photos
September 1st, 2014
The Legend of the Maple Tree at Maple Cottage

Q1. What are Canada's three most enduring national symbols? (P10)

The Legend of the Maple Tree at Maple Cottage

Take a stroll down Memory Lane and you will come across a national symbol, a maple tree at least 150 years old. This might not be the most beautiful maple tree you have ever seen, but it probably is the most famous. As one of Canada's three most enduring national symbols: the maple leaf, the beaver and the Mounties – it is pure Canadiana.

This Memory Lane is off Laing Avenue, a little street that runs between Greenwood and Leslie, south off Queen Street East. Here sits a small cottage-like house know as Maple Cottage. Also known as The Grand Orange Lodge of British America, it is one of the few remaining examples of Ontario cottage architecture style in Toronto’s East end. It is also a historic site with a wonderful legend.

The old maple tree on the front lawn was said to be the subject for Alexander Muir’s song, "The Maple Leaf Forever". As the story goes, he was inspired to write the song after he watched leaves fall off the maple tree.

The author was said to have lived at Maple Cottage when he was the principal of Leslieville School. The story about Muir and the cottage, however, is disputed by many, including The Toronto Historical Board. Apparently he never lived at the cottage. There is no doubt though, that he is the author of "The Maple Leaf Forever", a song which for many had become Canada’s unofficial national anthem. (page 16)

When the cottage was scheduled for demolition, along with the old tree, it was saved by the City of Toronto and many supporters. Today, Maple Cottage is maintained by volunteers and friends who support The Maple Cottage Garden Club, as well as the setting for art classes operated by Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation.

References:

Institute for Canadian Music Newsletter,
Canadian Historic Sites
John Ross Robertson, Landmarks of Toronto


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