Designed by Saskatchewan architect Joseph Pettick and Vancouver structural engineer J.L. Miller, the Civic Centre won the Massey Medal for architecture, a precursor to Canada's Governor General's Medals in Architecture. The innovative cable structure roof that gives the building its unique shape, was an ingenious and cost effective solution that allowed such a large building to be constructed on a modest budget, while maintaining an unobstucted view of the arena surface from all seats. At the time it was built it was the largest cable structure in Canada. It is sometimes called "The Crushed Can" because of its unusual shape.
The building was officially opened as The Moose Jaw Community Centre on September 19, 1959, with a gala event hosted by Saskatchewan Premier Tommy Douglas, and featuring a performance by Louis Armstrong & His All-Stars.
The impetus for the building was a fire that destroyed the old arena rink on Ross Street in the fall of 1955. City Council then appointed a group of citizens to oversee plans for a new building. From the opening night program: "The project is the largest of its type undertaken in the City. Its history is one of courage, energy and enthusiasm undampened by adversity."
After initial tenders in the range of one million dollars, the length of the building was shortened, and the final cost was a mere $525,000.00. The building opened on budget and debt free. Current replacement cost of the building would be in the tens of millions of dollars. Moose Jaw City Council is currently debating building a new arena. Under the proposed plans, renovation or demolition of the Civic Centre is a possibility.
In a referendum in late 2006, a strong majority of Moose Jaw voters supported a new Multiplex based on a report prepared for the City by Nustadia Recreation Inc. dated November 2005 (Hockey and Curling) built at a total cost of 36 million dollars with the city of Moose Jaw contributing 15 million dollars of its own, contingent on federal and provincial government funding, and private fundraising. Although plans to add a running track and soccer pitch have been added, results of referenda are binding on City Council for a period of three years. The plans on which the referendum were based do not include either a running track or soccer field. $5 million of the $15 million City contribution was to match dollar for dollar funds raised privately, to a $5 million maximum. The group that was responsible for raising the $5 million that the City was to match has ceased fundraising after reaching less than $60,000. As of November 2007 no final decision had been reached as city council continued to debate what to do with escalating construction estimates, though a committee was set up by Council to make recommendations. The locations for building that were being considered are a downtown location, the Civic Centre site, and a Thatcher Drive East location near the Trans-Canada highway. Environmental assessments of the various sites were undertaken in 2008. The Prospera Centre in Chilliwack, British Columbia, built in 2003/2004 is being considered as a model for the Moose Jaw Multiplex. The city plans to build the new hockey arena and curling rink downtown — and it will cost the city $34.5 million. A court case to try and stop the project going forward was thrown out in August 2008 and the city has hired a manager to start the construction process.
|Current arenas in the Western Hockey League|
|Art Hauser Centre · Brandt Centre · Canalta Centre · Credit Union iPlex · ENMAX Centre · ENMAX Centrium · Mosaic Place · Rexall Place · Scotiabank Saddledome · SaskTel Place · Western Financial Place · Westman Place|
|CN Centre · Interior Savings Centre · Memorial Coliseum · Pacific Coliseum · Prospera Place · Moda Center · Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre · ShoWare Center · Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena · Toyota Center · Xfinity Arena at Everett|