Midland Arena Gardens

The North Simcoe Sports and Recreation Centre was once the site of the Midland Arena Gardens. Opened 1931, it was regarded as one of the most modern buildings of its kind in Canada, with a reinforced roof that did away with interior pillars and allowed an unobstructed view of the ice surface from any section of the building. It boasted the only artificial ice surface between Toronto and Winnipeg, steam heating, opera chairs in the reserved seating area, an electric time clock and a Baldwin sound system to supply music for skating. Outside of hockey and skating events, it also hosted musical performances and wrestling matches featuring Whipper Billy Watson. It all came to an end when the arena suffered a devastating fire during a renovation project in the summer of 1976. This historic building was replaced by the Midland Centennial Arena two years later. In 2004, work was completed on Midland’s recreational jewel, the NSSRC.

1947 0144 0126

The Midland Race track, part of which ran through the current parking lot of the North Simcoe Sports and Recreation Complex. Photo by J.W. Bald.

1991 0001 0149

The Midland race track.

1993 0064 0001

Inside the Midland Arena Gardens. A state of the art roof for it’s time, there were no support pillars to obstruct the view of the audience.


Shares certificates for the Midland Arena Gardens, c.1932.

2002 0047 0850

These two photos were taken by Franz Johnson, a member of the Group of Seven. They are of the 1949 Midland Fall Fair, outside the Midland Arena Gardens which can be seen in the background.

2002 0047 0853


Another view inside the Midland Arena Gardens with a better view of the state-of-the-art roof. Photo by J.W.Bald. Caption reads “Midland arena, seating 1500, ice-75″X180″- Up to date seating plan, shower baths-restrooms-skaters rooms-restaurant-telephones-and exceptionally well lighted throughout. Photo by J.W. Bald Midland 1932.”

2012 0013 0014 Midland Fall Fair September 1949

Another photo of the 1949 Midland Fall Fair by Franz Johnson with the Midland Arena Gardens visible in the background.


Ted Beatty and Pat Kelly, goalies for the Midland Hockey team. Date unknown, taken inside the Midland Arena Gardens.

1990 0055 0053

A complete picture of the Midland Arena Gardens as seen behind the Cenotaph, located on King St., adjacent to the Midland Curling Club.

Legion Hockey team c1950

The Midland Legion Hockey team c.1950. Photo taken inside the Midland Arena Gardens.

January 1971  ( team hockey)

The Midland Jaycees Hockey team, 1971. Taken inside the Midland Arena Gardens.

2005 0004 0008 Midland hockey team

C. 1900, the Midland Hockey Team. Photo by local photographer, J.W. Bald.

2004 0083 0083 Dog races arena

The Midland Dog races arena. To the left is the Midland Curling Clubs, to the right, the Midland Arena Gardens.

1967 0035 0001 - hockey team C1905

Midland High School hockey team C. 1905-1907. Back row: Ernest Lavigne, W.A. Glass BA-assistant, Leo Hamelin, E. Simpson BA-Principal and Arthur Hanna. Front Row: Chantler Jeffrey, Howard hastings, Mr. James Playfair -chairman, Reginald Moses and Milton Hastings.

1954 0058 0061 -Midland east ward hockey

Midland East Ward School Hockey team. Back row: McGregor, Simpson and McGill. Front: Scott, McMillan, Kinee and Osborne.

1947 0316 0001 - Midland hockey team

The 1920 Midland Bankers Hockey team. Back row: unknown, unknown, unknow, Alex Preston, Unknown. Middle: Unknown, Unknown, Chas White, Gilmour Nesbitt, Unknown. Front: Both Unknown.

1947 0311 0006 MHS hockey team

Midland High School Hockey team, c. 1920. Back Row: Mr. Osborne, Mr. Glass, Mr. Fair, Mr. Preston and Mr. Lockhart. Middle: Mr. Strathearn, Mr. McGregor, Mr. Pratt and Mr. Hames. Front: Mr. Kinee and Mr. McGill.

1947 0304 0003 - Catholic hockey team

Midland Men’s OHA Team, C. 1910.

1947 0304 0002 -Midland Hockey Champions 1904

1904 Midland Hockey team, Champions of Northern and Eastern Ontario, called the Midland Arena Gardens home. In the background is the Town House elevator on Midland Harbour.

7 thoughts on “Midland Arena Gardens

  1. The 1904 team did not call the Arena Gardens home, since the MAG was not built until 1931. The photo of Ted Beatty and Pat Kelly is from the 1935-36 Intermediate A OHA season when they teamed on the Midland British Consols. The Consols were coached that year by ex-NHLer Bert Corbeau.

  2. The Midland Jaycees hockey team were a bantam rep squad which featured in its line-up future Midland Sports Hall of Famers Bruce Guthrie and Bill Beauchamp, who later went to Major Junior A and professional careers.

  3. The Midland Arena Gardens officially opened in January of 1932, with the artificial ice-making being installed for the following year. Among the hockey stars who skated on its ice included Hap Day (who played for Midland amateur teams), Charlie and Roy Conacher (who coached Midland’s only Junior C provincial championship team in 1954, Busher Jackson, Harry Lumley and Bobby Orr.

  4. 1970-71 Midland Jaycee bantams.

    Front row, left to right: Wilf Guthrie, Bruce Guthrie, Jim Stelter, Kerry Grant, Richard Buttineau, Chris Lyons.

    Second row, left to right: Doug Fox (manager), Don Offord, Ken Fox (captain), Dave Gamna, Bill Beauchamp, Jeff Champaigne, Neil Rutherford, Dirk Alberts, Al Gibson, Guy Ormiston, Randy Simpell, Crawford (Fawf) Wilcox (coach.

    Not pictured: Joe Gibson.

  5. Just wondering if you have any information on the Junior “C” Midland Indians hockey team from the mid sixties coached by Ralph Ironsides.

    • Keith, with a bit of searching we came up with the Midland Braves hockey team. There was also a Midland basketball team in the mid fifties by the same name. There are many articles on the Braves from 1968 and 1969, you were the captain at one time. No pictures in our files. Anything in particular, a certain game, big win, a date we can zone in on? There are about 40 hits, mostly items in the sports pages about games played.

      • Thank you Tom for your efforts and reply! It’s ok! We didn’t have any Champion teams but I appreciate the pictures you have sent me. It’s just nice to check out the teammates I played with and reminisce the old days. Thanks again!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s