Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Tuesday Treasures

  Tom the backroads traveller hosts this weekly meme.

Travel Tuesday
Our World Tuesday
My Corner of the World
Timeless Thursdays is hosted by Stevenson Que

Lane names are my new obsession as I wander the city.

Laneways, also known as alleys, are narrow streets that add to the diversity of the overall public space network, supporting the fine grain character of a city. ... Laneways can work as a network for pedestrians to navigate the city and build an overall identity for the city center.

Just 10 per cent of Toronto's more than 3,000 public laneways have a name. Usually the titles recognize community figures, events or local traditions, but many are delightfully strange with brilliant backstories.

When we lived in the east end of the city we would always cut up a street on our way home. On that street was a sign for Memory Lane.

“The Maple Leaf Forever” is a patriotic song composed by Alexander Muir (words and music) in October 1867, the year of Confederation. Next to "O Canada," which it predates by 13 years, “The Maple Leaf Forever” has been the most popular patriotic song composed in Canada. For generations, it and “God Save the King” were the de facto national anthems in English Canada. However, due to its British colonial perspective, the song did not become popular among French Canadians.

Alexander Muir was principal of the public school in Leslieville, an area of Toronto named for his friend, horticulturalist and postmaster George Leslie.

Muir was interested in submitting a poem to the patriotic poetry contest of the Caledonian Society of Montréal, but the deadline was looming and he had yet to produce anything. According to accounts by Muir’s widow and George Leslie, Muir and Leslie were walking near Leslie’s Gardens when a fallen maple leaf became lodged on Leslie's coat sleeve, despite his efforts to brush it off. "There Muir, There's your text!” Leslie is said to have exclaimed. “The maple leaf is the emblem of Canada! Build your poem on that.” Muir wrote the poem and dispatched it to Montréal a few hours later (it won second prize). Muir's search for a suitable tune in local music stores proved futile, so he wrote his own.

A silver maple tree at the corner of Laing Street and Memory Lane in Toronto’s Leslieville neighbourhood was long ascribed as the one from which the inspirational leaf fell onto George Leslie’s arm.
 In 1930, the Grand Orange Lodge of British America erected a plaque in front of the tree to commemorate the role it played in Muir’s composition. In 1958, the Lodge replaced the plaque with a newer version in honour of Muir, “who was inspired to write Canada’s national song ‘The Maple Leaf Forever’ by the falling leaves of this sturdy maple tree.”

On 19 July 2013, the tree was felled by a severe storm. Forty-eight logs, some rotted, were salvaged from the remains. On 8 March 2014, the logs were milled into smaller pieces in a ceremony at Toronto’s Evergreen Brick Works overseen by the Ontario Heritage Trust and accompanied by the Regimental band of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, in which Muir served in the Battle of Ridgeway in 1866. 

For many years there was a mural painted by some students from nearby Ralph Thornton Centre. Twelve years later the crumbling wall needed fixing.The peeling paint was tough to match and people kept changing Muir to look like the Joker or Adolf Hitler.

A new mural was unveiled in 2016 depicting neighbourhood pioneer Alexander Muir, sitting under a famous maple tree done by artist Elicser Elliott.

Michael Buble - Maple Leaf Forever


  1. So have you taken a walk down Memory Lane? Sorry. I couldn't resist.

    The new mural is so much better and I like the lack of proportion between the figure and the tree.

  2. Never heard before... Wonderful Post for Our World Tuesday,
    thank you for sharing.
    Stay healthy and well.

  3. ...the new Elicser mural is distinctive, the first one I wouldn't have connected to him. Memory Lane would be a favorite of mine. Thanks Jackie for coming to the party, take care.

  4. I enjoy your posts on Lanes and the stories behind the names!

    It's great to see your link at 'My Corner of the World' this week!

  5. Lovely dearest Jackie! And thank you for sharing Michael Buble, he is one of my favorite artists everrrrr! He led me to loving songs from classic singers ahead of him :)


This blog does not allow anonymous comments.