What’s next for the Canadian Tire Centre?
The Canadian Tire Centre will remain the home of the Ottawa Senators as the club takes the next step in building a new arena at LeBreton Flats. (Dave Charbonneau/CTV News Ottawa)
Now that the Ottawa Senators are one step closer to moving downtown, what does that mean for the Canadian Tire Centre and the businesses in the Kanata area?
The CTC was once called the Palladium when construction was completed in 1996. Now the future of this hockey and music venue is in question if the Sens move to LeBreton Flats.
Javed Somra owns the Boston Pizza in Kanata Centrum. A lot of his business comes from hockey fans.
"If they move, obviously it’s going to be a big loss," says Somra.
He knows if the Sens leave, they will be taking with them many of his customers.
"We benefit from the hockey games. There’s concerts. There’s always something going on at the Canadian Tire Centre and everybody benefits from it," says Somra. "It is a concern. As long as they bring something in there that replaces the crowds that we get, we don’t mind. But what? That is the question."
The city councillor for the area, Allan Hubley, says even if the team does move, the possibilities for the current arena are endless.
"The future of this place will get determined once they know for sure they’re moving," says Hubley. "If we have to lose the team, an entertainment district is a great idea. Because it will provide people coming out here, using the restaurants, the hotels and all that stuff, on a weekly basis."
Residents in Kanata have mixed feelings about the move.
"I’m OK with them here in Kanata," says one resident. "But it should have been downtown years ago."
"For me it doesn’t matter," says Kanata Resident Dan Longpre. "If it gets more people going then it’s probably better for the team."
"Really crummy," says Kanata resident Dannette McLeod. “Because I think they bring a lot of business. They spur on the economy. People come to Kanata, they enjoy a lot of things about Kanata.”
The Ottawa Senators insist they will not abandon Kanata.
"We know that that is the home of the Ottawa Senators and our concert promoting business and everything else for the next several years, so we're not abandoning Canadian Tire Centre," said Anthony LeBlanc, Ottawa Senators president of business operations.
"Canadian Tire Centre will continue to be the home of the Senators and we'll continue to invest in that facility. What will happen with that building once we get to a point of having a new arena at LeBreton Flats? I don't have an answer to that. These are very early days and that's probably one of the last things that we'll focus on."
Although nothing is set in stone, Hubley says moving the team will leave a big gap in the west end of Ottawa.
“When this is empty, absolutely there’s going to be some local pain to it," says Hubley. "It’s going to be pain for the Senators because they are going to be leaving a lot of their supporters behind."
Supporters like Somra.
"Going downtown, would I do it? I don’t think I would," says Somra.