Civic Centre - Nelson, BC
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member ScroogieII
N 49° 29.662 W 117° 17.450
11U E 478939 N 5482455
Quick Description: Nelson is a city of history and heritage buildings, with over 350 heritage buildings in a city of just over 10,000.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 9/5/2020 1:06:23 PM
Waymark Code: WM1331R
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member bluesnote
Views: 0

Long Description:
It follows naturally, then, that Nelson should not only be possessed of a heritage arena, but that it should have seen fit to retain their eighty five year old Art Deco building, instead of razing it when their newer facility was constructed alongside in 2005. Today the Art Deco Civic Centre is the oldest still-operating hockey rink in British Columbia.

Built in 1935 at a cost of $350,000, Nelson's Civic Arena opened on the November 29 and 30 weekend to become the envy of communities from Vancouver to Winnipeg. It was a bold move, as the world was in the middle of the Great Depression and it was to be a costly building, but it provided both much needed jobs and a much needed facility for the city. Not only did it contain a hockey arena, but included in the design were the ice rink, curling sheets, performing arts theatre, badminton hall, gymnasium, outdoor track and field, baseball diamonds and a smaller gym, later to become a library.
Civic Centre
The Civic Centre is a large concrete recreational structure spanning most of a city block on the south side of Vernon Street in Nelson, B.C.

The Civic Centre is valued for its historical and aesthetic values and as a gathering place for the community, but is particularly valued for the civic pride it engendered amongst Nelson’s citizens.

Built in 1935 during the Depression, the construction of the Civic Centre was a means to stimulate the local economy and create local employment through a $150,000 auditorium bylaw put forward by the city. Much of the construction labour was paid for through Depression-era relief funding provided by the federal government and distributed among the unemployed by City Clerk W.A. Wasson.

Constructed on land acquired through a trade with the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Civic Centre is important as a symbol of economic reinvention and community pride for the city of Nelson. Consisting of two buildings joined together, its size and complexity are evidence of the city’s stature in western Canada, being the largest arena complex between Vancouver and Winnipeg. The rink building, opened in 1935, houses an artificial ice arena and adjacent smaller curling rink (now an indoor soccer facility), dressing rooms and concession with kitchen. The auditorium building, opened in 1936, contains a windowed gallery overlooking a large wooden-floored hall, as well as a large slope-floored auditorium originally seating 750 people. A large backstage area (used as the public library for many years), offices, meeting rooms, washrooms and service areas are also contained within the auditorium building.

The Civic Centre was designed by the architectural firm McCarter & Nairne, but many in the community felt that local architect Alexander Carrie should have received the commission. The building became a model studied by other communities seeking information and guidance in building similar civic centres.

The building is important for its Art Deco style, at the time one of the fresh architectural styles that were emerging to express the new modern era. It is significant that Nelson was at the forefront of the movement, selecting an architectural style that truly fit the age.

The Civic Centre is an important emblem of community identity and civic amenity and was at the time one of the most impressive and long awaited structures in the region. The oldest still-operating hockey rink (1935) in British Columbia, the Civic Centre’s importance as a community amenity is expressed in its use over its history for a multitude of purposes, including music festivals, parties, sports championships and the Kootenay Agricultural and Industrial Exhibition. The cultural importance of both Nelson and the Civic Centre is demonstrated through the inclusion of a theatre in 1936.

The Civic Centre has historical value as being part of the war effort during WWII as demonstrated through its use as a decentralized production facility for Boeing Aircraft parts in 1943 and as a centre for Red Cross disaster relief.

Civic pride surfaced at the realization of what the Civic Centre has meant to the community since its construction. The facility was integral to the city’s cultural well-being, providing entertainment and recreation during the winter months and making Nelson the envy of many cities two and three times its size.
From the City of Nelson Heritage Register, Page 77
Photo goes Here
Official Heritage Registry: [Web Link]

719 Vernon Street
Nelson, BC
V1L 2B9

Heritage Registry Page Number: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
To log a visit to a Waymark in this category at least one photo of the property, taken by the visitor, must be included with the visit, as well any comments they have concerning either their visit or the site itself. Suggested inclusions are: what you like about the site, its history, any deviations from the description in the heritage listing noted by the visitor, and the overall state of repair of the site.
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