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The man who gave us 'Carefree Highway' has a street of his own


Orillia has honoured its native son.

Orillia council authorized a bylaw to rename Centennial Drive Lightfoot Drive at its meeting on Monday.

"Gordon Lightfoot was known as Orillia's favourite son, but his influence extends far beyond the boundaries of our city," said Mayor Don McIsaac.

"He is a cultural icon whose music has touched the hearts and souls of millions around the globe. Renaming Centennial Drive to Lightfoot Drive is a fitting tribute to honour his enduring legacy and to celebrate his profound connection to our community."

Raised in Orillia, Gordon Lightfoot was born in 1938 and died in May 2023, leaving behind a legacy on the world stage with timeless ballads that united audiences across generations.

The former Centennial Drive runs along Orillia's Lake Couchiching waterfront, connecting the city to landmarks such as Couchiching Beach Park, the Port of Orillia, the Terry Fox Circle, and the Rotary Aqua Theatre.

Over the past few years, Orillia has invested significantly to update the infrastructure in the area and the road recently underwent major reconstruction and re-alignment.

"As Centennial Drive transforms into Lightfoot Drive, it serves as more than just a road; it's a direct link between Orillia's picturesque waterfront and bustling downtown, bringing people together, much like Lightfoot's music brought together individuals from all walks of life who found inspiration in his songs," said Mayor Don McIsaac.

"With this renaming, we honour not just a local icon but a global ambassador of Orillia whose melodies continue to resonate with audiences worldwide," he said.

The renaming of Centennial Drive to Lightfoot Drive is taking immediate effect. Over the next few weeks, the city will be making changes to official maps and listings and updating road signage.

To commemorate this new tribute to Gordon Lightfoot further, Orillia will also be installing banners depicting Lightfoot and some of his greatest hits along the entirety of Lightfoot Drive later this spring. Top Stories

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