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Family, friends gather at private funeral for Gordon Lightfoot in Orillia, Ont.

Close friends and family of Gordon Lightfoot came together for a small, private funeral on Monday held at the Orillia, Ont. church where he was once a choir boy.

A group of roughly 50 people assembled inside St. Paul’s United Church for the nearly two-hour ceremony that included a choir performance accompanied by an organ.

Underneath the virtually cloudless sunny sky, the local community went about the day as any other, with some doing yard work and a few curious onlookers wandering past the church to observe the activity.

One neighbour set up a lawn chair outside his house to see if Canadian rock royalty the likes of Joni Mitchell and Neil Young might pull up.

Family members carry the casket of singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot after a funeral service at St. Paul’s United Church, in his hometown of Orillia, Ont., Monday, May 8, 2023. The legendary Canadian artist died May 1, at the age of 84 from natural causes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Thornhill

They didn’t seem to, however. Most of the visible mourners appeared to be Lightfoot’s extended family, band mates and others who worked with him over the years.

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After the ceremony finished, Lightfoot’s casket was loaded into a hearse and left the church grounds as a small crowd of people gathered to observe the proceedings from across the street.

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Lightfoot is to be laid to rest alongside his parents at St. Andrew’s and St. James’ Cemetery.

On Sunday, a public visitation was held at St. Paul’s United Church that drew more than 2,400 people, according to estimates from security for the event.

Elsewhere, a book of condolences could also be signed at Toronto’s Massey Hall, a venue where Lightfoot frequently performed throughout his career.

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