CITY OF CAMBRIDGE
Today, the city of Cambridge marks a century of history and memories at Galt Arena Gardens. Over the past 100 years, this building has been at the heart of the community.
The Galt Arena Gardens is believed to be the oldest continually operating arena in the world. Construction of the building began in 1921, with architect Frederick Charles Bodley selected to design the space that held about 4,000 people. Though incomplete, the arena officially opened on Jan. 20, 1922, for the hockey game between the Terriers and the Preston intermediate club.
Our very own Cambridge Terriers and Hornets have both raised the Allan Cup in victory here. It was the home ice for future hockey greats Gordie Howe, Terry Sawchuk, Kenny Wharram and Bobby Hull who spent some of their formative junior hockey time at the arena. The Galt (now Cambridge) Figure Skating Club began skating at the arena in 1951 and saw figure skaters Toller Cranston and Ron Shaver train here during their early careers.
The arena, featuring an ice surface measuring 185 by 85 feet, has also seen a variety of events from circuses to annual elementary school ice skating races (which first began in 1931 and continue today). Throughout the years, it has been a welcoming space for both religious gatherings and industrial shows. Galt Arena Gardens was designated under the Ontario Heritage Act in 1997 following significant renovations.
“This is more than an anniversary for one of Cambridge’s beloved historic landmarks. It’s celebrating 100 years of memories in a place that has brought our community together, a place that everyone has a story or two about,” said Mayor Kathryn McGarry. “Many remember growing up in this building, whether it was learning to skate, watching a hockey game or winning a gold medal. This is a piece of our city’s history that we can all be proud of.”
The city aims to offer nearly 100 different happenings for the community to celebrate together throughout the year. Activities will be added as COVID-19 public health guidelines allow. The city’s main focus continues to be the health and safety of our community. To align with current public health regulations, celebration events and activities have been adjusted to an online format.
Keep checking back for further details on a future open house and additional opportunities to participate in this celebration by visiting www.cambridge.ca/galtarena100.
Online celebration activities:
- Enjoy a commemorative look at the arena's long history through a milestone timeline.
- Learn more about the Sports Hall of Fame display set up to commend the hockey legends who got their humble beginning on this ice rink.
- Beginning in February, share your stories and photos on the Memories of Galt Arena Gardens Engage Cambridge page or simply visit and appreciate the virtual stroll down memory lane.
- Galt Arena Gardens memorabilia will be made available for residents to further mark the occasion. Details will be listed on www.cambridge.ca/galtarena100.
- In 2017, as part of Canada’s 150 events, Sportsnet celebrated Galt Arena Gardens on what was its 95th birthday. Check out the video here.
Additional programming and rental opportunities to commemorate the centennial will be offered throughout the year, as public health measures permit. For more information please contact Don Crowder at [email protected].
Businesses can take part in various sponsorship opportunities. For further details on ways to connect with the community and build brand awareness, contact Leanne Bond at [email protected].
Learn more about the history of the arena on the Heritage Trust website, and about its architecture on the Building Stories website.
See photographs of the interior of Galt Arena Gardens on the Roaming the Rinks website.