what’s that smell?


I’m not referring to the stench of political corruption in Bells Corners or to Jay’s socks.

About 20 emergency vehicles and around 50 first responders converged on Bell Arena late last night: fire trucks, police cars, paramedics, hazardous materials trucks, etc. The area around the arena and Bell H.S. was sealed off.

Someone had reported an overpowering aroma outside the arena, something that smelled like ammonia, a colourless gas with a characteristic pungent odour. Exposure to gaseous ammonia can result in lung damage and death. The hypothesis was that the new refrigeration system was leaking.

I watched for about half an hour as a steady stream of first responders arrived (it’s amazing that they didn’t get lost since the strip hasn’t yet been renamed Lloyd Francis Boulevard).

Some firemen climbed up on the roof to check it out, but mostly everyone just stood around “waiting for someone to show up with the keys.”

Here’s some more info on Bell Arena, gleaned from Bruce S. Elliott’s book The City Beyond, A History Of Nepean. Dr. Elliott is seen in this Youtube tearing a strip off of Rick for his sneaky Lloyd Francis Boulevard boondoggle – good thing the councillor was forced to back down by enraged Bells Corners residents and businesses. His flip-flop put him in Liberal Jim Watson’s doghouse and ended his dream of ending up in the mayor’s chair.

In 1965, Nepean wasn’t a city yet. The Nepean Hockey Association was formed from basically four existing leagues (Bell’s Corners, City View, Greenbelt and Manordale) in the Township of Nepean. Hockey was played on outdoor rinks (like Brooklane and Meadowlands Public Schools), and at the Uplands Arena (if you’ve been there, you KNOW how old it is!).

Earlier, in 1962, a committee began planning to get indoor arenas built in the area. Registration fees were at an “all time” high of $2-$3 per player in Bell’s Corners (max. $6 for a family). City View charged $2.50 per player, which included insurance and practice ice. Greenbelt was the most expensive ($120 PER TEAM) because they played at Uplands…at least until the ice plant “packed it in” in Jan/63.

By June of 1964, fundraising for the new arenas began in earnest. The City View Community Association canvassed for $5.00 per household. The arena fundraising chairman, Gilbert Greenberg, set a goal of $60,000! Donations began (Irving Greenberg – $1500, Orr Unsworth – $1000, William Teron – $1000, Shoppers City IGA – $500). Arena plans were drawn up and tenders called for in January of 1965. Merivale and Bell Centennial Arenas were opened in the fall of 1965. The Sportsplex was built in 1973 and Walter Baker was last, in the 80’s.

I read in Dr. Elliott’s book that there was a plan to build a third rink in Bayshore right after Merivale and Bell were built but taxpayers protested and the project was cancelled. There was supposed to be a library branch built in Bayshore Accora Village at the time too, but that got chopped as well.

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One Response to what’s that smell?

  1. Tiny Abbott says:

    The reason wasn’t actually a leak of the new system! Kids had climbed onto the zamboni room at the back of the rink and were messing around! They turned a safety valve!

    It’s funny you caught the mistake of the address on the sign! I said something to the sign guys as they were putting it up! It has now been corrected!

    – Thanks for clearing up this mystery. The kids shouldn’t have been messing around – there were so many emergency vehicles on the scene that the cost to the taxpayer would be hefty. Should the parents be on the hook if they caught the kids and they were minors? That’s the way it works in some parts of Montreal – if they nab an underage graffiti tagger they bill the parents.

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