Regardless of what anyone wanted to have happen or not happen to the grand old lady of hockey, she officially reopened her doors today as a massive Loblaws at the corner of Carlton and Church. Even though the once venerated arena is now a grocery store, that does not mean that the presence of the Maple Leafs is gone from the building. As a University of Toronto student with way too much time between classes, I ventured down to the arena to take a look at how the team is represented in the newly reopened building. Pics are after the jump.
Upon entering the store from the Carlton and Church entrance, on the wall to the right is a maple leaf constructed from seats from the blue section of the gardens.
viewed from the second level.
The ice level part of the store is split into two distinct sections, an artisan bakery/gourmet section, where the logo made from seats is the only nod to the former use of the building and, on the other side of the 18 foot wall of cheese, the grocery store where the history is better acknowledged. The support beams of the grocery store side are decorated with prints commemorating momentousness occasions that took place at the gardens, such as the grand opening, the first NHL All-Star Game, Western Conference Finals 1993 Game 7 and this.
In the middle of aisle 25, as pointed out by thenumber14 in the FTB, is the centre of the hockey universe, the original location of centre ice.
The mural commemorating the history of Maple Leaf Gardens, which was present in the concourse from 1994-1999 did not survive the renovations to the building. Instead it was photographed before its destruction and recreated at the same location it once graced.