Heritage Committee asks Sens to reconsider downtown move

by Joe Boughner (@McLlwainsWorld)

With this week's news that both bids for the redevelopment of Lebreton Flats include an NHL-sized arena, Senators fans across the city are once again talking about the benefits of a downtown rink.

Out in the west end, though, a group of heritage preservationists are greeting these developments with a mix of outrage and sadness.

"As long as we've had mass human settlement in the Carp River corridor, we've had NHL hockey," explained Johnny Hazel, president of the West Kanata / North Stittsville Heritage Committee (WKNSHC).

"The Senators legacy is as important to the story of this region as the high tech complexes on Palladium and the golf course / school thingy over across from that all-you-can eat sushi place on Hazeldean."

When the Canadian Tire Centre was first built way back in 1996, nothing but fields surrounded the sprawling arena and parking facility. Today, though, the area is home to thriving residential, commercial and industrial facilities.

"We call it the city that Bruce built," explained Hazel, in reference to Sens' founder Bruce Firestone. "But it's about so much more than the economic development, you know? This is the story of the human experience."

"Kids grow up, families buy homes, they pick out their new cars over at the auto mall, they get a beavertail in the parking lot at the outlet mall... rites of passage, all of 'em."
"The City Bruce Built," as seen from outer space.

"I met my wife in lot 6," reflected local resident Bill Carper.

"It was a game against the Habs back in aught-three. We both stuck around to see the three stars and you know how jammed up the parking lots get after games, eh bud? Well we were sitting there in our cars, trying to merge into the exit lane, and our eyes met. Then some buddy rear ended the both of us and let's just say I got more than her insurance info!"

For his part, Hazel was worried what would happen to his daughter's vast collection of red clothing.

"Going to the Red Zone was part of her life growing up. We wore red, we were united in red, we were even fearless that one year. All to the soothing sounds of some three piece acoustic band covering Blue Rodeo's 'Try,'" he lamented.

"If the Sens move, where is she going to go to wear red? The frickin' Food Basics? I don't think so!"

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