Maple Leaf Square, the open area between the Air Canada Centre and the condominiums surrounding it, has become an impromptu gathering place for fans of the Maple Leafs and Raptors in Toronto, particularly over the past few playoff runs for the respective professional teams.
The space will now be renamed Ford Square, according to Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), the firm that owns the teams and the property. The new name reflects a sponsorship deal between MLSE and the automaker.
The name has sparked an array of reactions.
- There is confusion with the Ford family — Doug Ford, Sr., the father of mayor Rob Ford and councillor and mayoral candidate brother Doug, Jr., has a park named after him in Toronto.
- There is anger because the square shared its name with the hockey franchise, and now has a name unrelated to the team.
- And there are questions as to why a company with already comfortable profit margins needs to make money off what has become a fan-created gathering place.