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.
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.
The Midland race track.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
A complete picture of the Midland Arena Gardens as seen behind the Cenotaph, located on King St., adjacent to the Midland Curling Club.
The Midland Legion Hockey team c.1950. Photo taken inside the Midland Arena Gardens.
The Midland Jaycees Hockey team, 1971. Taken inside the Midland Arena Gardens.
C. 1900, the Midland Hockey Team. Photo by local photographer, J.W. Bald.
The Midland Dog races arena. To the left is the Midland Curling Clubs, to the right, the Midland Arena Gardens.
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.
Midland East Ward School Hockey team. Back row: McGregor, Simpson and McGill. Front: Scott, McMillan, Kinee and Osborne.
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.
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.
Midland Men’s OHA Team, C. 1910.
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.