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Memorial Arena

740 Victoria Street, Kamloops, British Columbia, V2C, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2007/10/30

Exterior view of the Memorial Arena, 2007; City of Kamloops, 2007
Front elevation
Historic view of the Memorial Arena, 1949; City of Kamloops Museum and Archives
Front elevation
Historic view of the Memorial Arena, 1949; City of Kamloops Museum and Archives
Front elevation

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1948/01/01 to 1949/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/04/29

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Memorial Arena is a large concrete and steel sports arena with a high dual-pitched roof, centrally located on Victoria Street in downtown Kamloops. A horizontal entry pavilion clad in red brick with clerestory ribbon windows faces the street, with a dedicatory bronze plaque centred on the exterior wall between the two main entryways. The arena seats approximately 2,700 people and is utilized by organized and recreational sports teams.

Heritage Value

Built in 1948-49 and dedicated on November 11, 1949, the Memorial Arena is significant as a representation of community efforts to commemorate lost soldiers, build community pride and construct new recreational facilities in Kamloops at the end of World War Two. Its construction at that time also reflects increasing population growth as troops returned to the area, and a gradual return to prosperity. Built with funds raised by the Kamloops and District War Memorial Recreational Society, this was the first local artificial ice rink. Originally designed as part of an ambitious larger complex known as Memorial Centre that was to include a swimming pool, curling rink and meeting rooms, the arena was the only portion to be built.

The Memorial Arena is also valued for its association with the development of organized hockey leagues in Kamloops and for its continuous use as a hockey venue. The first organized local hockey leagues were formed after World War One; a Junior league in 1918 and a Senior league in 1919. The Memorial Arena replaced earlier arenas in other parts of Kamloops, and became the primary arena for the Western Canada Hockey League junior hockey teams: the Kamloops Chiefs (1973-1977); the Junior Oilers (1981-1984); and the Kamloops Blazers (established in 1984). Although the Memorial Arena was superseded by the Riverside Coliseum (now the Interior Savings Centre) in 1992, it continues to be actively used by lower-level hockey teams.

Furthermore, the Memorial Arena is a significant example of a large clear-span structure that is representative of the contemporary engineering of its time. Supported on a concrete base, the massive exposed steel truss roof supports heavy timber purlins and a plank roofing deck. The use of timber in the superstructure and red brick on the front façade attests to the presence of local brick and lumber industries. The flat-roofed entry pavilion with its horizontal ribbon windows demonstrates the influence of the International Style that gained popularity in the postwar era.

Source: City of Kamloops Planning Department

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Memorial Arena include its:
- location on Victoria Street in downtown Kamloops
- continuous use for public assembly and recreation
- institutional form, scale and massing as expressed by its single-storey height, large rectangular open-span interior space, dual-pitched roof over the arena and flat roof at the entry
- construction materials, including board-formed reinforced concrete used for the foundations and structural piers, concrete block infill walls, massive steel roof trusses, wooden purlins supporting a wooden plank roof, heavy timber end walls and red-brick cladding at the entry
- International Style influences as expressed by the horizontally-proportioned, flat-roofed entry pavilion with wood-frame clerestory ribbon windows
- additional exterior features, such as the bronze dedicatory plaque placed at the centre of the front façade
- interior features, including concrete stands with wooden bench seating, wooden floors and ceilings, and exposed interior structure



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.954

Recognition Type

Community Heritage Register

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Education and Social Well-Being

Function - Category and Type



Sports Facility or Site

Architect / Designer

Charles Burwell Kerrens Van Norman



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Kamloops Planning Department

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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