Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 9

Professor Tommy R. Loudon, who was
also the rowing coach at U of T, assisted
in the design of Varsity Stadium. He
later assisted in the design of Maple Leaf
Stadium alongside architects Messers,
Darling and Pearson. The exterior design
of the arena incorporated a Georgian
style to compliment the façade of the
Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), which
is directly across from the university,
on Philosopher's Walk. The ice surface
dimensions (196' by 80') were chosen
based on the Arena Gardens on Mutual
Street, which served as a home for U of
T hockey programmes. The original plan
called for a seating capacity of 7,000, but
was reduced to 4,800 in double wooden
chairs at the time of construction. It was
also one of the first indoor arenas built
without pillars in the seating area, meaning no blocking the view of the ice surface, giving fans arguably the best views
of any arena in the country. This design
would later become standard practice
for all arenas. The original floor under
the ice surface consisted of iron pipes
covered in sand. Decades later, this, too,
would change. A few of the iron pipes
were replaced in 1933; however, it wasn't
until 1957 that the arena would have a
concrete floor.

The Grand Unveil
The Varsity Arena officially opened on
December 17, 1926. On opening night,
the program included a performance by
the Toronto Skating Club and an exhibition hockey game between Varsity Blues,
coached by Conn Smyth; and the Varsity
Grads, coached by Senator Joseph Sullivan.
The Grads shut out the Blues 2-0 in
the 40-minute contest. When looking
back, it was no surprise the Varsity
Grads were victorious, as they became
Allan Cup Champions in 1927. The team
would end up becoming gold medalists
at the 1928 Olympic games in St. Moritz,
Switzerland.
Lester B. Pearson (later Prime Minister
of Canada) took over as coach of the
Varsity Hockey Blues in 1927 and led
them to the Senior Intercollegiate
Championship. Despite the quality of
the entertainment on opening night and
low ticket prices (95 cents for reserved
seats, and 70 cents for game time admission), the event did not sell out due to

extremely cold temperatures during the
day and evening.
In the following decades additional
improvements were made, allowing the
facility to become a more versatile venue
and increase its lifespan. In 1933, this
included replacing some of the original
iron pipes in the floor underneath the ice
surface, which was covered in sand. The
facility received a new roof in 1950 at a
cost of $7,200. The floor of the arena was
once again replaced in 1957, this time
with concrete.

Multi-Purpose Facility
It was proven over the years that the
Varsity Arena was by no means a single-purpose facility. Events included the
Toronto Symphony performing numerous times a year during the 1930s in front
of crowds of 7,000. The acoustics in the
arena were outstanding. Other events
included one of the world's largest book
sales, championship wrestling, boxing,
professional lacrosse and several different musical concerts.
There were some major "teach-ins"
during the protest years of the late 1960s.
The facility has been used for major political events, including seeing John Robarts
elected as the leader of the Ontario

Progressive Conservative party in 1961.
In 1965, John Diefenbaker held his final
rally for his federal election campaign
at the facility. It has been, and remains,
home to one of the largest intramural
hockey programs in all North America.

Hockey Legends
in the Making
Professional hockey made its way
into Varsity Arena for the 1973-1974
season when the upstart World Hockey
Association (WHA) relocated its Ottawa
franchise to Toronto. John F. Bassett had
bought the team, but could not come to a
rental agreement with Harold Ballard at
Maple Leaf Gardens. The Toros featured
ex-Maple Leaf Carl Brewer on the blueline
and young guns - like Pat Hickey and
Wayne Dillon - upfront. The first season
was a success, as they saw Bobby Hull
and the Winnipeg Jets, Gordie Howe, and
sons Mark and Marty with the Houston
Areos come to Varsity to entertain the
Toronto hockey fans. The following season, however, the Toros worked out a
rental agreement with Ballard to play at
Maple Leaf Gardens.
The bulk of the ice time at the arena
is still used by the more than 100 teams
that make up the men's and women's
FACILITY FORUM | 9



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Facility Forum - Fall 2017

ORFA Regional Training
Heritage Highlight: Varsity Arena – University of Toronto
Cemeterian: The Operation and Preservation of Cemeteries in Ontario and the Importance of Cemetery Care and Maintenance Trust Fund/Accounts
Technical Support Renewed
ORFA Professional Designations
Energy Champion – Taking Action
Providing Safe Access to IHSC Cooling Towers/Evaporative Condensers
Electrical Hazards: The Importance of Lock-Out/Tag-Out
Slip and Fall Outside of a Community Centre
Winds of Change
Recreation Facilities Asset Management
Member Profile – Kevin Gale, CIT, RRFS Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury
Safe Ice Resurfacer Operations Online
ACC Facility Post-Season Scheduling Challenges
Index of Advertisers
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - Intro
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - cover1
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - cover2
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 3
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 4
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 5
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 6
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - ORFA Regional Training
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - Heritage Highlight: Varsity Arena – University of Toronto
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 9
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 10
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 11
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 12
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - Cemeterian: The Operation and Preservation of Cemeteries in Ontario and the Importance of Cemetery Care and Maintenance Trust Fund/Accounts
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 14
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 15
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - Technical Support Renewed
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 17
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - ORFA Professional Designations
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - Energy Champion – Taking Action
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 20
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 21
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - Providing Safe Access to IHSC Cooling Towers/Evaporative Condensers
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 23
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 24
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - Electrical Hazards: The Importance of Lock-Out/Tag-Out
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 26
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 27
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 28
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - Slip and Fall Outside of a Community Centre
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 30
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 31
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 32
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - Winds of Change
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 34
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 35
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - Recreation Facilities Asset Management
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - Member Profile – Kevin Gale, CIT, RRFS Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 38
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 39
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - Safe Ice Resurfacer Operations Online
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - ACC Facility Post-Season Scheduling Challenges
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 42
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 43
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 44
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - Index of Advertisers
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - 46
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - cover3
Facility Forum - Fall 2017 - cover4
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