The Old Arena

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The Old Arena

Postby BonnieC » Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:07 am

Time is running out on Memorial
Tuesday March 10 2009
Cynthia Gamble

The time clock has started ticking down for the 86-year-old Memorial Arena in Georgetown.
Monday night, Halton Hills council unanimously accepted a Georgetown Area Arena Task Force request to “decommission” the aging, and rapidly deteriorating, building on Mill St.
However, Memorial will remain in use, and in working condition, until another ice surface has been built.
“Memorial will never be gone. The building itself may disappear but Memorial Arena will never disappear. I started my career there (as an NHL referee), ... and it is a favourite building for all of us and from that standpoint will be memorialized forever,” said Councillor Bryan Lewis, chair of the task force.
“We know this is a significant decision that we’re making tonight,” agreed Councillor Bob Inglis, “and it’s definitely made with some regret as a number of us learned to play hockey there. But... even after spending a considerable amount of money, it would still be would be sub-par.”
Last year, after reviewing a structural condition report, council agreed to spend $1 million over the next four years to keep it running— assuming no emergency repairs are required. Expenses include replacements on: roofs, heating system, sanitary line, plumbing fixtures, electrical wiring, and refrigeration system pumps, installation of sprinkler system, parking lot repairs (not replacement) and masonry repairs. However, Memorial’s capital and operating budget will be reviewed on an annual basis.
Lewis said that Memorial Arena loses $130,000 annually.
“Stand-alone buildings don’t make any money... and that, in addition to the expenses (not only) just to keep it up, but to make it long-term, will cost us in the millions,” he said.
Memorial Arena was first built as an outdoor ice rink in 1922, but was later enclosed. It has not undergone “any major revitalization since its original construction,” and it has surpassed the normal life expectancy of an ice rink by more than 35 years.
Council’s decision will now open up new strategies for new and additional ice surfaces for Halton Hills. The task force will return to council later this spring with its recommendations.
Lewis said even with Memorial in play, there is a need now for at least two ice surfaces to meet the requirements of existing users and that number will grow as the community grows.
He said organizations have been forced to change their programs due to the lack of ice time including: shortening game times, more participants per team, limiting or eliminating specialty training, sharing practice time, increasing the coach/player ratio, eliminating some programs, holding games and/or practices in other municipalities, a lack of town-hosted tournaments and skating events and no summer ice.
“Hundreds of thousands of dollars are going out of town for ice rentals,” said Lewis.
In a presentation to the Arena Task Force earlier this year, Georgetown Hockey Heritage Council endorsed the decision to decommission the arena.
Dave Kentner, chairman of the Georgetown Hockey Heritage Council, and also Ward 3 councillor, said, “The Hockey Heritage Council looks forward to being a part of the efforts to create a permanent record of the role Georgetown Memorial Arena has played in the history of our hockey community.”
The15-member task force of Town councillors, staff, arena users and local citizens, will meet again March 25. On the agenda will be arena needs such as size of ice pads, hall/activity rooms, and restaurant/concessions.


YOUR THOUGHTS AND MEMORIES!!!
A photograph is usually looked at – seldom looked into. - Ansel Adams
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Re: The Old Arena

Postby Gloria Jones » Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:09 am

Tough decision on the part of the Arena Task Force. It certainly does hold a lot of memories for us long time Georgetown residents. As one who didn't get their start refereeing or playing hockey there, to me it was the only place to socialize in Town as a youth. Saturday nights there was public skating and it's where we met our boyfriends. The week of Bantam Tournament was something we looked forward to with much excitement as visitors from all over Ontario and the U.S. came to Town. More socializing.
I think unless there is some grandiose idea for the property, they should put it back to an outdoor rink that could be used all year round. Why not? That's how it started out.
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Re: The Old Arena

Postby JenG » Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:53 am

It'll be sad to see this building go. I remember going ice skating there as well as roller skating! Good times!
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Re: The Old Arena

Postby linda paul » Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:28 am

This totally breaks my heart.

