New Brunswick based musician Don Coleman fondly remembers his hundreds of trips to Orillia, Ontario to visit his girlfriend and his aunt 25 years ago.
“When seeing the Welcome To Orillia, The Home of Gordon Lightfoot signs, a true sense of being Canadian hit me like a ton of glorious bricks,” Coleman says.
Recently he searched for a photo of the signs online and couldn’t find a picture and wondered why. After a phone call to the City of Orillia, Coleman found out that the signs had rotted and were removed.
“I felt an empty feeling deep inside and would like to bring back the signs that honour Gordon,” Coleman says.
The City of Orillia representative was receptive to the idea and asked Don to write a letter to the City Council, which he delivered last week. Gordon Lightfoot was born on November 17, 1938 and grew up in Orillia.
Coleman has started an online petition to have the “Home of Gordon Lightfoot” or “The Birthplace of Gordon Lightfoot” monikers added to the current signs that grace the entry points to the city.
“This is a positive petition, that is meant to encourage city council to reinstate the signs.”
Coleman’s goal is to acquire 100,000 signatures across Canada and beyond our borders.
“It is important for us to recognize the achievements of talented and successful Canadians, so as to inspire the younger generation and instil a greater sense of pride in all Canadians,” Coleman says. “There is no better place to honour Gordon Lightfoot than in the city where he grew up.”
Gordon Lightfoot songs have been recorded by Eric Clapton, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Barbara Streisand, Bob Dylan, The Grateful Dead, Stompin’ Tom Connors and many other internationally acclaimed musical artists.
According to Lightfoot, Pierre Berton said to him, “You know, Gord, you said as much in that song (‘The Canadian Railroad Trilogy’) as I said in my book.” Berton was referring to his two books about the building of the railway across Canada, The National Dream and The Last Spike.
If you would like to support the petition to reinstate the signs in Orillia you can click here to sign.
“Help bring back the pride, intrigue and glory of the signs that brought smiles to the faces of all of those who drove by those signs on the ‘Carefree Highway’ in ‘The Early Morning Rain’ or at ‘Sundown’, in years gone by.”