The Montreal Forum – History of a City Landmark

Montreal Forum
City of Montreal Archives [1]

The Forum was once also once the home of some of the greatest names in hockey. Here are 19 facts of the Montreal Forum you didn’t know. The historic venue was quite successful, to say the least.

The Montreal Forum had a lot of mysterious character and a truly magical place. It was, of course, home to the world’s most successful sports franchise – the Montreal Canadiens. Home and visiting teams alike always upped their game when they played on the Forum’s ice.

19 Facts About The Montreal Forum You Didn’t Know

1  The Montreal Forum is a landmark that hosted the hockey world for 72 years!

2. It hosted 24 Stanley Cup Championships, 22 of which were for the Canadiens. Two of them were for the Montreal Maroons.

3. Only two visiting teams ever won the Stanley Cup on Forum ice in over 7 decades – the New York Rangers, who beat the Maroons in 1928, and the Calgary Flames who defeated the Canadiens in 1989.

Read also: 8 Most Iconic Montreal Landmarks – Must-See Attractions in Montreal

4. The Habs’ locker room displayed a collection of photographs of the Canadiens’ Hall-of-FamersThere were photos of Doug Harvey, Richard, Beliveau, Morenz, and many more!

It Used to be a Roller Rink!

5. Did you know that the Montreal Forum was first a roller rink? The Forum got its name from the original roller-skating rink that took up the space at the northeast corner of Atwater and Saint-Catherine West. The roller rink encircled an outdoor rink.

6. It was originally built by Joseph-Alphonse Christin in 1908.

7. The old Montreal Forum (built in 1908) was re-built in the 1920s. It had previously been an outdoor hockey rink that was used by many legends including Russell Bowie, Art Ross, and Frank and Lester Patrick. Eventually these men played in the NHL and made their way into the Hall of Fame as players and builders.

8. The Forum, which had 9,300 seats, was built in 1924 by the Canadian Arena Company. Originally, the arena was meant to be a 12,500-seat rink but finances caused it to be scaled down.

9. It took only 159 days to build the arena, costing $1.5 million (equivalent of $21.4 million in the present day).  When there was trouble finding financing, H.L. Timmins backed the project.

10. The Montreal Forum first opened its doors on November 29, 1924 as the home of the NHL’s Montreal Maroons from 1924-1938.

11. The Montreal Canadiens called the Forum home from 1926-1996.

12. The Forum’s seating capacity increased to 12,500 seats after adding 3,163 seats in 1949.

13. Another renovation in 1968, performed during the off-season brought the total seating capacity to 17,959 seats and improved the Forum’s air conditioning.

14. A new, latest technology score clock was installed above center ice in the mid-1980s with a color matrix board on each side.

The Last Game in the Montreal Forum

15. The last game played at the Montreal Forum was on March 11, 1996 with a win for the Canadiens, who beat the Dallas Stars 4-1.

16. In 1996, the Montreal Forum was gutted and many of its parts were auctioned off.

17. The Canadiens then moved to the Molson Centre, now the Bell Centre.

The Forum Today

18. The historic landmark was converted into an entertainment complex.

Montreal Forum facts
Sylvain Pastor [2]

19. The center rink is still intact, as is a section of the arena’s red seats, so hockey fans can visit and reminisce on the Habs’ glory days.

Montreal Forum
Photo Credit: Sylvain Pastor [3]

Today, as an entertainment complex (le Forum de Montréal) you can experience the Forum in a whole different way. Enjoy bowling, an arcade, a night out for some laughs at The Comedy Nest, a sports bar, and more

Take some time and visit the old Forum, which is one of Montreal’s most important landmarks when you are downtown at 2313 Sainte-Catherine Street West .

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Photo credit [1]: City of Montreal Archives Photo credit [2, 3]: Sylvain Pastor