Ann and Murray Marchment lived right beside the arena(snow slid off the arena roof constantly unto their vehicles) and I lived beside them.

The arena, as Gloria said, was my only means of socializing as well and being so close was a plus.

The Bantam Tournament was a "boy" smorgasborg and was looked forward to by all the girls of the appropriate age.

I have fond memories of several boys I met during those years.

Skating every Wed. and Sat. nite and Raider hockey games every Fri. night. What more could you want.

I will miss "the old girl" so much.
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Re: The Old Arena

Postby Scooter1 » Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:30 am

The Memorial was my first love, everything about her drew me like a magnet, the smell, the cheers, the excitement, as a youth I spent a many as 60+ hours a week there, from my involvement in hockey, my job as a "Rink Rat" to being a spectator. The grand lady has provided so much to GEORGETOWN, has produce many champions, put the town on the map in the hockey & figure skating world, later lacrosse and ball hockey. Roller Skating was the thing to do during my teen years, As Gloria mentioned, the Bantam Tournament, an event that provided the same excitement as the arrival of Christmas. I met and forged so many life long friendships there. I learned to dance in the Rose Room, by attending dances there with my older brother (that was not thrilled to have be tag along, but mom told him "Either Donnie goes with you or no one goes!")
But sad to say, but she has lived a great life and done us proud, but she is old and starting to hurt and we should give her dignity and let her go, but provide a living monument to her memory.
Myself if I had a say, a building that would house a Catered banquet hall, (one to hold a large crowd, something that is needed, now we will be losing the last of halls large enough (the HOLY CROSS) to hold events like the HERITAGE DINNER) several offices for groups such as GHHC, GMHA, TWISTERS, RAIDERS, FIGURE SKATING and several other groups that could use a home. The hall could provide an area for picture taking with attractive back drops that would attract weddings. The hall rentals and office rentals (at very reasonable rates) and the catering company that would be renting the kitchen area would make it self suffient, the town could retain ownership and receive the revenues (profits). In the main entrance could display artifacts and tell the story of the Grand Lady which would serve as a constant memory of the MEMORIAL.
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Re: The Old Arena

Postby BonnieC » Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:39 am

Never the rink rat, ref or hockey player but the old arena will always hold memories of first watching my brother play hockey, the Bantam tourney, roller skating in the summer, skating in the winter, teaching my kids to skate and then watching them score goals in hockey.
I always thought that if any place in town deserved to be saved and put on the historical list it would be this one. I don't think that there is one person that grew up here does not have memories of it.
I love your idea Don..have you presented this to the committee? I hope more memories and ideas come in, maybe we can forward these on to the committee for consideration, doubt it will help much cause their minds seem to be made up but you never know what can happen!!!
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Re: The Old Arena

Postby BonnieC » Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:42 am

Scooter1 wrote:Myself if I had a say, a building that would house a Catered banquet hall, (one to hold a large crowd, something that is needed, now we will be losing the last of halls large enough (the HOLY CROSS) to hold events like the HERITAGE DINNER) several offices for groups such as GHHC, GMHA, TWISTERS, RAIDERS, FIGURE SKATING and several other groups that could use a home. The hall could provide an area for picture taking with attractive back drops that would attract weddings. The hall rentals and office rentals (at very reasonable rates) and the catering company that would be renting the kitchen area would make it self suffient, the town could retain ownership and receive the revenues (profits). In the main entrance could display artifacts and tell the story of the Grand Lady which would serve as a constant memory of the MEMORIAL.



