Barton Street Arena, also known as the Hamilton Forum, was the main sports arena located in downtown Hamilton, Ontario Canada, on Barton Street between Sanford Street and Wentworth Street. It was built in 1910 at what was the east end of City at the time, by Andrew Ross (original owner) who was a local Hamilton businessman.
Originally, the Arena had a seating capacity of 4,500 and standing room for roughly 500 people. By 1977 it had a seating capacity of 2800 people. It was torn down in 1977 when the ice-making equipment broke down and the city decided it would be cheaper to demolish the arena than replace the old machinery. Today, there is residential housing on the site.
There were six entrances—three on Barton, and three on Bristol Street. The north side of the arena (the Barton Street side) housed the coat-check and the ladies' washroom. The five dressing rooms were located on the Bristol Street side, as well as a "smoking room", where patrons could enjoy the soothing weed (we assume they meant tobacco).
The Press Box was also on the south side, above the stands. The building was steam heated so patrons could watch the game in comfort. The ice surface itself, one of the largest in Canada at 200-feet by 80-feet, was lit by twenty-eight five-hundred-candle-power lights. After the first National Hockey League game was played in the arena between Hamilton and Montreal Canadiens; Montreal owner George Kennedy commented: "This is a fine arena. It's a lot better than I looked for. The lighting is excellent, the seating fine, and the ice surface the largest in the NHL. I am surely surprised."
It was home arena to the NHL's Hamilton Tigers, and the OHL's Hamilton Tiger Cubs, Hamilton Red Wings and Hamilton Fincups. The arena hosted the first game on the 1962 Memorial Cup. The Hamilton Red Wings won that game 5–2 versus the Edmonton Oil Kings.
- The OHL Arena & Travel Guide - Hamilton Forum
- Hamilton's Hockey Tigers, Sam Wesley w/ David Wesley (James Lorimer & Company Ltd., 2005)
- 20th Century Hockey Chronicle, Stan Fischler, Shirley Fischler, Morgan Hughes, Joseph Romain, James Duplacey (Publications International Ltd., 1999)
- Dictionary of Hamilton Biography, Vol III.(1925–39), Thomas Bailey Melville (W.L. Griffin Ltd., 1981)
- Hamilton Herald Newspaper articles, (1920–1925)
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