Orillia mourns hometown legend Gordon Lightfoot, makes books of condolences available

Flags have been lowered to half-mast in the city

files from The Canadian Press

The City of Orillia is mourning hometown legend Gordon Lightfoot, saying the famous folk musician had an immense impact on the community and beyond.

Lightfoot died of natural causes at a Toronto hospital on Monday at 84.

“His deep roots in our city are woven into the fabric of Orillia with tributes from the Gordon Lightfoot auditorium stage and his bust at our iconic Orillia Opera House, to the Lightfoot Trail and to the Golden Leaves series of bronze sculptures within J.B. Tudhope Memorial Park,” Orillia Mayor Don McIsaac said in a statement on Monday.

Flags have been lowered to half-mast in the city and books of condolences have been set up at the Orillia Opera House and Orillia City Hall with an online version also available.

Lightfoot was born in Orillia in 1938, sang in his church choir as a boy and dreamed of becoming a jazz musician.

He later emerged from Toronto’s Yorkville folk club scene in the 1960s, and went on to record more than 20 studio albums and hundreds of songs, including “Early Morning Rain,” “Carefree Highway” and “Sundown.”

Condolence Book Signing

The Orillia Opera House (20 Mississaga St. W.) will be open for anyone wishing to pay homage to Gordon Lightfoot:

  • Tuesday, May 2, 2023 – 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 3, 2023 – noon to 8 p.m.

Orillia City Centre (50 Andrew St. S.) will have a book of condolences available for signing:

  • Thursday, May 4, 2023 – 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Friday, May 5, 2023 – 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.