They could move the sports hall of fame to it too...a more fitting place to have it in my mind anyway
A photograph is usually looked at – seldom looked into. - Ansel Adams
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Re: The Old Arena

Postby Scooter1 » Wed Mar 11, 2009 3:46 pm

I was thinking the same thing Bonnie, the Hall as it is now is to be shared for rentals, requiring us to move displays! An exclusive Hall would be better, I think!
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Re: The Old Arena

Postby mjmward » Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:38 pm

Just wondering could this not also be a tourist attraction, I am sure a lot of people who have played in town like to refresh there memories. As it unravels it just seems like a no brainer. GET ON THE BAND WAGON AND SAVE OUR MEMORIES
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Re: The Old Arena

Postby schirm » Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:35 am

Far too many historical elements to this building for the town to agree to a tear down. Surely the hell structure itself including the internal room structures are safe and require a one time updating to ensure future safety. To turn it into a hall of fame would be a fitting end to the Grand Old Lady. We need to fight hard to save at least the outer structure of this histroical building.
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Re: The Old Arena

Postby Scooter1 » Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:16 pm

The front of the building is ralatively new and could be used as the entrance of the new facility that I earlier suggested, retaining the visual memory and as I said make the lobby into a memorium of the Grand old lady. With at least two main sporting fundraising events that require a fair size venue, those being (Hockey Heritage Dinner and the Sports Museum Gala and several others) a banquet hall is badly needed, our need now and in the future is great and will get greater. And as Bonnie mention a permanent home for the Sports Museum. I sure hope the task force takes a long hard look at it, before giving up the land for housing. There are many places that could accommodate that.
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Re: The Old Arena

Postby linda paul » Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:40 pm

I personally am very fearful of what will be built to take the place of another Georgetown Heritage Building It, to me, is the exact same thing as the injustice done when Chapel Street School was torn down.

My reason for this fear is: many, many years ago my Dad was informed(because as I said earlier, we lived right beside the arena) of the possibility of homes being built on that site. There were plans drawn up as well at that time.

I think those plans may even had been displayed in the Independant. Also, if my memory serves me correctly, there was going to be a park area there as well.

I am so sad!!!!!!
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Re: The Old Arena

Postby Barry » Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:53 pm

It's weird -- one of the first things I asked when I moved back to town is if the Old Arena was still around. (Yes, I still refer to Memorial as "the Old Arena" and whatever Alcott is called now as "the New Arena".) And a few weeks later, I saw the article in the independent.

It'll be a shame to lose the old place ... Anyone who grew up here has a lot of memories from that building.

Have they changed it at all over the years? I still remember those old wooden seats with the black stencilled numbers on them. Did they ever replace those with more comfortable seats, or are the wooden classics still there?
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Re: The Old Arena

Postby deeds30 » Fri Mar 13, 2009 7:51 am

Why could the Town not build the new arena on the same site? But set it back further towards where the outdoor pool was? They could rip down the Lions Hall (OK, have you been inside it lately?) and then move parking back into the front and the open space behind the Lions Hall?

The building itself is a mess, but I think that aspects of it could be moved into the new structure, such as using some of the bricks from the old building as a part of the new. A rink size is a rink size, could they move the boards into the new building?

I wonder if it will be similar to Maple Leaf gardens where they sell off the seats, etc.

Sorry South friends, but I hope that they keep the arena in Georgetown and not in the South.
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Re: The Old Arena

Postby linda paul » Sun Mar 15, 2009 12:32 am

We can't reminisce about the "old arena" without talking about Mrs. Pries.

She worked the canteen for a hundred years (well it seemed like that anyway). Anyone who spent time at the arena must remember her. She also worked the snack bar at the pool and I think her husband Ed Pries managed the arena and pool before he died tragically in a car accident.

I remember taking figure skating lessons (and by the way most of us wore those figure skates when we played hockey).
The big shows we put on were so exciting. We might as well have been performing at Maple Leaf Gardens we thought it was such a big deal.

I remember Don Gosling managing the arena and my husband Bob Paul managed it for a few years as well and Doug Vivian. Am I right in thinking Lou Pankenin also managed the arena. Bob was also a rink rat when we went out together.

No wonder the old gal means so much to me.
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Re: The Old Arena

Postby Ruth Macdonald » Sun Mar 15, 2009 4:01 pm

oh memories flood back that is for sure. I remember when I was about 13 I guess there used to be skating every Saturday afternoon.. and then the teen years they had Teen Town dances upstairs.

