Kitchener Rangers

Waterloo Hurricanes

Arena Name: Waterloo Memorial Arena
Capacity: 2,000
Built: 1947
Address: 31 Caroline St. N., Waterloo Ontario, N2L 2Y5
Last Hurricanes Game: 1952
Used by the Rangers: Intermittently
Demolition Started: 1987
Demolition Finished: 2001
Ice Surface Size:
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Waterloo Memorial Arena
Waterloo Memorial Arena
What was the Arena Like?
The above picture was taken by David Fisher of David Fisher Photography, whom I thank. The picture is his property and is used with permission.

Waterloo Memorial Arena opened its doors as the main arena in Waterloo in 1947. It was home to the OHA briefly in the early 1950's, as the Waterloo Hurricanes began play in 1950 and ceased two short years later. The arena later became known for being the home of the junior B Waterloo Siskins, who have been a part of the fabric of the city for generations. The neighbouring big boys, the Kitchener Rangers, also played intermittently in Waterloo in the 1960's, 70's and 80's during occasions when the city-owned Memorial Auditorium was booked up with other tenants.

The city of Waterloo never properly maintained the building though, and by 1987 the building was condemned as structurally unsafe. The city complied by tearing down half of the building, as the grandstands, ice-making equipment, front facade and dressing rooms were all kept while the unsafe roof was torn down. Then - and here is where the story moves from the ridiculous to the sublime - the exposed part of the building was surrounded by a giant inflated kevlar bubble. The city then continued as if nothing at all was amiss about having their main arena partially demolished while still hosting a full schedule of hockey games. The Waterloo Memorial Rec Complex opened next door in 1993 and the Siskins moved into the new building, but ice shortages in the city of Waterloo forced the old facade and bubble to stay open until 2001, when the building was finally put out of its misery. In a final note of delicious irony, the property was redeveloped as the world-renowned Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, where geniuses from around the world contemplate slightly less weird things than enclosing half an old arena in a bubble.

Like quarks.
The Demolition of Waterloo Memorial Arena
Waterloo Memorial Arena

How To Get There

From the 401:
Exit at exit 278 (Highway 8 West) and follow 8 West for 5 km to Highway #85, towards #7 East. Proceed on Highway #85 for 5 km to Bridgeport Road exit. Turn right at the off-ramp, traveling West. Follow Bridgeport Road for 2 km into downtown Waterloo. Bridgeport is a four-lane one-way road. It becomes Caroline Street at Albert Street. Continue straight ahead. Travel forward another 200 meters, but ease over into the right hand lane. As you go down a hill and around a curve, look for the green Perimeter Institute sign on the right hand side. The parking lot entrance is just after the sign. The entrance is also just after the historic grist mill that sits on the edge of Silver Lake.
What's It Used for Today?
I don't know why the OHA failed in Waterloo, or why it began there in the first place for that matter. Waterloo Memorial Arena opened in 1947, but the much larger and nicer Memorial Auditorium opened in nearby Kitchener a mere four years later, and Kitchener got into major junior hockey in a big way. The driving distance between the two buildings is only about 5 kilometres, so I suppose it makes sense that older and larger Kitchener would be the major junior city. Apart from a few odd games played here by the Rangers when the Aud was booked by another group, the OHL has never been back to Waterloo, but Waterloo has taken some sort of revenge by becoming known for innovation and invention rather than hockey and an annual beer and sausage-fest. Perhaps it's emblematic of the new Waterloo that most of the site of the arena, as mentioned above, is now occupied by the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. There is no sign of the arena on the site, but the nearby Waterloo Rec Complex has a historic marker for the old building as well as the old war memorial stuff from the old building on display.
The Site of Waterloo Memorial Arena
Perimeter Institute


If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, please e-mail me at Email and I'll update the guide.



Copyright © Kevin Jordan 2002-07.
All rights reserved.
Last Revised: January 5, 2007