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Petition to rename Highway 400 for Canadian music legend Gordon Lightfoot

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A petition to rename Highway 400 for Canadian music legend Gordon Lightfoot is rapidly gaining support online.

"It's good to reminisce about Gordon, but I think we should try and do something for him. He's a genius; he's internationally known. He's an icon not just in Orillia but in Canada," said petition organizer Douglas Walkinshaw.

Walkinshaw, an Orillia native, devised the Gordon Lightfoot Memorial Highway idea to honour the late icon, and after only a few weeks, the petition has already gained over 13,000 signatures.

"Lo and behold, in one day, there were a thousand signatures, and in three days, there were 8,000. I couldn't believe it. I thought this thing isn't gonna fly. I was so wrong," said Walkinshaw.

Walkinshaw said he's hoping to have the stretch renamed from the start of the 400 in Toronto until the cutoff at Highway 11, right by the exit to Lightfoot's hometown of Orillia.

He also suggested adding QR codes to signs along the highway, which would link drivers to some of Lightfoot's music.

"So many people know what Gordon Lightfoot's music means to the history and culture of this country," said Winchester.

The Lightfoot Days Festival organizers, John Winchester and Daphne Mainprize, also support the idea.

"Because he spent so much time between Toronto and Orillia, I think what better way to honour his memory," said John Winchester.

"It's kind of fun because Highway 400 will bring people all the way up the highway to Orillia, and they will get to enjoy the Lightfoot Days Festival."

Winchester is in full swing, planning the festival that will take place from October 31 to November 3 and feature the Lightfoot band. "No matter how big a star he became and how much he's loved around the world, he never forgot Orillia, and Orillia never forgot him."

After keeping the petition open for another month to gather a few thousand more signatures, Walkinshaw plans to take it to the provincial government and write a letter to Doug Ford.

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