Re-purposed Arenas - Maple Leaf Gardens


In this series we take a look at some of hockey's former arenas that have dodged the wrecking ball and taken on a new life.

This time we are taking a look at the Historic Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. This historic arena was built in 1931 as a replacement for the Toronto Maple Leafs' rather small Arena Gardens. The old arena only seated 7,500 for hockey, a number which would nearly double to 14,500 in the new arena when including standing room areas. 

Maple Leaf Gardens housed the Leafs from 1931 to 1999 before being replaced by their current home, the Air Canada Centre. While this could have been the end of this legendary building, it was only the beginning of a new chapter.

Courtesy of NHL.com


The Leafs had no interest in selling the facility to anyone that might try to directly compete with Air Canada Centre, and subsequently turned down offers from an OHL owner. After many other proposals, the final decision would be made to split the facility in one of the most unique and challenging ways. 



Today Maple Leaf Gardens continues to operate as a hockey arena in the upper half, several stories above what was once the floor for the Maple Leafs. The building's iconic ceiling is still intact and the arena has never looked better. 
Courtesy of betweenthepipes.ca


As for the lower level... Believe it or not, the old rink floor is now Loblaws, a large grocery store. While it may seem that all is lost of what was once center ice, there is still one reminder of this historic location. A 12 inch red circle marks the location of the old center ice dot, right in the middle of one of the store's many aisles.

courtesy of RRafson

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3 comments:

Shawn Jones said...

"1991"? You meant to say "1999", right?

DTC said...

Fixed! Thanks!

Predsboy18 said...

I actually visited there last week, and to see it in person was breathtaking. I'm glad that it's still around for future generations.