I stumbled across these great photos in a Maple Leaf Gardens program I recently picked up. The book is from opening night of the 1965/66 campaign and has this fantastic look at the annual Maple Leaf Gardens open house which took place on Saturday, September 25, 1965.
From 10am to 10pm that day some 25,000 folks filed through the home of the Maple Leafs for a look behind the scenes. Above is a great shot of the Gardens lobby area as people wait to get into the arena itself. For a small donation, the fans got into the building as well as a free Shopsy hot dog, Coke and ice-cream bar. All funds raised went toward the Hospital for Sick Children Building Fund. Below Leaf president Stafford Smythe is shown depositing a cheque of $50,000 for the fund on behalf of the Maple Leaf Gardens directors.
Even the Maple Leaf dressing was open for inspection by the adoring fans. Below, Leaf P.R. man Ed Fitkin along with Esso spokesman Murray Westgate point out highlights of the building to fans seated in the stands.
Full access really was given to the public as shown above and below. Note the now highly collectable Maple Leaf calendar pinned up in the top-left photo. Yes, I have a few of them in my collection. We see the television studio of the day at the bottom-left and of great interest on the bottom-right is a proposed model of an expanded Maple Leaf Gardens. I'll certainly have to dig into that one a bit more.