Riverside Recreation and Memorial Centre – 1957 – 2011

A few readers sent in emails to let me know that the Riverside Arena was being wiped away this holiday weekend.

The building that was built by the Town of Riverside bites the dust at the age of 54, a victim of the WFCU Centre. As many may remember, the proceeds from the sale of the Riverside arena as well as the Edward Street Community Centre were all factored into the final cost of the new behemoth off of Lauzon.

After sitting vacant for several years, the City decided to have it demolished, expecting the demand to be greater for the empty parcel of land. I guess we’ll see what the future holds for the parcel at Wyandotte St. E. and St. Rose.

RIVERSIDE CENTRE-Top picture shows the outside eleva-
tion of Riverside’s $150,000 Recreation and Memorial Centre,
which will be under construction shortly, following sod-turning
ceremonies Saturday at 3 p.m. Specifications for the building
call for a structure 290 feet long, 136 feet wide at the front,
117 feet wide at the rear and 32 feet high. It will be situated
300 feet south of Wyandotte St.. in Riverside Municipal Park.
Lower picture shows the plan. Included in the arena will be
an artificial ice rink, measuring 80 by 180 feet, and an audi-
torium at the front of the building.

The picture above, ran in the Windsor Star September 14, 1956.

According to the Star, the Hon. Paul Martin, minister of health and welfare, and M.P. for Essex East, was the official sod turner to kick off the project. OF the $150,000 needed to build the arena (about $1.28 million today) nearly $90,000 of it was raised by donations and a raffle for a new car. Ford of Canada kicked in $10,000 while the Province of Ontario contributed $15,000.

The picture above shows the front page of the May 18, 1962 edition of the Windsor Star, which shows Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, who addressed a crowd of 2,000+ at the Riverside Arena.

I hope everyone had a good long weekend. Back to work today, but a Happy 4th of July to our US readers.

20 Comments on Riverside Recreation and Memorial Centre – 1957 – 2011

  1. I know this building sound sad for it coming down, but from people I work with, who played hockey here and used the facilities said it was is horrible shape. It was not the city’s fault for some of the issues that were going on with the Arena, but it was at the age it either had to be completely gutted and redone, or replaced with a newer arena and outer complex. The ice surface was good, but was going to cost way to much to be replaced, and there were water leaks and heating issues all over the building. I think the city did a good job at building the new WFCU Centre, and also made some positives around it, but to me the job is only 1/2 completed, and maybe some more buildings and other uses need to be built around the arena to help complete the use and look…

  2. Andrew….
    ….Is this the same Riverside Rec I asked you about a while back? If so, Dave Schafer of CKLW used to run monthly dances here. First place I saw The Contours.

  3. The rink always had some of the best quality ice for playing hockey. It was a hub of the Riverside community for a long time. Sad to see it go.

  4. Played for the RMHA from 1978-1982 and again 1985-1986 (did a three-year stint in the WMHA) and enjoyed every minute of it. Sorry to see it go but I understand it was in pretty rough shape.

  5. My most memorable hockey experience occured here August 1979 when i was invited to scrimage with some players in the NHL,Jr A and the windsoe bulldogs..what a treat to see that calibre of players skate and pass in front of you (they needed a goaltender and i was there at the right time)..I’ll always remember that day!…always liked the yellow lights that lit the front at night.

  6. The refridgeration unit which was the original, leaked amonia all the time. Not fun.

    What’s happening with the Riverside centotaph?

  7. I wanted to play travel hockey more than anything growing up, but I was a downright awful skater. For just one year, I played in a league where I actually got to travel & made it to a few other arenas.

    Riverside was one of those arenas & I’m sad to see it go 🙁

  8. i remeber learning how to ice skate there way back in the 50’s pretty soon there’s gonna be a sign put up in the spot new parking lot under construction

  9. The University of Windsor Lancers hockey team currently leases Windsor Arena as the primary tenant. I’ve heard that when the new aquatic center opens, Windsor Arena will be among the properties that the city gets rid of. There is a possibility that the University could take over ownership of Windsor Arena. We’ll see what happens.

  10. I remember when the Red Wings practiced there once for some reason, around 1958-59. I got to talk to Gordie Howe for a minute!

  11. I remember my sister telling me that she saw Stevie Wonder, then it was “Little Stevie Wonder” play there, it would have been nice if they could have had one more farewell event before the demolition started.

  12. what the hells wrong with the present regime at city hall this vacant lot infection thats gripped the downtown are is starting spread it’s tenticles to the outer regions of the city it’s very disconcerting to see this

  13. If you read the above imformation the reason for demolition was age, and repair cost. This was part of the plan when the new complex was built.Riverside Arena was after Windsor Arena the oldest one around the area, Leamington replaced its original about ten years ago, it was similar but slightly larger than Riverside Arena. Its sad to see another vacant lot, maybe a park could be built there near the pool.

  14. Was very sad to see it go! Sorry they didn’t have one last function there for old tomes sake!! Also saw Little Stevie Wonder there The dances & roller skating were the BEST!!!

  15. There used to be a baseball diamond there before it was built. It was the social center of Riverside for years with dances, wrestling events, hockey & skating in the winter months as well as roller skating in the summer (a meeting place for the area high schools ). I do remember the Wings practicing there because of the Ice Capades playing in Detroit, and John Diefenbaker’s visit (only because we got out of school to witness it. There was also an car show held there once too. A great place to meet good people.

  16. I grew up in Riverside Arena.
    So many RMHA friday night hockey battles and saturday morning Mite games.
    Some of my favourite memories, a Sunday morning game against Little Caesars and all their fans standing in the NW corner yelling “Hail Caesar”!
    The first Euro team played our midgets on a friday night around 75? The place was packed and then the stick incident.

    In the summer we used to run the RMBA baseball school out of the back.
    It was the anchor in the 60’s and 70’s for what was a great place to grow up – Riverside Windsor Ontario.

  17. Riverside arena was the best. As kids and teens we would meet there from all over the city for dances and roller skating and ice skating; they even had a tennis court. I and my friends saw many an up and coming star there many of them motown greats ; not just but including Stevie Wonder. I’m sure many of the 50’s to 70’s population have very fond memories of the good clean fun we had there ; too bad the times have changed so much , a great time and place to grow up in. Thanks for the memories!!

  18. What a crime it was to tear Riverside Arena down. It was the heart of the area that was Riverside. It should have been refurbished. Town doesn’t look the same with it gone.

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