Years passed and unfortunately the Verdun Auditorium wasn’t getting any younger. Despite the many renovation projects since its opening in 1939, some of its infrastructure was aging. That was the case, in particular, of the Freon refrigeration systems for its skating rinks. With the implementation of new environmental standards, these systems had to be fully replaced. Renovations therefore had to be contemplated for the building’s 75th anniversary. No problem: The arena will take the opportunity to get a facelift!
Thanks to its heritage value and its importance in the community, the Auditorium managed to hold its head high through the discussions about its future. In fact, the planned renovations will revamp the building and give it a contemporary look, while keeping its air of yesteryear. Architect Éric Gauthier, a partner in Les Architectes FABG, designer of the project concept, summarized very well the importance of the Verdun Auditorium in these words:
We asked ourselves what gives this place its value and interest. That’s a heritage question that isn’t a simple one, that isn’t the question for very beautiful, classified historical buildings. There are buildings like this one, that belong to the urban landscape, where major events took place, that are rooted in the population’s imagination and that, perhaps, deserve to be kept
Verdun Borough Mayor Jean-François Parenteau explains what the Auditorium represents to him:
Cultural officer Marc Daoust reminisces about the Auditorium:
The proposed layout will make it possible to keep the present structure of the Auditorium and Aréna Denis-Savard. It will create a common central space that will be open at its ends, providing a unique view overlooking the river on one side and the city of Montréal on the other. It will therefore be a site which makes the old interact with the new in a creative way. The new amphitheatre will maintain a seating capacity of 3,700, which will help attract major events, as was the case in the past.
So many memories are associated with this building! For a number of people, the Verdun Auditorium represents more than a simple local arena. It is a sport, political and cultural temple, with a soul, and is the pride and joy of an entire community!