Raw, unfinished buildings were the best

Stettler’s rink, fair grounds hold many memories

By Carson Ellis For the Independent

I believe this one was around the late 50’s, early 60’s. It shows two of the twin structures that were really the heart of Stettler for so long. On the left is the former skating rink, and beside it is the curling rink. As I had stated in my last article, the curling rink celebrated 50 years on the town’s centennial, so this would make (most likely) both buildings fairly new at the time of this photo.

Unfortunately I don’t know the history of the buildings. They were farther uptown before, but not sure what prompted the move.

I remember going to Stampede Wrestling as well as a circus there. My brother played hockey when we were growing up, so I was usually there a lot with my mom for games and practices. I never was much for watching, so I usually wandered about with other siblings stuck there. The building was, as many such building were, rather basic. Exposed beams, and exposed/unfinished walls, and such. I always liked it really. Although the spotty lighting was kind of creepy, especially when someone would come out of seemingly no-where. You’d be hard pressed to find a building that had that rather “utility” interior built now.

Now people don’t build things unless they’re ridiculously well lit, and everything is drywalled, or painted. I always liked the “exposed” look of the arena.

The curling rink continues to be one of my favorite places. Maybe it’s because it’s an old building, and I tend to like old buildings more than new. I don’t curl, but faithfully stop by for the IODE sales, and get a little kick out of being inside. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because it is (in my opinion) a community hub and has been one for decades. The things that have happened there over the years, the laughs, and good times. For me, it just has a small town feel to it.

I have no idea what the small building roughly where the Agriplex sits, but it looks kind of neat.

The one thing I love about this photo, although it’s hard to see, is what I call the “Gate-Way.” Off to the lower right of the photo, you can just make out the two-towered gateway. I have fuzzy memories of it as a kid. I remember going through them to get to the fair, and the rodeo. I think the pad for one of them is still on the north-east corner of the fence.

This is the only view of have of them in any photo. As a kid, this was the logical way to get into the fair grounds. I remember thinking it was weird the first time we came through a gate in the fence. I think I told my dad we were going to the fair the wrong way and insisted we do it through the gate like we were supposed. Looking back, I fear the gate might have been torn down by that time.

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