Northern Ontario Society of Architects: the Event Centre belongs Downtown

The following letter was written by the Northern Ontario Society of Architects, a group of 34 architects from Northern Ontario, and sent to Mayor Brian Bigger, Members of Council, and Ron Henderson, Special Advisor to the CAO. 

Re: Greater Sudbury Sports and Entertainment Centre 

Success in public office demands a bold yet balanced blend of enlightened leadership and sound management. Architects hold a similar trust, often called upon by those in office to help shape our communities, our public domain. It is the opinion of NOSA members, through our professional expertise and experience that the proposed Events Centre should be located in the downtown core. 

History writes of successes in the public domain, and for the City of Greater Sudbury there are several to note. For those making Sudbury home in the early 1900’s, community leaders balanced work in the mines and on the rails with a connection to the natural beauty of the Canadian Shield. A streetcar line bonded Downtown with Copper Cliff and Ramsey Lake, allowing access to work, commerce and recreation. It is heartening today that we have community leadership that is again building on this history with the Elgin Greenway. 

Inspired by the vision of a connected community rooted in a rich tradition of natural resources and a spectacular natural environment, our leaders have made a culture of health a sustained priority for over a generation. The re-greening of Sudbury and the continuing improvement of air and water quality have been balanced with a vision to have the City serve a Hub for health services in the North. Health practitioners are now fully trained here and practices flourish in our region. Our tradition of hospitality has also enabled patients from remote communities to be brought here for treatment and rehabilitation, and an emerging era of research in health sciences is well under way. 

Our leaders have also developed a global outreach in our training, college and university programs which have served to deeply enrich the cultural diversity, hospitality and respectfulness of our community. 

Leadership vision has also provided us with projects such as the McEwen School of Architecture which is brilliantly set within the living lab of Downtown where students learn first-hand about the challenges and rewards of designing and building in our community and others akin to it in the North around the world. The interweaving of First Nations, Anglophone and Francophone cultures, languages and traditions is also serving to guide the path of this project to become an international leader in architectural education. 

Concurrent with the architectural school, and soon to be a neighbour to it on Elgin Street downtown, the Place des Arts exemplifies collaborative leadership in the Francophone arts community, bringing together a whole host of talent in a breathtaking multi-functional creative facility, continuing to build on our strengthening sense of what is means and feels to be of Sudbury. 

The successes flowing from all of these leadership decisions have served together to shape Sudbury as a remarkable community in the North and Sudburians as uniquely hospitable, intrepid, creative, tenacious, respectful people. 

So, as with the forging of the early bonds of Downtown with the mines and Ramsey Lake, the opening of the Sudbury Arena by His Worship Mayor Beaton and Council in 1951 provided a place for the community to gather for sports and events, a further affirmation of the importance of public places as part of a Sudburian’s experience Downtown. A new Events Centre Downtown is the next chapter in the written history of successes in the public domain that define and celebrate Sudbury. 

Your Worship and Members of Council, we trust that the rich tradition of successful leadership outlined above will serve as inspiration in defining a path forward for this most significant project. Your consideration, understanding and conclusion that the Events Centre is best suited in the Downtown of Sudbury will shape the experience of Sudbury and Sudburians for the next generation. 

Respectfully Submitted, 

Northern Ontario Society of Architects

Located in 14 communities across Ontario, the Local Architectural Societies are the regional chapters of the OAA, providing opportunities for dialogue between local architects and the wider architectural community. The Northern Ontario Society of Architects is led by a group of architects from across Northern Ontario. With a constituent group of 34 members and a geographical reach ranging from locations such as Sudbury, Parry Sound, Timmins, Manitoulin Island, NOSA provides a venue for dialogue between local architects and our Northern communities, where we deliver opportunities for leadership, continuing education and community outreach.