Welcome to Maple Leaf Gardens
Photographs and Memories from Canada’s Most Famous Arena
Explore the unseen Maple Leaf Gardens
Generations have come to marvel and celebrate spectacles of all kinds at Maple Leaf Gardens. With its soaring roof and massive walls, this iconic building tells a story with an unlikely beginning and an ending yet to be written. Built against all odds, in the grip of the Great Depression, the Gardens went on to host 2,533 hockey games, with the Toronto Maple Leafs’ final regular season record 1,215 wins, 768 losses, and 346 ties. When it closed in 1999, it was the last Original Six arena still standing and remains in use for hockey today as Ryerson University’s Mattamy Athletic Centre.
In Welcome to Maple Leaf Gardens, Graig Abel and Lance Hornby have composed a rare, stunning, and historically invaluable tribute to what many would consider the Mecca of Canadian sport. Abel’s years as the Maple Leafs’ photographer make him the perfect guide for sports fans, music lovers, and star-gazers. Readers will experience the building’s many innovative features from the rafters to the clock, from the rinkside gold seats right up to the greys, where the “real fans” sat. Alongside Abel’s humorous first-hand stories about Harold Ballard, Doug Gilmour, and the celebrities who frequented the Gardens, Hornby gives a press box perspective on covering the Leafs at the end of the Gardens’ eventful era and the building’s place in history.
Graig Abel is the official photographer of the Leafs, starting his 37th year in 2013-14. He’s a former player with the Streetsville Derbys Junior B team and grandson of Charles Abel, founder of the nation-wide photofinishing chain. He lives in Mississauga, Ontario.
Lance Hornby has been at the Toronto Sun since 1981, covering the Leafs and the NHL since 1986. He has written, edited, and contributed to six other hockey books, including The Story of Maple Leaf Gardens in 1999. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.