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Civic Centre turns 75 years young

By Bruce Fuhr,
The Nelson Daily Sports

The year was 1935. The date was November 29th. The day was Friday.

That’s when Nelsonites gathered to kick open the doors on one of the most modern arenas of its time.

Seventy-five years later, the building remains an important part of Nelson’s landscape and, thanks to the Nelson Sports Council, is slowly being brought back to life.

To celebrate its 75th anniversary the Nelson Sports Council is holding a gala celebration beginning today.

“The Civic Centre has been a landmark in Nelson for a lot of years,” said Cal Renwick, chair of the organizing committee for the weekend celebration.

“There have been lots of events held in the Civic Centre, and not just hockey games. There was the George Chuvalo/Tommy Burns Canadian Heavyweight title match as well as some one told me Louis Armstrong played in the Civic after it just opened.”

The anniversary celebration begins today at 6 p.m. with public skating and music provided by the L.V. Rogers and Trafalgar school bands.

The Castlegar/Nelson Midget Rep contest concludes Friday’s events.

Saturday is filled with many of the same events that opened the Civic Centre more than seven decades ago.

“We’re trying to mirror a lot of the events that happened when the arena first opened,” Renwick explained. “Events like school races, public skating, minor hockey games and having bands play.”

The highlight of the weekend is the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League contest between rivals Castlegar Rebels and Nelson Leafs. The home team will be wearing vintage Leaf jerseys that will be auctioned off.

Prior to the KIJHL contest is a brief opening ceremony at 6:45 p.m. The committee will honour Nelson Maple Leaf senior hockey players from every decade.

“We believe the hockey game will be close to a sellout,” said Renwick.

Probably similar to what it was back in 1935.

Check out the Nelson Sports Council
website at for a complete list of the weekend schedule.