This structure, located in Moncton, New Brunswick, was designed and constructed by R.C. Donald between 1921 and 1922. It was apparently inspired by Roman Arenas, but was originally designed with a concrete, conical roof. As the building neared completion, cracks appeared about 3 metres from the rim. The building inspector demanded the roof be changed to wood.
At considerable expense, the concrete roof was removed and the concrete used as the foundation of Donald Street in Moncton. The rink was finally opened and served as a sporting and concert venue, featured festivals, pageants and carnivals when not in use as a skating rink.
On February 26, 1928, a fire destroyed the roof of the structure
Located pretty much in someone's back yard, I sorta tip-toed through the tall grass to go inside. The description above, regarding the inspiration of the Roman Arenas was very evident when you stand in the middle and look around.
There are some stories I've read about the place indicating that the fire that destroyed the roof also claimed lives, but the sources were questionable, and inconsistent. If you find yourself in Moncton, it's kind of a neat place.
I grew up a stone's throw from the old Sunny Brae Arena on Rockland Dr in the 60's and 70's. The land around the arena was a swamp and would freeze over in the winter and made for a perfect place to skate and play pick up hockey. We used to bring our scoops and shovels and keep the snow cleared. Fond memories indeed, It was amosquito factory in the spring so the City of Moncton drained it and we lost our outdoor skating rink. :(
I was trying to find out what was known about the fire at the Sunny Brae Rink. I had some pics taken there this summer and it got me looking :-)
According to a site administered by Parks Canada, the fire traces back to a new Ray-Glow heating system which was essentially a fireplace with an open ended natural gas line. It also indicates that one young girl was killed in that fire.
YES A YOUNG GIRL FROM HIGH ST DIED THERE SHE CAUGHT FIRE IT WAS A DRESS UP CARNIVAL NIGHT. ..SHE LATER DIED OF HER INJURIES AND SOON THE RINK WAS BURNT DOWN. COULD. HAVE BEEN CONNECTED ,,,NO ONE KNOWS I USED TO LIVE BY IT AND PLAYED IN THE RUINS AS A CHILD AT THAT TIME NOT KNOWING ITS SIGNIFICANCE
My grandmother's great uncle through marriage was rc Donald... She skated there often...also, my grandfather played saxophone in the ymca band...they would play for skating and he would skate with my grandmother during breaks while they were courting! They were married in 1924.
My grandmother Hazel Blakney Price lived up the hill from this rink on Centre Street. The night of the fire she saw the flames from her upstairs bedroom window - a story she told my mother. It has long been thought that the father of the girl that died burnt down the rink a few days following her death. No charges were ever laid.