Abandoned Niagara Falls Memorial Arena Update
Tuesday June 28th, 2022 – s0s1nc3r3 and Freaktography on CHCH News
Abandoned Niagara Falls Memorial Hockey Arena and International Sand Sculpture Museum
This now abandoned hockey arena was built in 1950 and had a capacity of approximately 3,000. The arena was home to various ice hockey teams in the past, including a team with the Greater Ontario Junior B Hockey League.
The Memorial Arena hosted four of the five games played in the 1968 Memorial Cup.
The abandoned Arena is hulking, empty shell now, one of the many arenas built across the province in the aftermath of the Second World War that has ultimately a date upcoming with the wrecking ball. The city council never really properly maintained the building, and by the end of its life the local junior B team was plagued by a leaking roof and structural deficiencies, as well as a parking problem that can only be caused by being located within walking distance of one of the world’s largest tourist draws.
Once inside the arena you entered a dark lobby with ticket booths and concessions directly in front of you. There was a plaque on the far wall announcing the building’s opening on January 25, 1950, and another one indicating that renovations took place in 1986.
The other side of the lobby had a large display case featuring trophies and memorabilia from the old Junior B team
From the lobby you went upstairs into the seating bowl. Inside, there was a small score-clock and a huge number of banners hanging from the ceiling. Seats are all blue, all plastic, and I believe they dated from the 1986 renovation.
The arena was decommissioned and declared surplus to the city’s needs after a new $38-million four-pad athletic centre was built in June 2010.
The International Sand Sculptures Exhibition was officially opened inside the building in August 2013 by Russian-based consortium V2 Niagara.
The world’s top sand sculptors were brought to the city to create War of 1812-themed displays depicting people, places and events. Three thousand tons of sand was used to create 25 sculptures.
The real estate agent for the facility said the exhibit wasn’t making enough money. The off-shore owner was convinced he could make a go of it, but it wasn’t successful and he put the building and its contents up for sale in November 2014.
The sand sculptures are still inside the arena and will be sold with the building, if a purchaser wants them.
As of April of 2018 there had been talk that the building would become the home to a new museum dedicated to the Titanic.With financing in place as of 2018, by a group of local venture capitalists, Experience Titanic Museum is expected to create 250-full time and part-time construction and operating jobs.
The $21-million facility will give visitors the chance to experience what it might have been like to be aboard the doomed ship on its maiden voyage that sank after hitting an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean on April 14,1912 resulting in 1,503 lost lives. The experience will also allow people to feel what it was like to be in first class, in all its opulence, second class and the furnace room of the ship.
With finance behind them the goal at the time was to open the museum within 12-14 months…..that time has come and gone and it appears that ship has sunk.
Abandoned Niagara Falls Memorial Hockey Arena and International Sand Sculpture Museum Photo Gallery
A personal connection to this abandoned hockey arena: This arena is located in the city that I grew up in, over the years I had attended many hockey games here as well an a number of other events such as WWF wrestling in the mid 1980’s with my father.
Most important to me however is this is where the annual Remembrance Day ceremony was held in my home town. Starting in 1993, the year I joined the military, I would accompany my grandfather to the ceremony every year, this was a tradition we kept up every year until the year he passed in 2011. Our final year attending the ceremony here was also the last year that they had the event at this arena, in 2009. In 2010 they opened a new state of the art sports facility but in 2010 my grandfather didn’t want to go to this big new fancy arena, too much commotion and too many people. Instead, on November 11th, 2010 we sat together in his kitchen, drank coffee and ate donuts and chewed the fat for a couple of hours.
After he passed away in 2011, I started a new tradition of laying down a wreath in his honour at the ceremony in the new arena and every year my father joins me, a new tradition!
These are the seats we sat in almost every year, usually 3 and 4.
2022 Update: Abandoned Niagara Falls Memorial Hockey Arena and International Sand Sculpture Museum
You guys may remember back in 2019 when I explored an abandoned hockey arena turned into an international sand sculpture arena.
This video was picked up by a local news outlet which then made its way to the city council and ultimately to the mayor.
The video sent waves rippling through city council and a follow up article was written about their shock at the conditions seen in my video
In the article, the mayor commented that he was going to speak with city staff to find out more about the ownership status of the building, and what options are out there for redevelopment of the property.
The mayor went on to say that the city would like to see the owners either develop the property or sell it for development.
Quite some time after this article was published I was in this city doing homeless outreach with my friend s0s1nc3r3, we stopped by the arena as he knew that homeless people were often using it for shelter.
Sure enough, the homeless had made a way inside and were using the lobby and several other sections to live and be off the streets. The new residents of the arena were kind enough to allow us to come inside and take a look at the conditions inside.
It turns out that the mayor and city council didn’t have any success in getting the building either secured or sold/developed, in fact the homeless problem inside is worse than it was in 2019, and the damage to the building and its structure is now far beyond repair.
Watch this video update to see just how bad things have gotten
The Niagara Falls memorial Arena was constructed in 1950 and would be home to various hockey teams from the Niagara Falls Thunder, Flyers and the Canucks. In 1968 the arena hosted 5 games played in the 1968 memorial cup, won by the Flyers on their home ice.
Over the years the arena was used for events such as wrestling, boxing as well as the annual remembrance day ceremony, a ceremony that I attended every year with my grand father from 1994 through 2009.
In 2010 the arena was closed when the city opened a new arena with multiple pads called The Gale Centre.
In 2012 the 62 year old arena was sold to a Russian consortium for just over $1,000,000, $400,000 below the cities asking price, the Russian consortium created a sand Sculpture museum.
Dubbed the largest sand sculpture exhibition in north america with sand sculptures that depicted the history of Niagara Falls and dedicated to the War of 1812 and 200 years of peace and friendship on North American continent.
This business venture was a predictable failure and by 2012 the ownership fell into financial difficulties and was put up for sale in 2014 for $3,000,000, that price was dropped two years later to $1.7 million dollars.
With 200 parking spaces and located in the heart of the busy Niagara Falls tourist area it would be a fantastic investment – but that was before covid-19.