Hockey Hall of Fame – Once at Exhibition Place

Between 1961 and 1971 – The Hockey Hall of Fame was once located directly across from the Food Building at Exhibition Place. Notice inside the entrance the "Face-Off" mural by Canadian artist Ronald Satok. The mural and entrance have been preserved at Gate 5 of BMO Field
Between 1961 and 1971 – The Hockey Hall of Fame was once located directly across from the Food Building at Exhibition Place (Courtesy of the Canadian National Exhibition Association Archives)

The Hockey Hall of Fame/Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame was once located directly across from the main entrance of the Food Building on Nova Scotia Ave at Exhibition Place in Toronto. The building faced south towards the former Exhibition Stadium & Grandstand, where the north portion of BMO Field stands today.

A Timeline of the Hockey Hall of Fame

In 1943, the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) agreed to establish a Hockey Hall of Fame in Kingston, Ontario. This was mainly due to the efforts of Captain James Sutherland, a native of Kingston and former president of the CAHA, who believed that the birthplace of hockey was Kingston.

Plans began to finance the project, and while there was no physical building, the Hockey Hall of Fame’s first twelve members were inducted in 1945. A few from the inaugural class include Howie Morenz (player), Georges Vezina (player), Lord Frederick Stanley (builder) and Captain James Sutherland (builder).

Through the early years, hockey legends continued to be inducted; however, high costs put the Hall of Fame construction in Kingston out of reach.

1955 – Canada's Sports Hall of Fame was once located in the Stanley Barracks at Exhibition grounds. It was only open during the CNE. The Hockey Hall of Fame also featured displays there from 1955 until 1960
1955 – Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame was once located in the Stanley Barracks at Exhibition grounds. It was only open during the CNE. The Hockey Hall of Fame also featured displays there from 1955 until 1960 (Courtesy of the Canadian National Exhibition Association Archives)

In 1955, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame was founded, and it was opened during that year’s CNE at Stanley Barracks on Exhibition grounds. They invited the Hockey Hall of Fame to set up a trophy exhibit. The display drew tremendous attention and continued over the next couple of years, with space gradually expanding.

Finding a Home at Exhibition Grounds

In 1958, the NHL and CAMA decided to withdraw their support of Kingston and make Exhibition grounds in Toronto the official site of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The NHL honoured the 31 players and nine builders who had already been inducted into the Kingston Hall of Fame.

Conn Smythe was a key figure in organizing the construction of the Hall. He began putting together the funding, securing the land with the city and supervising the construction of the $500,000 project.

In September 1960, hockey great and 1947 inductee Frederick “Cyclone” Taylor turned the sod at the ground-breaking ceremony. The architectural firm Allward and Gouinlock designed the Moderne style structure. The building was two storeys in height and featured an iconic entrance and mural, which have been preserved at Gate 5 of BMO Field.

August 26, 1961 – Prime Minister John Diefenbaker speaking at the opening ceremony of the Hockey Hall of Fame when it was located at Exhibition grounds. George Armstrong is standing at the flagpole, ready to raise the Toronto Maple Leaf's pennant
August 26, 1961 – Prime Minister John Diefenbaker speaking at the opening ceremony of the Hockey Hall of Fame when it was located at Exhibition grounds (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 5688)

The Hockey Hall of Fame Opens in Toronto

In August 1961, the Hockey Hall of Fame opened. Thousands attended the colourful ceremony that included speeches by officials and Prime Minister John Diefenbaker. Pennants of the six hockey teams were raised on flagpoles in front of the Hall – George Armstong (captain) for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Jean Béliveau (player but became captain later in the year) for the Montreal Canadiens, Doug Harvey (coach) the NY Rangers, Don McKenney (captain) for the Boston Bruins, Sid Abel (coach) for the Detroit Red Wings and Pierre Pilote (captain) for the Chicago Black Hawks raising their corresponding pennants.

Inside was a museum, theatre, and library of game lore and records, and while Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame did share the space, they eventually needed more. So, in 1967, a $400,000 wing was added to the east side of the building to further expand all sports except hockey.

By the mid-1980s, operating and maintenance costs on the building were multiplying. More space was also needed for the hockey shrine, so the search began for a new home. In June 1993, the Hockey Hall of Fame moved to its present-day location in the magnificent former Bank of Montreal building at Yonge St and Front St W.

