On March 3 I joined with Rydell Lasko from St Vital Minor Hockey, and Councillor Mike Pagtakhan, (Chair of the Community Services Committee) to announce completion of $400,000 in upgrades to St Vital Arena. Most of these upgrades were not particularly eye-catching – like plumbing and duct work. The one big ticket item, a new Zamboni, does look pretty sharp in the arena. I informally kept track of the renovations through my colleague Councillor Gillingham who plays late night hockey at the Arena and would give me reports like “there used to be only one setting in the showers – scalding hot – but now they actually work!”
This arena has never been an architectural favorite (unlike the St Vital library, due to re-open in April after its own set of upgrades). But while the St. Vital Arena may not be beautiful – it still has a lot of life left. The building is still well used for hockey, for learn to skate, and for open skating sessions. In the summer the St Vital Ag Society still has its annual Fair on the concrete floor.
I remember skating at the Arena as a young kid, and watching a game there in my high school years. Later I sat in the stands and watched (and, well, checked work emails) as my sons took skating lessons.
The parking lot needs work, and I would still LOVE to build an expansion to open more dressing rooms, including a girls dressing room, but with the updates completed I think the Arena will pass its 50th birthday (in 2020) with some class, and will keep on serving another generation of St Vital residents.