‘Much-needed renovation’ will require arena to close this April and reopen for the 2025-2026 ice season, officials say

The Brian Orser Arena will soon be undergoing extensive renovations aimed at updating and enhancing the arena’s facilities, systems and user experience. It is anticipated that Brian Orser Arena will close this April and reopen for the 2025-2026 ice season.

“The much-needed renovation of Brian Orser Arena will add 20-to-25 years to the life of the arena and provide a more accessible, greener and energy-efficient facility for our residents and user groups,” said Mayor Don McIsaac.

“While adjustments are necessary during this period, we are working closely with facility user groups to minimize disruption and we appreciate the cooperation and flexibility they have shown during this process.”

Recognizing the temporary closure’s impact on user groups, City staff have worked diligently to accommodate ice and floor surface time at Rotary Place through transitioning to 50-minute timeslots and extending operating hours.

The renovation project involves the replacement of major components of the facility including:

  • Ice surface pad replacement – ​​demolition of existing ice surface pad and installation of new under-pad systems and ice surface pad to provide an optimal ice experience.
  • Refrigeration system overhaul – installation of a new refrigeration system to ensure ice quality and energy efficiency.
  • Replacement of rink boards, glass, players’ benches and bleachers; a complete makeover, providing a modern, safe and accessible environment.
  • Changeroom and meeting room additions – change to the layout of changerooms and meeting spaces to increase accessibility and ease of use.
  • Furniture, fixtures, and equipment upgrades – new amenities to provide a more comfortable and enjoyable experience for everyone visiting the arena.
  • Roofing update – re-roofing to guarantee structural integrity and longevity and increase energy efficiency.
  • Energy-Efficiency – installation of updated electrical and energy-efficient mechanical systems throughout the facility to align with the City’s commitment to environmental sustainability and the Climate Change Action Plan.
  • Exterior update – refresh of the exterior of the building as part of the expanded footprint.

“We’ve completed a pre-qualification process for contractors and project bids for the construction project will be received and evaluated in April 2024,” said Roger Young, General Manager of Environment and Infrastructure Services. “Once the successful contractor has been selected, we will be mobilizing immediately, at which time the Brian Orser Arena will be closed to the public and user groups.”

The City has retained a project management firm specialized in recreation facility construction that will work on the City’s behalf to provide quality control and oversight of project deliverables, costs and schedule throughout the project. It is anticipated the project will be completed for the 2025-26 ice season; However, the schedule will be finalized once the general contractor to complete the work is selected.

Built in 1974, the arena was originally called Twin Lakes Arena. Its name was changed in 1984 to honor Olympian Brian Orser, who learned his world-class form at the Gill Street rink. At 50 years old, a number of building features are at the end of their useful life and need to be replaced. As a result, $12,400,000 was approved by Orillia City Council as part of the 2024 Capital Budget process for the renovation.

For more information regarding the Brian Orser Arena Reconstruction project, and to sign up for updates, please visit orillia.ca/BOA.