MONTREAL – The revered Centennial Plaza at the Bell Centre has a new permanent home.
Centennial Plaza, originally opened in 2008 as part of the organization’s festivities surrounding its 100th Anniversary, had been earmarked for development in the past year as part of the Tour des Canadiens condominium project. The official launch of the first phase of the latter was held on Thursday morning. In recent months there had been much discussion as to how the Plaza would be re-incorporated into the Bell Centre environs with the multitude of construction projects in the immediate vicinity, yet Canadiens owner Geoff Molson laid to rest all speculation in unveiling the striking vision for what is effectively considered the team’s “outdoor museum”.
“It has always been essential for us to honor our greatest legends and teams, coupled with the bricks personalized by fans as testament to their passion and attachment to the club, in an area accessible to the public at large for generations in a setting worthy of the iconic moments and history it celebrates,” said Molson. “We are happy to unveil to you our vision for what will become the permanent home for Centennial Plaza, a place Montrealers and visitors to the city will be able to enjoy for decades to come.”
Slated to open in 2016 alongside the new Tour Deloitte office tower, the next iteration of Centennial Plaza will be found on the eastern part of the Bell Centre – outdoors and adjacent to Windsor Court and the Montreal Canadiens Hall of Fame. It will comprise every element of its predecessor, including the 100 greatest moments through the team’s first century, tributes to all 24 Stanley Cup-winning clubs and the 17 men whose jerseys have been retired by the organization, the four statues honoring Howie Morenz, Maurice Richard, Jean Beliveau, and Guy Lafleur, the team’s logo monument featuring all major award winners and every player through the first 100 years of the franchise, and the thousands of fan-personalized bricks.
Molson also confirmed that due to the risk of damage inherent in the removal and storage of existing bricks, the club would absorb the cost of ordering an entirely new set of bricks complete with the original inscriptions made by fans.
Centennial Plaza will once again be accessible to the public 365 days a year. Situated next to a redesigned courtyard by the Tour Deloitte, when complete the space as a whole promises to be a popular oasis at the heart of the downtown core.