Galt

Galt Black Hawks

Arena Name: Galt Arena Gardens
Capacity:
Built: 1922
Last Game: 1955
Address: 98 Shade St., Cambridge, ON, N1R 4J8
Telephone No: (519) 740-4681 Ext. 4522
Ice Surface Size:
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OHL
Galt Arena Gardens
Galt Arena Gardens
What was the Arena Like?
The Galt Arena Gardens is the oldest operating hockey arena in Ontario, having been built throughout 1921 and opening in January 1922. It was designed as the main arena for the town of Galt, which was later to be amalgamated with nearby Hespeler and Preston to become the city of Cambridge, which itself is now part of the Kitchener-Waterloo metropolitan area. The Arena Gardens sits in a run-down area of town surrounded by tiny houses on tree-lined streets. From the outside the building is one of the most gorgeous arenas you'll ever lay eyes upon, with an intricate brown brick facade. The building has a high barn-like roofline and heavy steel doors.

Once inside the Arena Gardens you walk upstairs to the main arena. The building is small, with only about six rows of red seats extending all the way around. There is a huge mural on one end of the building above the goal featuring Mr Hockey himself, Gordie Howe, who played briefly in Cambridge as a member of the 1944-45 Galt Red Wings. The next season Howe was up to the minor leagues in Omaha, and by 1946-47 he had embarked upon his career with the Detroit Red Wings. There are banners throughout the building from eighty years of Cambridge hockey history, and there is a small hall of fame featuring photos and memorabilia.

Structurally the Arena Gardens is sound; the place was renovated in 1997. In fact I was a bit disappointed that the building didn't "feel" as old as it is; the floors are new poured cement, the seats are new and plastic, and there are a lot of small details throughout the building that would not necessarily lead you to believe that the place is really that old. Still, there are reminders - the ceiling is wood and features windows stretching from one end of the rink to the other.

While the Arena Gardens may not be the oldest-feeling or the most beautiful arena in Ontario - I'd give both titles to William Allman Arena in Stratford - it is a prime example of our hockey heritage, and a fine barn in itself. I do hope to get to a game there sometime in the near future, the way Cambridgers have been doing there for over eighty years.

How To Get There

From Toronto: Travelling west on Hwy 401 exit on Hwy 24 south. Turn left at Hwy 8 (Dundas St). Follow Dundas past Beverley (Second Light) and take your first right going through Soper Park. The Arena will be on your right.

From London: Travelling East on Hwy 401 exit on Hwy 8 East Cambridge. Follow Hwy 8 (Hwy 8 becomes King St, Coronation Blvd and then Dundas). When you cross Hwy 24 follow Dundas past Beverley (Second Light) and take your first right going through Soper Park. The Arena will be on your right.
Inside the Galt Arena Gardens
Galt Arena Gardens
What's It Used for Today?
The Arena Gardens was used by the OHL in the early, early years of its existence. The Galt Red Wings, Galt Rockets, and Galt Black Hawks (who were apparently all one franchise) from prior to 1946 to 1955, when the team folded. It was also used by the Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters for their first season in the league while the Guelph Memorial Gardens was under construction.

The Arena Gardens is today used for community purposes and is also the home to two teams, the Senior "A" Cambridge Hornets and the Midwestern Junior "B" Cambridge Winter Hawks.

Feedback

If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, please e-mail me at email and I'll update the guide.


 

 


Copyright Kevin Jordan 2002-04.
All rights reserved.
Last Revised: September 5, 2004