2022 – The entrance of the former Halls of Fame featuring the "Face-Off" mural by Canadian artist Ronald Satok, the cast-in-place folded-plate concrete canopy, four granite columns, two-storey glazing and original glass doors have been preserved at Gate 5 of BMO Field
2022 – The entrance of the former Halls of Fame featuring the “Face-Off” mural by Canadian artist Ronald Satok, the cast-in-place folded-plate concrete canopy, four granite columns, two-storey glazing and original glass doors have been preserved at Gate 5 of BMO Field

Preservation of the Entrance

In 2006, the Halls of Fame building at Exhibition Place was torn down to make way for the soccer stadium; however, pieces of it have been preserved. This includes the iconic entrance featuring the “Face-Off” mural by Canadian artist Ronald Satok, the cast-in-place folded-plate concrete canopy, four granite columns, two-storey glazing and original glass doors. These heritage elements and pre-cast concrete panels have been reproduced at Gate 5 of BMO Field.

Granite from the former Hockey Hall of Fame building was also salvaged and used to make 18 heritage benches (14 around the perimeter of BMO Field and four at the Automotive Building). The benches were created by Toronto-based artist Stephen Cruise and feature etched drawings of historic buildings and events from the Canadian National Exhibition and Exhibition Place past.

Did You Know?

  • The first recorded hockey games were played in 1855 in Kingston and Halifax by members of the Royal Canadian Rifles Regiment, a unit stationed in both cities.
  • From 1955 until 1960, the Hockey Hall of Fame was located in Stanley Barracks, which was renamed in 1893 in honour of Governor General Lord Stanley. It was also Lord Stanley who donated the NHL’s most prized cup.
  • George Roper Gouinlock was one half of the team that designed the Hockey Hall of Fame at Exhibition grounds. His father, George Wallace Gouinlock, was the architect behind many buildings still in existence at Exhibition Place, including the Horticulture Building and Administration Building.
  • In 1958, even though plans fell-through with the NHL and CAMA, the Hockey Hall of Fame in Kingston opened in 1965. Today known as the Original Hockey Hall of Fame, it’s located in Kingston’s Invista Centre.
  • In 2011, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame opened at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary. The museum features galleries and interactive visitor experiences along with many artifacts and photos.

Hockey Hall of Fame Photos

1955 – Canada's Sports Hall of Fame was once located in the Stanley Barracks at Exhibition grounds. It was only open during the CNE. The Hockey Hall of Fame also featured displays there from 1955 until 1960
1955 – Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame was once located in the Stanley Barracks at Exhibition grounds. It was only open during the CNE. The Hockey Hall of Fame also featured displays there from 1955 until 1960 (Courtesy of the Canadian National Exhibition Association Archives)
1955 – Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in the Stanley Barracks, the year it was established. They invited the Hockey Hall of Fame to set up an exhibit
1955 – Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in the Stanley Barracks, the year it was established. They invited the Hockey Hall of Fame to set up an exhibit (Courtesy of the Canadian National Exhibition Association Archives)
1959 – Display case holding referees' bells and skates at Canada's Sports Hall of Fame/Hockey Hall of Fame, once located at the Stanley Barracks at Exhibition grounds
1959 – Display case holding referees’ bells and skates at Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame/Hockey Hall of Fame, once located at the Stanley Barracks at Exhibition grounds (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 5707)
1959 – Rocket Richard points to the display about Fred "Cyclone" Taylor and stands next to him at Canada's Sports Hall of Fame/Hockey Hall of Fame once located at the Stanley Barracks. Fred Taylor was born in 1884 in Tara, Ontario. He is considered one of hockey's first superstars, being both a beautiful skater and an incredible goal scorer. Along with assisting two teams to a Stanley Cup Championship in 1909 and 1915, he also won many scoring championships. Fred Taylor was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1947. He passed away in 1979
1959 – Rocket Richard points to the display about Fred “Cyclone” Taylor and stands next to him at Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame/Hockey Hall of Fame once located at the Stanley Barracks. Fred Taylor was born in 1884 in Tara, Ontario. He is considered one of hockey’s first superstars, being both a beautiful skater and an incredible goal scorer. Along with assisting two teams to a Stanley Cup Championship in 1909 and 1915, he also won many scoring championships. Fred Taylor was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1947. He passed away in 1979 (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 5699)
2022 – Fred "Cyclone" Taylor's plaque at the Hockey Hall of Fame reads:

"A brilliant hockey player who excelled at all aspects of the game, Fred "Cyclone" Taylor earned his nickname with his furious rink-length rushes. He began his career in eastern Canada and ended it on the west coast. A two-time scoring leader with the Vancouver Millionaires. Taylor was awarded the Order of the British Empire for his courageous efforts during World War II."

