Golden Leaves is a four-metre-high bronze sculpture honouring Gordon Lightfoot, created by figurative artist Timothy Schmalz. The sculpture was gifted to the City of Orillia by the Rudolph P. Bratty Family Foundation and unveiled in October 2015. With his passing on May 1, 2023 , the sculpture has taken on even greater significance as a tribute to a music icon.
Golden Leaves displays more than 26 songs spanning Gordon Lightfoot’s career, the bulk of which appear on the classic compilation album “Gord’s Gold”, released in 1975.
Each large maple leaf visualizes scenes from each song, with smaller leaves merging behind the artist himself playing guitar. The leaves jointly form a massive maple leaf, an instantly recognizable symbol of Canada.
Highway 12 merges with Atherley Road near J.B. Tudhope Memorial Park on the eastern edge of the City of Orillia. Once in the park, visitors can walk The Lightfoot Trail, a 14-kilometre system of paved and gravel trails twisting along the shores of Lake Couchiching.
Golden Leaves is situated at the northernmost point of Tudhope Park, on a narrow peninsula reaching into Lake Couchiching. The park is home to the annual Mariposa Folk Festival, and is known to be one of Lightfoot’s favourite places when he was growing up in Orillia.
The statue is quietly surrounded by mature maple trees and unspoiled views of the lake, which clearly lent inspiration to Lightfoot’s songwriting. It has become a must-see attraction for musicians visiting or touring through Simcoe County.
“This was an act of celebrating what I believe is one of the artists that defines Canada.”
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
THE RUDOLPH P. BRATTY FOUNDATION
In the spirit of the man from whom the organization takes its name, the Rudolph P. Bratty Family Foundation supports many charitable organizations with a focus on family, health and wellness, and cultural initiatives.
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