Oldest continually operating arena celebrates 100th anniversary in Cambridge

The Galt Arena Gardens, believed to be the oldest continually operating arena in the world, is celebrating a century of serving the Cambridge community.

In a news release issued on Thursday, exactly 100 years since the arena first opened, the City of Cambridge announced it would be celebrating by offering nearly 100 different activities throughout the year.

“There will be community events here as the restrictions allow us to do. But there's also online things,” said Mayor Kathryn McGarry.

The Galt Arena Gardens was home ice for some hockey greats. Gordie Howe, Terry Sawchuk, Kenny Wharram and Bobby Hull played junior hockey at the arena.

The Cambridge Figure Skating Club started practicing at Galt Arena Gardens in 1951 and figure skaters Toller Cranston and Ron Shaver trained there early in their careers.

Both the Cambridge Terriers and Hornets have won the Allan Cup, awarded to the national senior amateur men's ice hockey champions, at Galt Arena Gardens.

“This one just has so much history,” said arena supervisor Dean Bevan. “If these bricks could talk, if they could tell you the stories of everything that's happened.”

The arena has hosted a variety of events over its long history, from circuses, to ice skating races for elementary students, to religious gatherings and industrial shows.

“This is more than an anniversary for one of Cambridge’s beloved historic landmarks," said McGarry. "It’s celebrating 100 years of memories in a place that has brought our community together, a place that everyone has a story or two about. Many remember growing up in this building, whether it was learning to skate, watching a hockey game or winning a gold medal. This is a piece of our city’s history that we can all be proud of.”

In 1997, Galt Arena Gardens underwent significant renovations and was designated a heritage site.

“There's a beauty and elegance of this building that was seen as important by our community,” McGarry said.​