Player Inductee 1947
2022 – Fred “Cyclone” Taylor’s plaque at the Hockey Hall of Fame reads:

“A brilliant hockey player who excelled at all aspects of the game, Fred “Cyclone” Taylor earned his nickname with his furious rink-length rushes. He began his career in eastern Canada and ended it on the west coast. A two-time scoring leader with the Vancouver Millionaires. Taylor was awarded the Order of the British Empire for his courageous efforts during World War II.”

Player Inductee 1947
1959 – A display of famous hockey sticks at Canada's Sports Hall of Fame/Hockey Hall of Fame. The display also features information about inductees Red Dutton, Howie Morenz and Senator Donat Raymond
1959 – A display of famous hockey sticks at Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame/Hockey Hall of Fame. The display also features information about inductees Red Dutton, Howie Morenz and Senator Donat Raymond (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 5710)
1959 – NHL trophies and the Stanley Cup on display at Canada's Sports Hall of Fame/Hockey Hall of Fame were once located in Stanley Barracks at Exhibition grounds
1959 – NHL trophies and the Stanley Cup on display at Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame/Hockey Hall of Fame were once located in Stanley Barracks at Exhibition grounds (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 5711)
1959 – Prime Minister John Diefenbaker speaking at Canada's Sports Hall of Fame/Hockey Hall of Fame when it was located in Stanley Barracks. Behind the Prime Minster to the left is Mayor Nathan Phillips
1959 – Prime Minister John Diefenbaker speaking at Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame/Hockey Hall of Fame when it was located in Stanley Barracks. Behind the Prime Minster to the left is Mayor Nathan Phillips (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 5694)
1961 – The main entrance of the Hockey Hall of Fame during its opening year. The building was once located directly across from the Food Building on Nova Scotia Ave at Exhibition Place. The cast-in-place folded-plate concrete canopy, four granite columns and original glass doors have been preserved at Gate 5 of BMO Field
1961 – The main entrance of the Hockey Hall of Fame during its opening year. The building was once located directly across from the Food Building on Nova Scotia Ave at Exhibition Place. The cast-in-place folded-plate concrete canopy, four granite columns and original glass doors have been preserved at Gate 5 of BMO Field (Courtesy of the Canadian National Exhibition Association Archives)
Between 1961 and 1971 – The Hockey Hall of Fame was once located directly across from the Food Building at Exhibition Place. Notice inside the entrance the "Face-Off" mural by Canadian artist Ronald Satok. The mural and entrance have been preserved at Gate 5 of BMO Field
Between 1961 and 1971 – The Hockey Hall of Fame was once located directly across from the Food Building at Exhibition Place. Notice inside the entrance the “Face-Off” mural by Canadian artist Ronald Satok. The mural and entrance have been preserved at Gate 5 of BMO Field (Courtesy of the Canadian National Exhibition Association Archives)
1961 – Artist Ronald Satok painting the "Face-Off" mural at the entrance of the Hockey Hall of Fame once at Exhibition grounds. Both the entrance and mural have been preserved at Gate 5 of BMO Field
1961 – Artist Ronald Satok painting the “Face-Off” mural at the entrance of the Hockey Hall of Fame once at Exhibition grounds. Both the entrance and mural have been preserved at Gate 5 of BMO Field (Courtesy of the Canadian National Exhibition Association Archives)
August 26, 1961 – Prime Minister John Diefenbaker speaking at the opening ceremony of the Hockey Hall of Fame when it was located at Exhibition grounds. George Armstrong is standing at the flagpole, ready to raise the Toronto Maple Leafs pennant
August 26, 1961 – Prime Minister John Diefenbaker speaking at the opening ceremony of the Hockey Hall of Fame when it was located at Exhibition grounds. George Armstrong is standing at the flagpole, ready to raise the Toronto Maple Leafs pennant (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 5688)
1961 – A man looking at the Sod Turning Ceremony display inside the Hockey Hall of Fame once at Exhibition grounds. The sod was turned in September 1960 by hockey legend Fred "Cyclone" Taylor
1961 – A man looking at the Sod Turning Ceremony display inside the Hockey Hall of Fame once at Exhibition grounds. The sod was turned in September 1960 by hockey legend Fred “Cyclone” Taylor (Courtesy of the Canadian National Exhibition Association Archives)
