Moose Jaw is largely defined by its architecture — from the cluster of antique brick buildings in the city’s core, to the multitude of gothic public schools with their trademark bell towers. In the Friendly City, there are plenty of old, interesting buildings, which is largely what makes Moose Jaw unique.
It is also for this reason that while Tuesday’s announcement of the Civic Centre Plaza Inc. project to replace the iconic Civic Centre hockey rink with a retail development is indeed a happy occasion, it is also one that comes with perhaps a modest degree of lament.
According the designer for the new project, the 52-year-old Civic Centre was simply built too specifically for housing an ice rink. While the building was indeed innovative, it is also very expensive and difficult to use as anything other than an arena.
For Civic Centre Plaza Inc., the compromise is to replace the building with a development that honours the former home of the Warriors in both the new project’s name and design.
But it still isn’t going to be the same building. And within a very short period of time the Civic Centre rink will be gone — forever.
Perhaps in Moose Jaw more so than other communities, the loss of any old, familiar building has a deeper impact on its citizenry, because this city is so defined by its buildings.
In some ways, this sense of loss is perhaps an extension of the human condition, which struggles with the infinite impermanence of all things. As much as we might cling, there isn’t a building in Moose Jaw or anywhere else that will stand forever, just as there is no one who can escape from the ultimate truth of mortality.
However, things have a way of being both cyclical and evolving, and now is a time for celebration. The loss of the Civic Centre will give way to a new era along Main Street North, next to Town ‘n’ Country Mall. This new Civic Centre Plaza retail centre aims to bring, among other things, new restaurants of a bent that is currently underrepresented locally.
And besides, with the developer’s plan to create an anchor building with the feel and look of the Civic Centre, it means those entering Moose Jaw from the north will still see a familiar, iconic image sitting high atop the little escarpment overlooking Hillcrest Golf Course.
Hopefully, the new structure will be such that it fits with the sense of unique architecture that largely defines Moose Jaw.
All Times-Herald editorials are written by the editorial staff.