Elton John ticket stub, Toronto, 1980

Elton John, Maple Leaf Gardens, 1980, Terry Fox,

There was a standing ovation for Terry Fox before the concert.

In 1980, when I’d only been living in Toronto a few days, Elton John played Maple Leaf Gardens, two blocks from my apartment. I bought a scalper’s ticket for $5, thinking that the concert had already started–but I was lucky; it hadn’t.

He walked on to the stage and said, “I dedicate this concert to Terry Fox.” The place erupted with a standing ovation. Terry Fox had recently been forced to end his run near Thunder Bay. We knew the whole country was rooting for him, and Elton John’s words gave us a sense that, indeed, the entire world was. That wasn’t true, of course; Terry’s run was a Canadian event. But it was incredibly powerful for Canada. I’ll never forget that concert.

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