1961 – The Hockey Hall of Fame was once located directly across from the main entrance of the Food Building on Nova Scotia Ave at Exhibition Place. The building faced south towards the former Exhibition Stadium & Grandstand, where the north portion of BMO Field stands today. The Hockey Hall of Fame was built in 1960/61 and demolished in 2006
1961 – The Hockey Hall of Fame was once located directly across from the main entrance of the Food Building on Nova Scotia Ave at Exhibition Place. The building faced south towards the former Exhibition Stadium & Grandstand, where the north portion of BMO Field stands today. The Hockey Hall of Fame was built in 1960/61 and demolished in 2006 (Courtesy of the Canadian National Exhibition Association Archives)
1962 – A woman sitting inside the Hockey Hall of Fame/Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, near the William Wrigley Jr Trophy and other displays. The Halls of Fame were once located at Exhibition grounds
1962 – A woman sitting inside the Hockey Hall of Fame/Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, near the William Wrigley Jr Trophy and other displays. The Halls of Fame were once located at Exhibition grounds (Courtesy of the Canadian National Exhibition Association Archives)
1964 – Visitors enjoying the displays and Stanley Cup inside the Hockey Hall of Fame once located at Exhibition grounds
1964 – Visitors enjoying the displays and Stanley Cup inside the Hockey Hall of Fame once located at Exhibition grounds (Courtesy of the Canadian National Exhibition Association Archives)
Between 1967 and 1971 – The Hockey Hall of Fame/Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame was once located directly across from the Food Building at Exhibition Place. The building faced south towards the former Exhibition Stadium & Grandstand, where the north portion of BMO Field stands today. The entrance of the Modernist structure featured a folded-plate concrete canopy supported by four granite columns. In 1967, an addition was constructed on the east side to include more space for Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. The building was torn down in 2006 to make way for the soccer stadium
Between 1967 and 1971 – The Hockey Hall of Fame/Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame was once located directly across from the Food Building at Exhibition Place. The building faced south towards the former Exhibition Stadium & Grandstand, where the north portion of BMO Field stands today. The entrance of the Modernist structure featured a folded-plate concrete canopy supported by four granite columns. In 1967, an addition was constructed on the east side to include more space for Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. The building was torn down in 2006 to make way for the soccer stadium (Courtesy of the Canadian National Exhibition Association Archives)
1970s – Crowds watching Jay Cochrane, a tightrope walker high above the Hockey Hall of Fame/Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame at the CNE. Notice the Alpine Way in the background
1970s – Crowds watching Jay Cochrane, a tightrope walker high above the Hockey Hall of Fame/Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame at the CNE. Notice the Alpine Way in the background (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 94, Item 105)
1967 – While Canada's Sports Hall of Fame did share the space at the Hockey Hall of Fame, an expanded area dedicated to all sports except hockey was needed. A $400,000 wing was added to the east side of the building. The Halls of Fame building was once located directly across from the Food Building on Nova Scotia Ave at Exhibition Place and faced south towards the former Exhibition Stadium & Grandstand. The building was torn down in 2006 to make way for the soccer stadium. Pieces of the Hockey Hall of Fame were preserved at Gate 5 of BMO Field and include the entrance and the “Face-Off” mural by Canadian artist Ronald Satok
1967 – While Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame did share the space at the Hockey Hall of Fame, an expanded area dedicated to all sports except hockey was needed. A $400,000 wing was added to the east side of the building. The Halls of Fame building was once located directly across from the Food Building on Nova Scotia Ave at Exhibition Place and faced south towards the former Exhibition Stadium & Grandstand. The building was torn down in 2006 to make way for the soccer stadium. Pieces of the Hockey Hall of Fame were preserved at Gate 5 of BMO Field and include the entrance and the “Face-Off” mural by Canadian artist Ronald Satok (Courtesy of the Canadian National Exhibition Association Archives)
1967 – Looking east between the Hockey Hall of Fame/Canada's Sports Hall of Fame and the Exhibition Stadium & Grandstand once located at Exhibition grounds
