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January
14

Let's Skate in '48

posted by: The Royal Hotel Chilliwack on: January 14, 2020 04:36:02 PM

Public skating at the Coliseum in 1960

“Let’ Skate in ‘48” became the fundraising slogan and the beginning of the community’s decade long dream of having a covered multi-use arena in Chilliwack. Members of Chilliwack’s Rotary Club actually began fundraising in 1946 and after a year-long fundraising campaign had amassed $106,000 of the $200,000 goal.

But Chilliwack’s Coliseum took more than 10 years to finish. The new civic facility on Corbould Street opened in December 1958.

Coliseum under construction in 1957

Construction commenced on the Coliseum in April 1948 and the building progressed until May 1948 when the Fraser River spilled its banks; resulting in devastating flood damage throughout the Fraser Valley. Because of this major event, further construction of the Coliseum was not possible as resources of manpower and money was required for the flood clean-up.

Slowly over the next seven years and with volunteer efforts, a roof was added to the structure and seating was put in place. And although the civic structure was far from being complete, that did not stop the community from using it in its unfinished state.

1958 was B.C.’s Centennial year and with municipal, provincial and federal funding available the Coliseum was completed. Chilliwack residents celebrated its grand opening in December, 1958.

A new bonded roof was installed in 1959, replacing the original troublesome aluminum roof that was put in place between 1948 and 1955.


Chilliwack Progress, July 22, 1959

The Coliseum was home to hockey games, public skating, curling competitions, music concerts, equine events and other sports - like wrestling - before a new, larger building, complete with two sheets of ice, was constructed in 2004 at the corner of Hodgins and Ashwell Road.


Chilliwack Progress, May 20, 1960


Lacrosse at the Coliseum
Chilliwack Progress, April 4, 1973



Rick Hansen's Man in Motion tour stopped at Chilliwack  Coliseum May, 1987.
Chilliwack Progress, March 25, 1987

Chilliwack’s original Coliseum, dubbed the “Old Barn” was demolished in 2005.
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