Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre opened its doors 17 years ago in 2004. The Town of Port Hawkesbury was looking for a unique facility that could host not only the local community, but also offer diverse spaces that could welcome and host local, national, and international events. They envisioned a facility that pioneered green building concepts and technology. This included stepping outside the box by including an ice rink that can operate solely on natural daylight. Their pioneering did not go unnoticed - the high-quality facility with natural daylight and other green concepts was recognized by the major publication Business Week and included in their series ‘Top Ten World-Class Sports Stadiums'.
When designing this facility, Robert Ojolick, FRAIC, recalled the design process being a very creative one. This building would be replacing an older one that was outdated and no longer met the needs and goals of the community. “The town council wanted to create a building for Port Hawesbury that was more than just rooms and spaces to use. They needed versatile spaces, located in one building where the members of the community could gather. A town hall with cultural facilities including an art gallery, performance theatre, recreation and conferences spaces were only some of the purposes of this new building” says Ojolick.
“We kept in mind that this building was going to be adjacent to a popular school, which had its own distinct facilities, including a library, public pool and theater spaces. We wanted to combine the two spaces, creating a large community venue for community members and visitors. The school and civic centre became connected for both students and the community” says Ojolick.
Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre hockey arena features natural daylight – something rarely done for this type of space. The town council asked the question ‘could we get natural daylight in the building for the hockey arena?’ and Ojolick Architects delivered by using Solera, an engineered daylight diffuser manufactured in nearby Sydney, Nova Scotia. “This space is rented out for every type of event – not just hockey. The town wanted a daylighted space as an asset for the community to use and enjoy. The building owner was conscious of interior lighting in the arena space. The lights are turned off early in the morning and stay off until 3 or 4pm. This provides the centre and town with substantial savings to their power bill” says Ojolick. It also became the marquis feature in a facility with many green elements, because, in addition to saving energy, daylighting has such a positive impact on occupant experience and aesthetics.
People have been using this space for almost two decades. Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre has hosted world-famous events in the 2,500-seat hockey arena. Some notable events include Celtic Colours annual festival, the national Grand Slam of Curling, training camp for the NHL’s Florida Panthers, Under 17 World Hockey Championship, Montreal Canadiens alumni games and many more. When people enter the arena, they feel the difference natural daylight makes when playing games, gathering with friends and family, and celebrating and enjoying life together. Advanced Glazings Ltd. is proud to have been included in this innovative civic centre design and community space.