A series of concourse windows at the rear of the Civic Centre arena are finally seeing the light of day again.
Bill McDonnell of the Nelson Regional Sports Council says the seven windows on the building’s north side, facing the community complex parking lot, were part of the original 1935 design.
However, at some point they were boarded up — probably because errant baseballs from the then-adjacent Civic field posed a risk of smashing them.
With the help of some grants, the windows have been re-glazed while retaining their original sashes. McDonnell says it has had a “dramatic effect on the building,” not only in restoring an historical feature, but allowing “a great deal of natural light into the arena and providing a wonderful view across the lake to the North Shore.”
It’s just one of several improvements this summer in the second phase of improvements to the old rink, which the sports council is spearheading.
Others include painting the west wall, which runs parallel to Hall Street, and removing seats on the north concourse to allow for better traffic flow and provide a viewing area at the back of the press box, which will host new museum displays.
New railings have also been installed and additional lighting put in to enhance the exhibits.
Most of the work was completed in time for the BC Seniors Games last week. Originally, the Civic was going to be a hockey venue, but it wasn’t required. Still, McDonnell opened the arena so Games participants could see the recent upgrades.
“People who played here previously came over along with teammates that had never been in the rink,” he says. “They were quite impressed.”
The Games brought back former residents who played here, including Hugh Hooker and members of the Severyn family. Even some locals got their first look at the renos, which were unveiled as part of the Civic’s 75th anniversary celebration last November.
Phase one included painting the east wall, installing new glass and boards, and creating the initial museum display areas.
The majority of the memorabilia to date is hockey-related, although there is also a display on figure skating, and McDonnell is adding old lacrosse items.