On May 7, 1962 Councillor J.K. Stewart, responsible for Parks and Playgrounds, is mandated by City Council, under the leadership of Mayor Byron T. Kerr, to procure some preliminary plans for a future arena in Saint-Lambert. A few weeks later the architect firm of Longpré & Marchand is chosen to elaborate plans for a building, to be erected at a cost of $400,000 on grounds belonging to the Seaway Authority.
At the public meeting of September 13, 1962 the proposed bylaw No 581 is put to a vote before the attending property owners. It is rejected by 82 nays against only 3 yeas. A date for a public consultation at large, is set for October 20. Again the project is defeated. 1009 votes are counted: 462 for, 496 against, and 51 null and void. In November of the same year a poll is sent to all households to obtain more detailed opinions concerning an arena.
A month later, a Reginald Wambolt, deposits a petition signed by 200 residents, who promote an arena construction if the costs will not exceed $200,000. On December 7, 1964, a delegation of the Sports Association of Saint-Lambert officially requests from Council to consider the construction of an indoor skating rink with artificial ice surface: 700 boys are already registered for hockey, 200 more are expected to join. Mayor Jacques Filion explains that such a project is being studied.
One year later, on December 6, 1965, Council adopts a borrowing by-law for the sum of $300,000 for a sports venue, to be constructed on Oak Avenue, east of L’Espérance. On February 21, 1966 the contract is awarded to the general builder Chant Constructions, for an amount of $ 328,764. The heated arena, designed by Architect John W. Cook, will have 800 seats, four vestibules for the players and a large room for the general public. In June 1966 the City orders an ice cleaning machine from the Frank J. Zamboni Company.
Sunday, October 1966, will become a historical date for Saint-Lambert: the new arena is inaugurated. This project, four years in the making, is completed on time, thanks to the architect, the consulting engineers Amyot, Bahl, Dérome & associés and the firms of Malik, Hoskin & Bingham.
At the public meeting of October 1966, congratulations are extended to City manager Jacques Perrault and to the Director of the recreational services, Eric Sharp, for finally bringing a covered ice rink to Saint-Lambert.
About forty years later, the arena is again subject of a lengthy polemic. The plan to demolish the old arena and replace it with a brand- new structure creates heated debates. In 2015 the City abandons this project and opts for a thorough renovation which will conserve the remarkable roof structure of the arena, one of the most beautiful in the province.
Gilles Delarosbil (2013-2115)