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‘He was a great person’: Charlottetown woman remembers unlikely friendship with Gordon Lightfoot



CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — Charlottetown resident Carla Smith was at work someday when a well-recognized face walked via the entrance door.  

It was the Nineteen Seventies, and Smith was manning her station on the field workplace sales space of Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto.  

The person got here as much as her and requested if she had any further tickets he may purchase – a typical incidence amongst employees and gamers.  

Being a giant fan, Smith acknowledged the person instantly and gave him what he was asking for.  

The person Smith gave a ticket to that day was Canadian music legend Gordon Lightfoot, who died on Could 1 on the age of 84 on account of pure causes.   

“He was a form, mild spirit. And total, he was very humble,” Smith mentioned throughout an interview with SaltWire on Could 2. 

Carla Smith stands next to the Toronto Maple Leafs dressing room at Maple Leaf Gardens, circa 1979.
Carla Smith stands subsequent to the Toronto Maple Leafs dressing room at Maple Leaf Gardens, circa 1979.

This was not the final time Smith would discuss to Lightfoot.  

From that day on, Lightfoot would go to Maple Leaf Gardens usually to purchase tickets. Many occasions, he could be coping with Smith.  

“He used to come back into the gardens and simply wander round typically,” she mentioned.  

Over time, Lightfoot bought to know Smith on a first-name foundation. 

Sense of humour

Smith mentioned she remembers his manner as all the time being gentle and type, however he all the time had a very good sense of humour.  

When Gordon Lighthfoot day was declared in 1977, Lightfoot contacted Smith, asking if she and several other different staff from Maple Leaf Gardens could be taken with attending a cocktail occasion he was internet hosting out his residence later that night.

“He was a form, mild spirit. And total, he was very humble.”
– Carla Smith 

Smith was shocked.  

“He simply invited us. I’m unsure why, however he considered us. That’s how form he was,” she mentioned.   

The house was giant and lavish. Dozens of visitors, many being celebrities, mingled and laughed over cocktails and wine.  

Nevertheless, what Smith discovered most intriguing was not the visitor checklist however the giant pool desk in the course of the lounge. 

“I assumed it was very neat that he would have a pool desk in his front room. He was a cool man,” mentioned Smith.  

Throughout her time working on the gardens, Smith met many different celebrities, together with King Clancy and plenty of standard hockey gamers.  

However the relationship she constructed with Lightfoot is one she’s going to all the time treasure, she mentioned.  

“Anytime I hear about one in all them I used to see on the gardens I get unhappy, however that one hit for certain,” she mentioned.  

“He was an ideal particular person.”  

Carla Smith and King Clancy at the Hot Stove Club at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, circa 1979.
Carla Smith and King Clancy on the Sizzling Range Membership at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, circa 1979.

Do you know?  

  • Gordon Lightfoot wrote his first tune, “The Hula Hoop Music,” in 1955, whereas nonetheless in highschool. 
  • Lightfoot by no means gained a Grammy Award however acquired 16 Juno Awards throughout his profession.  
  • In 1997, Lightfoot was awarded the Governor Generals Performing Arts Award, Canada’s highest honour within the performing arts.  

P.E.I. recollections

A number of P.E.I. musicians with tales of Lightfoot have additionally taken to totally different social media platforms to share their ideas and recollections in regards to the late singer-songwriter.  

Catherine MacLellan shared her story of acting on stage with Lightfoot and the late Gord Downey. 

“Assembly Lightfoot for the primary time and figuring out that he was born the identical yr as my dad, I felt a connection to him,” the publish learn.  

“Lightfoot had good recommendation that day – you bought to provide them a toe-tapper.”  

Musician Lennie Gallant additionally took to Fb to share his condolences.  

“His music actually modified my life,” the publish learn.  

 “You’ll all the time be with us, via your magnificent songs and the innumerable ones you impressed from so many writers alongside the best way.”  

Rafe Wright is a reporter with SaltWire in Prince Edward Island. He will be reached by electronic mail at [email protected] and adopted on Twitter @wright542. 

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