Thursday, January 28, 2016

50 Year Old Maple Leaf Gardens Architectural Model

Harold Ballard and Mr. Allward, the architect, examine the model
A while back I wrote about a plan by Harold Ballard in the mid 1960's to expand Maple Leaf Gardens:

Recently I received an email from a reader/fellow collector who was interested in this article for one reason, he was the owner of the actual architectural model that Ballard had built in the 60's of the proposed expansion. Apparently Maclean acquired the model in 2000 just prior to the auction of many of Maple Leaf Gardens artifacts (I personally grabbed one of the Grey seats at this time). He tells me it was in relatively good condition but the Gardens "did not keep/store things well. It was very dusty and had the appearance of water damage." Maclean then proceeded to find an architectural model company to restore the model. It turned out that the owner of the company he chose was a huge Maple Leafs fan and was the sole person to work on the restoration, putting hundreds of hours into the project.

Looking at the great photos that he sent me, one can see that Maple Leaf Gardens could have had a potentially drastically different look if the plans had gone through. The interior additions had a slight Boston Garden feel to it with the distinctive staggered stacking of seating sections. 
Model with roof dome removed. 
The exterior presented the feel of the renovated Montreal Forum which would be done around the same time as the ill-fated Gardens reno.
Full model, pre-cleaning
Maclean went on to describe how the model is equipped with wires and batteries  for lighting inside the building that were no longer working. He was told the model would have to be disassembled in order to be re-wired up to modern standards. He opted not to go that route to keep the cost down. He did however have a new acrylic cover made to protect the model in the future and plans to proudly display it in his own Maple Leafs museum. He concluded by saying, "It should make for a rather interesting conversation piece, don't you think?" I certainly do.

Detail of the label of the model
Great view of the proposed overhang above Carlton Street
The iconic corner of Church and Carlton with the proposed overhang

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