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Vancouver History: Denman Arena

Monday, April 14th, 2008 — 4:47pm PDT
Comments 9

Update: January 5, 2009 – it was on this day in history that the Denman Arena hosted its first professional hockey game [VancouverHistory – h/t VancouverBOT]. In honor of this, I’m promoting this blog post from April 2008 to the front page of my website.

Mixing my new parks series with the staple history tidbits, a quick note about the former site of one of Canada’s first indoor ice rinks.

Now the home of Devonian Harbour Park, and one of the Sculpture Biennale pieces, Denman Arena on the corner of Georgia and Denman was a fixture and tribute to hockey on Canada’s west coast.

… [Denman Arena] was built at a cost of $300,000 in 1911 and held 10,500 people, making it one of the world’s largest arenas when it was built. It burned down in 1936 after an explosion at an adjacent Coal Harbour shed. [wiki]

It was also home to the Stanley Cup when the Vancouver Millionaires reigned in 1915. Knowing all of this makes ask why there’s no monument or plaque dedicated to this historical structure somewhere in the park. The only evidence of the arena’s existence is in a tiny display box at the entrance to the West End Community Centre ice rink.

I wonder what it would take to make more of a permanent dedication a reality in memory of this important piece of Vancouver, Canadian, and World hockey history. Although with the recent seasons experienced by our professional NHL team in this town, one wonders if this would be a stinging tribute or subtle encouraging reminder.

Update: Since this post was published, many information signs and placards have been placed around Stanley Park and the Coal Harbour area. I was delighted to find one dedicated to the Denman Arena, just off Georgia Street, this past summer.

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  1. mort-y says:

    An extra tid-bit for other Sherlock Holmes fans like me…did you know that in 1915 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle gave a speech in the Denman Arena? Once again, “the game’s afoot” in Vancouver!

  2. I vote for stinging tribute.

  3. fotoeins says:

    Hah! I’d go for “stinging reminder”. In any case, it’s a good piece of history for the hockey-mad town.

  4. […] seen more of the “thick” in recent years. We haven’t seen the Cup since the Millionaires won it at the Denman Arena but we’re not giving up hope just yet. Go Canucks […]

  5. […] a few names out there… Miracle Mile, Rick Hansen, Roger Nielson’s towel power, 1915 Stanley Cup victory… or maybe even that new indoor event called “when Shaw’s internet services go […]

  6. […] It’s kind of interesting to see the incorporation of Johnny Canuck on the shoulder crest but they’ve been wanting to share Canucks history a lot lately – maybe to kind of remind folks that this city does have a strong hockey tradition (and that we even won the cup… well the Millionaires did anyway). […]

  7. […] been won in our city before, in 1915 the Vancouver Millionaires captured the Challenge Cup at the Denman Arena. To celebrate this heritage, there was a special event at the Vancouver Giants game last […]

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