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Gordon Lightfoot Days pay tribute to late musician

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The City of Orillia paid tribute to its favourite musical son this weekend in a way that would make the late Gordon Lightfoot proud.

Starting with a proclamation on Saturday by Mayor Don McIsaac naming November 4 as Gordon Lightfoot Day, the City held numerous events to honour his legacy this weekend.

On Sunday morning a ceremony was held at St. Paul’s Church where Gordon Lightfoot attended and sang as a child.

"That was the church where he learned to sing and develop his music," said Daphne Mainprize, who helped organize the Lightfoot Days festival. "The community is drawn to him, and we want to keep celebrating his life and bringing people here to just listen to his music and enjoy the joy that he brought to Canada."

With what would have been Lightfoot's 85th birthday on November 17, the City held a cake-cutting celebration on Sunday. That included many dedicated fans, like Jim and Kathy Flynn, who made the trip from Pennsylvania to pay tribute to their favourite musician.

"The last time we saw him was just a couple of years ago, but he spoke to my heart more than any musician in my lifetime," Jim Flynn said. "We wanted to come up, and we laid some roses on his grave yesterday. We paid our respects and wanted to participate in this, and I'm just glad we were able to do that."

Area musician Steve Porter was honoured to play some of Lightfoot's songs during the proclamation event on Saturday.

"It means so much to be a part of this. Gordy was such a great inspiration for me and my family, and the man is so great. The greatest songwriter Canada could ever ask for. I call him Mr. Canada, so it means everything to be here today and be part of this," Porter said.

Mainprize said she would like to make the festival an annual tradition that carries on Lightfoot's legacy for years to come.

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