740 Victoria Street, Kamloops, British Columbia, V2C, Canada
Links and documents
1948/01/01 to 1949/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Memorial Arena is a large concrete and steel sports arena with a high dual-pitched roof, centrally located on Victoria Street in downtown Kamloops. A horizontal entry pavilion clad in red brick with clerestory ribbon windows faces the street, with a dedicatory bronze plaque centred on the exterior wall between the two main entryways. The arena seats approximately 2,700 people and is utilized by organized and recreational sports teams.
Built in 1948-49 and dedicated on November 11, 1949, the Memorial Arena is significant as a representation of community efforts to commemorate lost soldiers, build community pride and construct new recreational facilities in Kamloops at the end of World War Two. Its construction at that time also reflects increasing population growth as troops returned to the area, and a gradual return to prosperity. Built with funds raised by the Kamloops and District War Memorial Recreational Society, this was the first local artificial ice rink. Originally designed as part of an ambitious larger complex known as Memorial Centre that was to include a swimming pool, curling rink and meeting rooms, the arena was the only portion to be built.
The Memorial Arena is also valued for its association with the development of organized hockey leagues in Kamloops and for its continuous use as a hockey venue. The first organized local hockey leagues were formed after World War One; a Junior league in 1918 and a Senior league in 1919. The Memorial Arena replaced earlier arenas in other parts of Kamloops, and became the primary arena for the Western Canada Hockey League junior hockey teams: the Kamloops Chiefs (1973-1977); the Junior Oilers (1981-1984); and the Kamloops Blazers (established in 1984). Although the Memorial Arena was superseded by the Riverside Coliseum (now the Interior Savings Centre) in 1992, it continues to be actively used by lower-level hockey teams.
Furthermore, the Memorial Arena is a significant example of a large clear-span structure that is representative of the contemporary engineering of its time. Supported on a concrete base, the massive exposed steel truss roof supports heavy timber purlins and a plank roofing deck. The use of timber in the superstructure and red brick on the front façade attests to the presence of local brick and lumber industries. The flat-roofed entry pavilion with its horizontal ribbon windows demonstrates the influence of the International Style that gained popularity in the postwar era.
Source: City of Kamloops Planning Department
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Memorial Arena include its:
- location on Victoria Street in downtown Kamloops
- continuous use for public assembly and recreation
- institutional form, scale and massing as expressed by its single-storey height, large rectangular open-span interior space, dual-pitched roof over the arena and flat roof at the entry
- construction materials, including board-formed reinforced concrete used for the foundations and structural piers, concrete block infill walls, massive steel roof trusses, wooden purlins supporting a wooden plank roof, heavy timber end walls and red-brick cladding at the entry
- International Style influences as expressed by the horizontally-proportioned, flat-roofed entry pavilion with wood-frame clerestory ribbon windows
- additional exterior features, such as the bronze dedicatory plaque placed at the centre of the front façade
- interior features, including concrete stands with wooden bench seating, wooden floors and ceilings, and exposed interior structure
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.954
Community Heritage Register
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Education and Social Well-Being
Function - Category and Type
- Sports Facility or Site
Architect / Designer
Charles Burwell Kerrens Van Norman
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Kamloops Planning Department
Cross-Reference to Collection