The Trail Historical Society has kindly shared stories and photos of Greater Trail’s history.
After the opening of the Cominco Arena in 1949, the Trail & District Recreational Projects Society continued its tireless efforts to outfit the Greater Trail region with state-of-the-art recreational facilities and amenities. Sixty years ago this month, the Cominco Arena saw the completion of the kids’ rink addition. The Society’s hope to complete the project within 1953 was realized with a single day to spare, officially opening on December 30th. A long list of projects preceded this one, included the arena itself, the curling sheets within it, a breakwater on the Columbia River for summertime swimmers, lighting at Butler Park, and tennis courts. The Kids’ Rink project served to add an additional ice sheet for the growing youth hockey movement in Greater Trail and figure skaters.
Artificial ice was installed to a much higher cost than was initially anticipated. The society required a nominal loan to complete the project, which totaled $130,000. Setting themselves a completion date of Christmas 1953, the month of December that year produced mild temperatures and an onslaught of rain, which quickly seeped through the temporary roofing erected during construction. Many finishing features and lighting were put on hold until the following year as a result.
Several volunteers were responsible not only for fundraising, but also hours of labour. Mr. C.H. Wright, president of the Trail & District Recreational Projects Society thanked those people at the opening ceremony on December 30, 1953, subsequently handing the key to Mayor E.G. Fletcher.
The Trail Pipe Band serenaded the 500 attendees, followed by exhibitions from the Trail Figure Skating Club and the Trail Booster Hockey League. Finally, nearly 150 children laced up to try evaluate their newest facility.
Still used extensively to this day, the Cominco Arena continues to prove a valuable and necessary amenity to the region.