By Tim Phelan, Marketing and Business Development Manager
TEN years ago this week, Winnipeg’s MTS Centre opened its doors for the first time. It’s remarkable to look back and see how Winnipeg has changed since that historic moment in the city's history. Suddenly, Winnipeg was back on the North American entertainment scene, attracting the world’s biggest acts on a regular basis. New venues, such as the fully restored Metropolitan Entertainment Centre and Tavern United began to emerge, taking advantage of a sudden influx of people breathing new life into the downtown core.
Seven years later, Winnipeg’s dream of NHL hockey someday returning was realized when True North Sports and Entertainment announced the Atlanta Thrashers were moving to Winnipeg's MTS Centre. The city erupted in celebration. Winnipeg’s busiest intersection was shut down for an impromptu street hockey game. Thousands braved rain, wind and cold weather to triumphantly celebrate the return of the NHL at The Forks, chanting the familiar ‘Go Jets Go’ in jubilant unison. Winnipeg got its mojo back.
When season tickets went on sale a few months later, well over 13,000 fortunate fans snatched up three years’ worth of seats in mere minutes. Thousands more were turned away, but that didn’t stop them from paying a few hundred bucks to get their names on a dauntingly lengthy waiting list and snatching game-day walk-up tickets at any opportunity.
Today, Portage Avenue bustles with pedestrian activity as construction cranes erect new structures to satisfy demand. The Sports Hospitality and Entertainment District (S.H.E.D.) is thriving, and a newfound pride in Winnipeg’s downtown is emerging. The fans that fill the MTS Centre seats are as loud as ever, and even the Jets, known throughout NHL history for their leanings toward mediocrity, seem to be finding their groove.
The concerts, the games and all the other events held at Portage and Donald are making an impact. Winnipeg’s downtown is once again an exciting place to be, and the MTS Centre is a big reason for the city’s newfound swagger.
Number TEN Architectural Group served as Associate Architects for the MTS Centre. Learn more about the project here: MTS CENTRE