The Town of Oakville is deciding what to do with the site and future of the Oakville Arena. In my opinion the Town of Oakville needs to seek a heritage designation for the Oakville Arena. Information in a recent local survey to residents in the area indicated it is one of 3 remaining barn-style arenas in Ontario. So why keep this arena and designate it as a heritage building? From a long-term perspective it is significant to our local history and our national sport’s history, it suits the neighborhood, and it can still be utilized in a city that has an incredible demand for ice time.
A heritage designation will ensure the structure and overall appearance of the facility remain intact. Preserving a classic barn-style arena like the Oakville Arena is significant to our national and local history, especially if only 3 remain in the province. Thankfully for me this is a hockey mad nation. We obsess over the sport and everything about it, including our hockey and figure skating history. The Oakville Arena is like your favorite antique - full of character, charm, and mystery. You sometimes look at it and wonder about its journey. If you have ever walked into the Oakville Arena you get that feeling, especially if you have spent time in different arenas.
The outside of the Oakville Arena may not be the most appealing structure however I believe the right designer or architect could give it a face lift. Overall it blends in well with the neighborhood and surrounding parks giving that corner a real community feel. Arenas are community hubs where people socialize, cheer, and come together for a variety of reasons. I believe operating this facility is costly and renovations would be expensive, but even in its current conditions it effectively serves local community and recreation needs. This is important for me because as a hockey instructor and local resident I find there is minimal availability of public ice, especially south of the QEW.
So designate it a heritage building, keep it operating as an ice rink, and if the budget permits a retrofit to make it more appealing on the outside and efficient on the inside.