Fix Gordie Howe's cracked star on Canada's Walk of Fame, says family

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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

TORONTO - Mr. Hockey's star has a sizable crack in it—and his family would like it fixed.

Legendary hockey star Gordie Howe's plaque on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto's theatre district has a crack running above the left side bottom corner.

"Sorry to hear the plaque is damaged. I'm sure Gordie was not aware that it was damaged," his son Marty Howe said in an email to The Canadian Press on Monday.

"I'm sure he and the rest of the Howe family would like to see the plaque fixed," he said.

The former Detroit Red Wings and Hartford Whalers right winger, four-time Stanley Cup champion, and member of the Hockey Hall of Fame was inducted into the Walk of Fame in 2000.

Howe's red granite stone plaque, which features his name, engraved signature and a stylized Maple Leaf, isn't the only one that is damaged.

A number of celebrities' stars are looking a bit rough around the edges. Meanwhile the city is in the spotlight, hopping with actors, directors and other film industry players who are promoting their latest movies at the Toronto International Film Festival.

"Weird or What?" and "Star Trek" star William Shatner's plaque is chipped on the left at the bottom and looks like something has gnawed through the stone.

Other stars with chipped plaques include actor Leslie Nielsen, hockey legend Jean Beliveau, "SNL" creator Lorne Michaels, music superstars Rush, television comedians The Royal Canadian Air Farce and director David Cronenberg.

"It does occasionally snow in Toronto, and they do plow the sidewalks and scrape them," said Peter Soumalias, president of Canada's Walk of Fame.

Thawing and freezing will cause sidewalks to break, but the city fixes cracks in its plaques as part of its sidewalks maintenance program, he said.

The Walk of Fame is looking at alternatives to inserting such plaques on sidewalks, Soumalias said, adding he hopes to announce an alternative in the next few months.

As for Howe's plaque, Soumalias said he was sure the city would fix it eventually.

"Well I'm certainly glad Gordie's elbows aren't there residing over the star," he quipped.

Peter Noehammer, Toronto's director of transportation services, said if a plaque is loose, city crews would reset it.

However, if a plaque is cracked and needs replacing, it would be a shared responsibility and the city would work with the Walk of Fame to put a new one in.

Noehammer said he would send staff to look at Howe's star and other plaques on the Walk of Fame on Tuesday.

The plaques recognize Canadians who have made significant contributions to Canadian culture. Seven more people will be inducted Oct. 16.

They are musician David Clayton-Thomas, actor Eric McCormack, singer Nelly Furtado, author Farley Mowat, filmmaker/actress Sarah Polley, Olympian Clara Hughes and the late magician Doug Henning.

Hollywood North's treatment of its sidewalk tributes can be contrasted to efforts south of the border.

In the original Tinseltown, the Hollywood Walk of Fame is in its third year of fundraising for more than $4 million in needed repairs.

"The old girl needs a facelift," said Ana Martinez, a spokeswoman for the 50-year-old Hollywood attraction.

Heat, heavy pedestrian traffic and equipment have taken a toll on the thin, fragile marble terrazzo and brass plaques that adorn the sidewalk on Hollywood Boulevard, she said.

"We get cracks, we get little holes that a heel could get caught in. They do crack a lot," said Martinez.

Corporate donors have chipped into help pay for some of the repairs while more money will be raised bya Nov. 3 party and the sale of T-shirts marking the walk's 50th anniversary.

But the Hollywood Walk of Fame still needs a couple of million dollars to restore its former glamour, said Martinez.



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