This Week in History
Where Agriculture (and Hockey) Were King
For the week of Monday March 6, 2006
On March 7 and 8 March 1903, Ottawa's Aberdeen Pavilion hosted a hockey tournament where teams challenged for the Stanley Cup. At the end of the tournament, the Ottawa Silver Seven, the Original Ottawa Senators, claimed their first Stanley Cup!
However, the Aberdeen Pavilion was not specifically designed as a hockey venue. Its history begins in 1868 with the founding of the Ottawa Agricultural Society, which, the following year, acquired a block of land along the Rideau Canal in the then-rural outskirts of Ottawa for holding agricultural exhibitions. Now called Lansdowne Park, this land has been used for an annual fall fair, several provincial expositions, and two dominion exhibitions.
Erected in two months, the Aberdeen Pavilion — named after Lady Aberdeen, the wife of the contemporary Governor General — housed agricultural exhibits. It also served several other purposes throughout its existence. It was used as military barracks during both the Boer and First World wars, as an ice rink, and as a home for cattle during more recent exhibitions.
The Aberdeen Pavilion was designated a National Historic Site in 1983 and, in 1998, a plaque was erected commemorating the history of this distinctive structure.
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