It used to be the hub for everyone in Georgetown that is for sure!
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Re: The Old Arena

Postby Phantom Gtowner » Sun Mar 15, 2009 4:25 pm

Ed Pries did die in a car accident around the fall of 1960. One summer, think it was 1962, Lou Pankenin painted the entire inside roof of the arena in white. He started in early May and finished around Labour Day. And it looked great!
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Re: The Old Arena

Postby Don Ballingall » Mon Mar 16, 2009 4:31 pm

I too fondly remember the old arena as I spent a lot of time there as a rink rat, working alongside Murry Marchment and Brian Lewis and numerous other guys, also played midget and Juvenile hockey there and attended teen town every friday night for a number of years. I remember very clearly the Pries family, especially Ed who used to write these corny jokes written in a combination of English and German. Mrs. Pries and daughter Gail seemed to be a constant fixture in the snack bar where I spent most of my money earned scraping the ice on pop and chocolate bars.

I like the suggestion of building new ice pads on this site. What is really needed is a large facility with seating capacity of 3000-4000 for current and future use. I had never seen Mold Masters arena until the reunion a couple of years ago and was really surprised and disappointed that a town with Georgetown,s population would have such a shabby structure with small seating capacities. No wonder the Junior Raider's hockey club draws such small crowds. I live in Nanaimo BC. Nearby Port Alberni and Duncan with populations of 20,000 and 15,000 respectively draw far more fans for their Jr. A teams than Georgetown does which is probably due as much to their facilities as it does to local team enthusiasm. Anyway, I hope the authorities do the right thing and provide a facility that Georgetown rightly deserves.

Bryan Lewis is bang on with His suggestion that at least 2 new ice pads are needed. You can never have too many surfaces. Perhaps a large capacity structre with 2 smaller adjoining ice pads
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Re: The Old Arena/managers

Postby Phantom Gtowner » Tue Mar 17, 2009 7:44 pm

There was an arena manager before Ed Pries named Wilson, might have been Jim. He lived in one of the houses that sat between what is now Yong's Restaurant and the house where Dr. Thompson and Dr. McAuley had their offices on Main Street S. After Mr.Pries passed away, they hired Jerry (Gerry?) Avery to manage the arena. For reasons unknown to me Mr. Avery either quit or was dismissed from the position and he was replaced by Don Gosling early in 1961. During both Mr.Pries' and Mr.Gosling's tenure, Lou Pankenin was Assistant Manager until he left the arena in December 1964. It was at this point that the board hired Doug Vivian to replace Mr. Pankenin and around summer 1965 they hired John Knight in addition. I remember Mr.Pankenin joking to me that it took two people to replace him. Mr.Gosling was manager until 1975 when "the new arena" opened and they sent him packing to Gordon Alcott and Mr.Vivian took over Memorial. My memory isn't too good about what happened next but I know that Mr.Gosling returned to Memorial before his retirement in probably the 1980's. I should say too that when Mr.Gosling returned to Memorial, Mr. Vivian went up to Alcott to be manager. It was a switch I guess. Where Bob Paul fits in I'm not too sure but I do remember him being at Memorial. Maybe someone else reading this can fill in the blanks.
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Re: The Old Arena

Postby linda paul » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:05 pm

My husband Bob was apparently only manageing the old arena for one year and he thinks that was 1981ish, he was assistant manager for about 2 years prior to that. When Bob left the arena to work at Vaughan Fire Dept. Don game back to Memorial.
While Bob was manager, Doug Vivian was at The Alcott Arena and Don managed all the outer buildings, community Halls etc.
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Re: The Old Arena

Postby u-pickedcotton » Wed Mar 18, 2009 3:40 pm

if they are building a new arena the dressing rooms MUST be larger than the rooms in the B side at Mold Masters, and have 2 shower heads like the B side at Mold Master not one like in Alcott side.
I like the lighting in Alcott better than the B side.

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