Canadian legend Gordon Lightfoot honoured with sculpture unveiling in Orillia

Posted on Friday October 23, 2015
Golden Leaves

Orillia, October 23, 2015 – Hundreds gathered to join legendary Canadian singer, songwriter Gordon Lightfoot at an unveiling celebration of a figurative sculpture, Golden Leaves – A Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot. The 13-foot bronze sculpture depicts a young Lightfoot sitting legs crossed, playing an acoustic guitar with a massive arch of intricate maple leaves above him, creating a monument that is both intimate and powerful. The scenes, carved on the maple leaves, represent songs from the folk-pop legend’s album, Gord’s Gold. The sculpture, by internationally renowned St. Jacobs figurative artist, Timothy Schmalz, is installed at Barnfield Point on the Lightfoot Trail in Orillia’s J.B. Tudhope Memorial Park in honour of the Orillia native and national treasure.

“The idea was a tapestry or a quilt. The pieces put together make up the Canadian identity. If you take all the Gordon Lightfoot songs and put them together you will really get a picture of what it’s like to be a Canadian, or the Canadian experience,” said Schmalz, figurative artist.“The great thing about bronze is you can’t turn the volume down and this sculpture has Lightfoot blaring.”

Golden Leaves – A Tribute to Gordon Lightfootwas commissioned by patron of the arts and supporter of Canadian culture, Christopher Bratty of The Remington Group. Mr. Bratty, an ardent admirer of Lightfoot and his music, has been enthusiastic about the artistic project since Schmalz’s early illustrations. The monumental public sculpture was gifted to the City of Orillia by the Rudolph P. Bratty Family Foundation, which supports a number of organizations and charities, focusing on art, culture and community.

“The City of Orillia is grateful to Christopher Bratty and the Rudolph P. Bratty Family Foundation for their generosity and vision. Public art plays an important role within our community, providing outlets for creativity and inspiration, while creating a sense of place and connectivity,” said City of Orillia Mayor Steve Clarke. “Orillia is forever proud of Gordon Lightfoot and his contributions to the music industry. The powerful imagery of Golden Leaves is perfect for this lakeside setting, drawing on the area’s natural beauty and importance of the Lightfoot Trail.”

Among the many fans and friends gathered on the shores of Lake Couchiching for the unveiling were Lightfoot and his family, Schmalz, Simcoe North MP Bruce Stanton, Mayor Clarke, Bratty and family. Countless more will forever be drawn to Barnfield Point to pay tribute to Lightfoot and revel in the beauty and significance of the sculpture and the setting.

About Golden Leaves – A Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot artistic project

Golden Leaves - A Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot is the principal sculpture of a series that will continue along the Lightfoot Trail and other symbolic locations across North America.

The Oct. 23 unveiling of Golden Leaves marks the first phase of the project. Accompanying the “Gord’s Gold” central sculpture is a single maple leaf sculpture depicting the song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”, the first leaf sculpture to grace both the Lightfoot Trail and beyond. The second leaf cast will be unveiled Nov. 10, 2015, to mark the 40th anniversary of the shipwreck and will be permanently installed at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum on White Fish Bay, Michigan.

About Gordon Lightfoot

Gordon Lightfoot is an indelible part of the Canadian national spirit and regarded as perhaps the most prolific and greatest Canadian singer-songwriter of all time. He has recorded 20 albums, has earned five Grammy nominations and has also won 17 Juno Awards.  His songs have been aired regularly for 50 years, earning him radio singles chart positions in North America achieved by few others.  Lightfoot's radio hits in the USA have earned five #1s, five top 10s and thirteen top 40 hits.  In Canada he has earned sixteen #1s, eighteen top 10s and twenty one top 40 hits.

Aside from his success in writing, singing and performing his own songs, Lightfoot has found fortune in having his songs recorded and performed by other great artists including:  Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Jr., Marty Robbins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Judy Collins, Johnny Mathis, Anne Murray, Olivia Newton-John, Sarah McLachlan, Barbra Streisand, Peter Paul & Mary, Harry Belafonte, Jane’s Addiction, Richie Havens, Glen Campbell, Toby Keith, George Hamilton IV and Eric Clapton. 

In June of 2012 Lightfoot's legacy was further enhanced when he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame.  Lightfoot was honoured for his role in defining the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and '70s.  There are fewer than 400 inductees who make up the impressive roster enshrined in the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

About Timothy P. Schmalz

Working in bronze. Schmalz is a figurative artist, with pieces installed worldwide. One of his most famous pieces, entitled, “Jesus the Homeless” is installed in city centers worldwide. Another notable piece entitled “Whatsoever You Do”, sits outside Santo Spririto Hospital, the oldest hospital in Rome, near the Vatican. Creating epic pieces that connect with viewers through design and details, not only touching the viewer on an emotional level but also allowing them to feel somewhat a ‘part’ of the piece is what Schmalz strives to achieve with his sculpture.

The Rudolph P. Bratty Family Foundation

Rudolph P. Bratty is one of Toronto’s most successful real estate developers and head of his family’s development company The Remington Group.  The Remington Group business accomplishments are parallel to Mr. Bratty’s deep commitment to philanthropy. This spirit of generosity led to the creation the Rudolph P. Bratty Family Foundation, which supports a number of organizations and charities, focusing on art, culture and community.

About The Remington Group

For more than 60 years, The Remington Group has influenced the urban and suburban landscapes in Ontario. The Remington Group Inc. is a Canadian company comprised of five integrated operating divisions including Industrial and Commercial Construction, Residential Construction, Land Development, Property Management, and Finance and Administration. The Remington Group Inc. continues to grow with a commitment to innovative building and operational concepts.

About the City of Orillia

The City of Orillia is a city of 31,000 people in the heart of Ontario’s Lake Country on the shores of Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe. Visit our website at


Jennifer Ruff
Manager of Communications
City of Orillia
C: 705-238-9209