Hockey Gods



Uploaded By: PRESIDENT on May 1st, 2023

Halifax Skating Rink Company built the Empire Exhibition Building in 3 months during the summer of 1879. It opened in September.

On the corner of Tower Road and Morris St, the main building was oblong in shape, being 231 feet long, 80 feet wide, with towers 20 feet square at each corner. Another tower in front, 40 X 50 feet, formed an octagon after it reached the second story. This main tower was 90 feet high, covering four stories and a garret. A red slate coloured mansard roof with venting fans.

You entered by a semi-circular drive, which led to the main entrance on Tower Road. The building was the largest in Nova Scotia at that time and was the first permanent Exhibition Building in Halifax.

The main entrance was faced with an open portico, with glass doors opening into a large entrance hall. The ground floor contained offices and the grand Empire Exhibit Hall, also known as "Exhibition Rink" which had a wide balcony of 11ft squared around the upper floor of the building, allowing a good view of the main floor, and windows looking outside. The second floor also contained an art gallery. The ladies and men’s retirement rooms were on the ground floor at opposite ends.

The other towers were furnished for ordinary exhibition purposes. During the day, the building was lighted by floor-to-ceiling windows and at night, the lighting was by gas lanterns.

The exhibition hall was designed for skating in the winter, having a nearby fire hydrant for flooding to create ice. Approximate 10 inch high boards squared the surface of the ice.

Used for public skating and fancy dress ice carnivals during the early days, masquerades, concerts, exhibitions and balls were held there including a gala ball on the occasion of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887.

Halifax was also flourishing with ice Hockey, having already published “Halifax Hockey Club Rules” considered to the 1st for ice Hockey rules. The Halifax County League played in exhibition rink.

Many teams played games and practiced at exhibition rink, Dartmouth Chebuctos, Halifax Wanderers, Halifax Victorias, Halifax Crescents and the Halifax Eurekas to name some teams.

All of this early Hockey being played at exhibition rink had to have equipment, with the Dartmouth based Starr Manufacturing suppling Acme Club Skates and their patented self fastening Hockey skates. The local Mi’kmaq people, who were master carvers supplied various shaped sticks for play, leading up to the basic shape of a Hockey stick we have today. Pucks were sliced from tree branches with bark removed at first, then sliced rubber cricket balls until Hockey purpose rubber pucks were in full use everywhere.

Unfortunately "an act was passed in 1896 to enable the city council to sell the Exhibition Building and grounds. New exhibition buildings with a rink, later destroyed by the Halifax Explosion, were erected on the corner of Robie and Windsor Streets at the end of the century.


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