award of Merit at the 39th Annual Heritage Toronto Awards, awarded for the restoration and adaptive reuse of Maple Leaf Gardens. Loblaw Companies Ltd. and Ryerson partnered on the project, which saw the original interior of Maple Leaf Gardens revitalized with a grocery store at street level and a student athletic centre above including an NHL-sized ice rink. Restoration work included extensive masonry remediation, steel window restoration and replication, and the restoration of the Carlton Street marquee with elements that followed the original design. Interpretive panels, murals and artwork are also integrated into both spaces to reflect the building’s remarkable heritage and history.
To date, the remarkable adaptive restoration of the building has been resulted in many commendations, including: 2012 Consulting Engineers of Ontario Award; 2012 Specialty Concrete Applications – Ontario Concrete Awards; 2012 Golden Trowel Concrete Award; 2012 Paul Oberman Award for Adaptive Reuse; 2013 Toronto Urban Design Award; 2013 Heritage Toronto Award of Merit; and it was named one of ESPN’s top 10 most historic North American stadiums.
maple leaf gardens building now houses ryerson's mattamy athletic centre and loblaws