Only rubble remained at the old Pelham Arena site on Haist Street in Fonthill by Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. BOB LOBLAW

Officially opening on January 16, 1976, “the old barn” on Haist Street provided the stage for countless unforgettable memories over its 43 years of life.

Last week a wrecking crew moved in, though, tearing apart a facility that enjoyed widespread support even before it was built.

All but the front section was torn down by late last week. BOB LOBLAW

In 1975, Pelham Town Hall, service clubs, sports organizations, and the public came together in community fundraising efforts to help pay for its projected $525,000 construction cost. By September 16, 1975—the date of the Pelham Herald pages below—some $12,000 had been raised. The Pelham Arena was also the first recreational facility to benefit from the “Share Wintario” program, funded by the Ontario Lottery. In total, almost exactly half of the arena’s cost was funded through provincial grants.

Now starts the next chapter of the 4.5-acre site once home to orchards—a development of bungalows and townhouses, 37 in all, with construction starting in the spring. The developer says that “entry level” prices will likely start at $600,000—or $75,000 more than the cost of the entire arena back in the day.