Vancouver Centennial Plaque #28 – Denman Arena


1805 West Georgia Street


Devonian Harbour Park parking lot





In 1911, near the north-west corner of Georgia and Denman, Frank Patrick built a 10,000 seat arena – the largest in the world. It was the second artificial ice rink in Canada and the home of the Vancouver Millionaires, who defeated the Ottawa Senators to win the 1915 Stanley Cup.”

Credit: Vancouver Centennial Commission, Historic Plaque Program – list and documentation plaques 1-49 (June 18, 1986). Courtesy of Vancouver Archives

The Patrick family were hockey pioneers. Joe was a lumberman who built up a very successful company and his two eldest sons, Lester and Frank, were professional hockey players. When Joe sold his business in 1911, he made a profit of around $440,000 (over $12,000,000 today) and the family decided to establish their own professional hockey league, based in BC, and build two arenas for it – one in Vancouver and the other in Victoria. The Pacific Coast Hockey Association was incorporated on December 1911, as were the Vancouver Curling Club and the Connaught Skating Club.

The Denman Arena was built on the site of the Kanaka Ranch (which we’ll look at later). It held 10,500 people and was the largest indoor arena in Canada – in North America, it was second only to Madison Square Garden in New York. The Arena was the home of the Vancouver Millionaires team and hosted the Stanley Cup championship four times. The 1915 series is still the only time the Stanley Cup has been won by a Vancouver team. In 1921, the Arena hosted the first international women’s hockey championship.

In 1936, 4,000 attended a boxing match at the Arena. Later that night, a fire broke out in Coal Harbour and spread to the building. The Arena was destroyed, although the concrete floor survived and was adapted into an outdoor dance floor, called The Starlight.

The Patricks are often called “Hockey’s Royal Family” and helped make the game what it is today. I won’t go into detail about each of their accomplishments, but five of them have been inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame, four into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and seven have “won” the Stanley Cup – either as a player or on the managing side.

For more info, you can read about Joe, his sons Lester and Frank, grandsons Lynn and Muzz, great-grandsons Glenn, Craig and Dick, and even his great-great-grandsons Curtiss and Chris!

Sadly, no plaque for this one. In 1986 file in the Archives say that this plaque was up, but on a street light pole, so it’s understandable that it doesn’t exist anymore.

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