Ottawa Civic Centre
|Ottawa Civic Centre|
|Former names||Urbandale Centre (2009-2010)
Rona Centre (2010–2011)
J. Benson Cartage Centre (2011-2012)
|Location||1015 Bank Street
Ottawa, ON, CAN
|Opened||December 29, 1967|
|Expanded||1992 (seating reduced as part of 2005 renovation)|
|Owner||City of Ottawa|
|Operator||City of Ottawa|
|Construction cost||C$9.5 million ($62.9 million in 2013 dollars)|
|Architect||Craig and Kohler|
|Ottawa 67's (OHL)
Ottawa Senators (NHL)
Ottawa Nationals (WHA)
Ottawa Civics (WHA) (1976)
Ottawa Rebel (NLL) (2002–2003)
|Part of a series on|
|Frank Clair Stadium|
|Ottawa Civic Centre|
|Ottawa Rough Riders|
The Ottawa Civic Centre, is an indoor arena located in Ottawa, Ontario, seating 9,862. With temporary seating and standing room it can hold 10,585. Opened in December 1967, it is used primarily for sports, including curling, figure skating, ice hockey and lacrosse. The arena has hosted Canadian and world championships in figure skating and ice hockey, including the first women's world ice hockey championship in 1990. Canadian championships in curling have also been hosted at the arena. The arena is also used for concerts and conventions. It has also been used for Ottawa SuperEX events and exhibits.
Until 2012, the arena was the home of the Ottawa 67's of the OHL. The team plans to return to the arena after reconstruction at Lansdowne is complete. It is the former home of the Ottawa Senators of the NHL (1992–1995), the Ottawa Nationals of the WHA (1972–1973), the Ottawa Civics of the WHA (1976), and the Ottawa Rebel of the NLL (2002–2003).
The arena's name changes each Ottawa 67's season. The team holds a draw among local suppliers. The winner for 2011–12 was J. Benson Cartage. The entry fee was the price of two season tickets and a corporate suite for one night. The name is reflected in the centre-ice circle, the marquee on Bank Street, and in all 67's communications. The arena was first renamed the Urbandale Centre in 2009 after Jeff Hunt, owner of the Ottawa 67's invited bids of $1,000 each to brand the then Civic Centre. Urbandale Construction had been a long-time sponsor of the 67's. For 2010–2011, the 67's renamed the centre the Rona Centre. The building, owned by the City of Ottawa, is officially known as the Civic Centre.
In the 1960s, the City of Ottawa was preparing to rebuild the football stadium at Lansdowne Park, on Bank Street at the Rideau Canal. During the planning phase, the old Ottawa Auditorium arena was demolished and the City now needed two new sports venues. The City combined plans and the Civic Centre arena was built together under the north grandstand of the football stadium. The combination has meant that the arena is rather oddly shaped, one side of the arena is actually located beneath the upper part of the stadium grandstand, with the result that it has a much lower ceiling than the opposite side of the arena.
Dominion Bridge was the supplier of the huge steel girders for the arena and stadium's frame, some so large they had to be brought to the site by barge, up the Ottawa River and down the Rideau Canal. According to Dominion Bridge "the most striking feature of the unique design concept is a giant overhanging roof reaching out 170 degrees from atop eight massive steel A-frames."
It opened on December 29, 1967, though seating was not complete, for an Ottawa 67's game versus the Montreal Junior Canadiens. Seats were taken temporarily from the Coliseum building nearby. The football stadium and arena complex was Ottawa's official "Centennial Project." Federal government grant money depended on the facility opening in 1967, and construction was rushed to meet the deadline.
The arena was renovated and seating increased in 1992 in order to temporarily accommodate the Ottawa Senators of the NHL. Luxury boxes were hung from the ceiling over 3/4 of the bowl and all seats except for the club seats were narrowed slightly in order to increase capacity to over 10,000. The seats were replaced in 2005 and wider seats were installed, thus reducing capacity to under 10,000 again.
The arena has hosted the 1978 and 1984 World Figure Skating Championships and the 2003 World Synchronized Skating Championships. The arena has hosted the Canadian Figure Skating Championships in 1987, 1996, 1999 and 2006.
