3.08.2008

Dunlop Arena

The days appear to be numbered for a historic arena here in Barrie. The Barrie Arena, also known as the Dunlop Arena, was constructed in 1932 and served as the main hockey venue until 1995 when the Molson Center was built. The aging Arena did go on to serve as a municipal recreational facility until early 2008 when the new Holly Recreation Centre opened. The Arena has a date with a wrecking ball this summer to make way for a new 12-million dollar Fire Hall to replace the aging Station No. 1 on Vespra Street.

The building of the Dunlop Arena was funded in large part by William Wright, the founder of today's Globe & Mail. The arena hosted the Barrie Flyers of the Ontario Hockey League, and also briefly hosted the Barrie Colts while the Barrie Molson Centre was under construction.

The Barrie Kennel and Obedience Club held its first championship show at the arena in June of 1947. The original structure was expanded in the 1950s, when Barrie Flyers owner Hap Emms required a larger facility to accommodate more spectators for the popular OHL team.

The arena has a 190 foot by 85 foot ice surface, a food concession stand and 2,500 uncomfortable wooden seats. It also contains a lot of fond memories - not just hockey. Residents knew when the Garden Brothers circus was in town when they saw an elephant parked at the Dunlop Arena lot.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sad to hear of her demise. Lived right across the street in my brief stint as a "doorman" across the road through many name changes.

Greg said...

My sister works for the city working at the Allandale Rec Center. When one of her friends at Dunlop Arena got sick last year, she had to fill in that position for a week, this had to be about 2 months before the doors closed for good. She would tell me stories on how during breaks, she would go downstairs and read random things down in the basement from like the 1940's. Like how the ice condition was, and so forth. Going down there scared the crap outta her, but she thought it was so fascinating. Sadly she didn't take any of that amazing stuff. I hope that the demo crew found that history before lady wrecking ball did her business. Though in my heart, I don't think they did. Sad, so sad...