With the beautiful Lake Couchiching in the background and a stunning autumn day in the foreground, the four-metre-high Golden Leaves sculpture was unveiled on October 23, 2015 in front of about 700 people gathered at the northernmost point of Orillia’s J.B. Tudhope Memorial Park.

“God gave us a perfect day for the unveiling,” said sculptor Timothy Schmalz, who created the impressive tribute to Canadian music legend Gordon Lightfoot. “It was such an amazing opportunity to actually present this living legend the accumulation of so much love.”

In typical understated fashion, Lightfoot and his wife Kim drove down to the ceremony in a small, two-door Ford, and he sported jeans, a brown sweater and worn sneakers.

“I used to ride my bike down here in what was known as Barnfield Point,” the Orillia native told the Toronto Sun. “I used to swim over there.”

Christopher Bratty, President of Land Development at The Remington Group, and the Rudolph P. Bratty Family Foundation commissioned and donated the sculpture and future leaves along Orillia’s Lightfoot Trail to the City of Orillia. Several members of the Bratty family attended the unveiling.

“Gordon Lightfoot and his music is quintessentially Canadian that transcends borders,” Bratty said. “Whenever I hear Gordon’s music, I never want it to end.”

Also speaking at the event were Orillia Mayor Steve Clarke and Simcoe North MP Bruce Stanton.