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Better ways to be a fan: Be rich, help preserve history

Life-long Leafs fan Mike Wilson opened up his basement of Leafs history to Toronto Life magazine, and it's cooler than Dangle's vlog studio.

Toronto Life magazine

Some fans express their love for the franchise by booing former members of the team, but others express their devotion through more positive pursuits.

One life-long Leafs afficionado recently opened up his house to Toronto Life magazine, allowing them access to his carefully preserved collection of Maple Leafs memorabilia. Mike Wilson, Forest Hills resident and investment banker, has an entire finished basement room devoted to collected items that range from historic jerseys to actual seats from Maple Leaf Gardens.

Toronto Life magazine: A look inside Forest Hill’s secret basement Toronto Maple Leafs museum One item of note is the dressing room door from Maple Leaf Gardens, signed by every current and former Leaf that has visited his basement.

Wilson acquired many of the items for his basement after the 1999 closing of Maple Leaf Gardens, purchasing the items after they were ransacked from the closed arena. There is also a shrine to Bill Barilko, displaying his signed 1951 contract as well as the program from the Stanley Cup game in which he scored the game-winning goal.

There is one patch of non-Leafs-related memorobilia, a case of items devoted to Wayne Gretzky, including several jerseys and sticks. Wilson considers his hobby historical preservation rather than simply collecting, emphasizing that each piece in the room has a story attached to it.

Since it's a private residence we will probably never be invited to see this basement in person, but it is open for charity functions.

Read more at Toronto Life magazine.