Both Worlds provided memorable moments in sports. In 1978 Vern Taylor performed the first 'Triple axel' jump in competition. In 1984, the Canadian pairs champions Barbara Underhill and Paul Martini won the Championship in dramatic fashion:
“After a disappointing Olympics in Sarajevo, Barbara and Paul seriously contemplated retiring from skating before World's. However, advised by their friend Brian Orser to put on her old skate boots, Barbara and Paul were propelled onto the ice, onto the podium and into history. Their flawless program is considered one of the great Canadian sporting moments and gave Canada a national thrill.”
The primary tenant since the building's opening has been the Ottawa 67s junior men's team. The arena's seating capacity is large by junior standards. The team played before large crowds in the 1960s and 1970s but attendance started to drop in the late 80s and bottomed out after the arrival of the Ottawa Senators in the early 1990s. In 1998 the team was bought by local businessman Jeff Hunt and he successfully improved attendance to take advantage of the large capacity of the Civic Centre. Since then, the 67's have been one of the top-10 junior teams in Canada in terms of attendance, often finishing #1 on the list. The club has also been successful on the ice, winning the OHL Championship in 1977, 1984, and 2001 and the Memorial Cup championship in 1984 and 1999. The 1972 and 1999 tournaments were played at the Civic Centre, and the 1999 tournament was won by the host 67s.
In the 1970s, the arena was home to two WHA professional teams, the Ottawa Nationals and Ottawa Civics. Both did not survive in Ottawa for more than a season. The Nationals played for one regular season, but played their playoffs in Toronto and moved to Toronto to become the Toros. The Civics were a transplanted Denver Spurs team that played half a season in Ottawa before disbanding.
Starting in 1992, the National Hockey League's expansion Ottawa Senators called the arena home for three and a half seasons. In preparation for NHL hockey, the arena was refurbished for the Senators, adding additional seating and 32 private boxes.
From 1995 to 1997, Roller Hockey International's Ottawa Loggers (renamed the "Ottawa Wheels" for their final season) brought inline hockey to the Civic Centre, though the inline version of the sport proved to be both unprofitable and unpopular in Ottawa.
In 2008 and 2009, the arena was used for games of the 2009 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.
The World Wrestling Federation has used the arena for its shows in Ottawa until Scotiabank Place was built. It still uses the arena from time to time for house shows. At a September 1991 Superstars of Wrestling taping, Ric Flair made his WWF television debut.
Until the mid-2000s, the Central Canada Exhibition, aka 'Ottawa SuperEx' used the arena for concerts and exhibits.
References & notes
- Canadian inflation numbers based on Statistics Canada. "Consumer Price Index, historical summary". CANSIM, table (for fee) 326-0021 and Catalogue nos. 62-001-X, 62-010-X and 62-557-X. Last modified 2011-01-25. Retrieved January 16, 2012
- "Ottawa Civic Centre now officialy [sic] J. Benson Cartage Centre". Ottawa 67's. October 6, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
- "Civic Centre to be rebranded as The Urbandale Centre". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 2009-09-30.[dead link]
- "67's in need of some work". Ottawa Citizen. October 1, 2010.
- "Lansdowne Park: Facility Rentals". City of Ottawa. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
- Campbell, Don (December 23, 2007). "Opening night; Next Saturday marks the 40th anniversary of the first event at the Ottawa Civic Centre, a game by the 67's. Ottawa was puffed up with pride, but the opening was not without plenty of hitches.". Ottawa Citizen. p. D4.
- "About Skate Canada". Skate Canada.
- "Skate Canada: Hall of Fame: Honoured Members". Retrieved 2008-01-24.
- League Attendance Report
- Ottawa Senators 1992-93 Yearbook. Ottawa Senators. 1992. p. 88.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ottawa Civic Centre.|
- Ottawa Civic Centre - OHL Arena & Travel Guide
- Ottawa Civic Centre - Ballparks.com
- City of Ottawa Lansdowne Park website
1992 – 1996
Robert Guertin Arena
1968 – present