Maple Leaf Gardens to get stimulus money to become supermarket-athletic center

The Canadian government has announced it’s contributing $20 million in stimulus money toward a $60 million reconstruction of Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens that’s either a “revitalization” or a “bittersweet” “extreme makeover,” depending on which paper you read. The 78-year-old Gardens, abandoned by the eponymous Maple Leafs in 1999, will get a Loblaws grocery store installed on the ground floor where the hockey ice used to be, while a new rink (plus volleyball and basketball courts) will be constructed up near the roof for use by Ryerson University, which is funding $20 million more of the project. Another $20 million needs to be raised by March 2011 to begin construction, or else the federal money gets withdrawn.

One comment on “Maple Leaf Gardens to get stimulus money to become supermarket-athletic center

  1. This is outrageous. Essentially this means that federal funds and money raised by the students of a public institution are being used to prop-up the largest grocery store chain in Canada — all because of its soon-to-be tangential association to hockey. Ironically, the publicly built Maple Leaf Gardens were privately sold to the Weston family under the proviso that it not be used as a hockey arena (less the Leafs be confronted with competition in this hockey mad under serviced town and province).

    The mystical ability of sport to persuade citizens to subsidize the rich (Galen Weston is one of the richest men in Canada) has now spread from simply convincing us to buy them new arenas to convincing us to renovate their old arenas into their new shopping complexes (providing they keep the old facade and sign that we liked so much).