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Does Elton John's yellow brick road lead to Caledon?
Wednesday, May 27 2009

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty stood momentarily frozen in the middle of a crowded room, smiling the helpless half-smile of a ninth-grader whose gym shorts have been pulled down in front of his crush by a popular prankster.

Elton John had made fun of him. Elton John can make fun of premiers for the same reason he can wear blue-tinted sunglasses at indoor press conferences: He is Elton John.

He wed a nice Scarborough boy in 2005. And he may or may not have a house in Caledon. He has no such house, Elton's partner David Furnish said on May 26, 2009. "No! We have no home in Caledon," he said, shaking his head vigorously. "I have no idea where that rumour came from."

He has such a house, said the people of Caledon, who are probably where that rumour came from. Elton, who met Furnish at a dinner party in the early 1990s, performed at the Air Canada Centre on May 26, 2009 with Billy Joel. They will hold a second concert on May 30, 2009.

In the meantime, Caledon residents eagerly await reports of the arrival of a limousine at the remote-controlled front gates of a mysterious mansion off Hwy. 10. The sprawling house on a large estate adjacent to the Devil's Pulpit Golf Association has been widely rumoured to belong to Elton and David since construction began about three years ago.

The house may be larger than 20,000 square feet. It is mostly obscured by trees and it is surrounded by barbed wire. Though nobody in its vicinity seems to have actually seen Elton there, much of the town appears convinced it belongs to him.

When Elton has concerts in Ontario, security around the estate increases noticeably, says John Corby, owner of Orangeville's Blighty's Tuck Store. The shop, which sells products imported from England, is a short drive from the mansion. "I'd just love for him to walk in here and order his chocolate," he said. "But it hasn't happened yet."

He understands. Elton John is, after all, a busy man. Wearing a dark blazer, he appeared alongside McGuinty at the Starz Animation Toronto studio to tout Gnomeo & Juliet. John and Furnish's Rocket Pictures is a producer of the Starz-animated film.

Before McGuinty discussed his government's decision to give the studio $23 million as part of an effort to create high-value jobs, he sang the singer's praises. Earring glistening, Elton reciprocated the kind words. Sounding very much the true-north patriot except for when he called Ontario a "state," he thanked McGuinty for trying to create jobs for animators.

"I have a new opening in my cabinet for a minister of economic development," McGuinty then joked. "Are you available, Sir Elton?" Elton laughed, then listened impassively as a reporter asked if McGuinty's views on the funding of cultural businesses had been affected by the 2006 failure of the Lord of the Rings musical, in which his government invested $3 million.

Later, Elton said he would pass on the cabinet position but would be happy to serve as a McGuinty adviser. "If he'd have given me a call," Elton said, "I could have told him not to invest in Lord of the Rings, the musical."
The premier tried to chuckle.

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