Music Memories of Yonge
Explore Downtown Yonge’s music history with us!
Content researched and written by Nicholas Jennings.
A sports shrine and longtime home of the Toronto Maple Leafs, this iconic building was also the city’s largest music venue, featuring the world’s biggest superstars.
Built in 1931, Maple Leaf Gardens was the hockey home of the Toronto Maple Leafs, where the team created half a century of history, including winning 11 Stanley Cups. The Gardens was also the scene of Team Canada’s 1972 Summit Series victory over the Soviet Union. Boxing was featured, most notably the 1966 heavyweight bout between Muhammad Ali and Toronto’s George Chuvalo. Along with sports, the Gardens hosted circuses, rodeos, political rallies and plenty of music, beginning with big bands in the 1940s. Bill Haley and Elvis Presley brought rock ’n’ roll in the 1950s, while the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown and many others performed there until 1999 when the Air Canada Centre became the new home of the Leafs and large-scale concerts. By 2012, Ryerson and Loblaws had transformed the historic Gardens building into both the university’s sports complex and a state-of-the-art grocery store.