1967 – Looking east between the Hockey Hall of Fame/Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and the Exhibition Stadium & Grandstand once located at Exhibition grounds (Courtesy of the Canadian National Exhibition Association Archives)
1973 – The main facade of the Hockey Hall of Fame/Canada's Sports Hall of Fame at night. The building's entrance, including the "Face-Off" mural, was preserved at Gate 5 of the BMO Field. Granite from the building was also repurposed and made into 18 heritage benches which are located around the perimeter of BMO Field and near the Automotive Building
1973 – The main facade of the Hockey Hall of Fame/Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame at night. The building’s entrance, including the “Face-Off” mural, was preserved at Gate 5 of the BMO Field. Granite from the building was also repurposed and made into 18 heritage benches which are located around the perimeter of BMO Field and near the Automotive Building (Courtesy of the Canadian National Exhibition Association Archives)
Between 1978 and 1987 - An overhead view of the Exhibition Stadium & Grandstand and Hockey Hall of Fame/Canada's Sports Hall of Fame at Exhibition Place
Between 1978 and 1987 – An overhead view of the Exhibition Stadium & Grandstand and Hockey Hall of Fame/Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame at Exhibition Place (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 363, Item 12)
1980s - Wayne Gretzky receiving the Lou Marsh Award in front of the Hockey Hall of Fame once at Exhibition Place. Wayne Gretzky received the award in 1982, 1983, 1985 and 1989
1980s – Wayne Gretzky receiving the Lou Marsh Award in front of the Hockey Hall of Fame once at Exhibition Place. Wayne Gretzky received the award in 1982, 1983, 1985 and 1989 (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 626, Item 10)
2022 – The entrance of the former Halls of Fame featuring the "Face-Off" mural by Canadian artist Ronald Satok, the cast-in-place folded-plate concrete canopy, four granite columns, two-storey glazing and original glass doors have been preserved at Gate 5 of BMO Field
2022 – The entrance of the former Halls of Fame featuring the “Face-Off” mural by Canadian artist Ronald Satok, the cast-in-place folded-plate concrete canopy, four granite columns, two-storey glazing and original glass doors have been preserved at Gate 5 of BMO Field
2022 – Information about the heritage entrance and the "Face-Off" mural by artist Ronald Satok located at Gate 5 of BMO Field
2022 – Information about the heritage entrance and the “Face-Off” mural by artist Ronald Satok located at Gate 5 of BMO Field
2022 – The entrance of the former Hockey Hall of Fame and the "Face-Off" mural by artist Ronald Satok have been preserved at Gate 5 of BMO Field at Exhibition Place
2022 – The entrance of the former Hockey Hall of Fame and the “Face-Off” mural by artist Ronald Satok have been preserved at Gate 5 of BMO Field at Exhibition Place
2022 – Canadian artist Ronald Satok created the "Face-Off" mural. It hung at the entrance of the former Hockey Hall of Fame from 1961 until 2006. The mural along with the entrance have been preserved at Gate 5 of BMO Field at Exhibition Place
2022 – Canadian artist Ronald Satok created the “Face-Off” mural. It hung at the entrance of the former Hockey Hall of Fame from 1961 until 2006. The mural along with the entrance have been preserved at Gate 5 of BMO Field at Exhibition Place
2021– Canada's Sports Hall of Fame/Hockey Hall of Fame was once located inside the Stanley Barracks at Exhibition Place from 1955 until 1960
2021– Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame/Hockey Hall of Fame was once located inside the Stanley Barracks at Exhibition Place from 1955 until 1960
2022 – One of 18 granite benches commemorating historical places and events at the CNE and Exhibition Place, this one featuring the Flyer Roller Coaster. They were designed by Toronto-based artist Stephen Cruise and installed in 2007. The granite was salvaged from the former Hockey Hall of Fame/Canada's Sports Hall of Fame building once at Exhibition grounds. The benches are located around the perimeter of BMO Field and outside of the Automotive Building
2022 – One of 18 granite benches commemorating historical places and events at the CNE and Exhibition Place, this one featuring the Flyer Roller Coaster. They were designed by Toronto-based artist Stephen Cruise and installed in 2007. The granite was salvaged from the former Hockey Hall of Fame/Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame building once at Exhibition grounds. The benches are located around the perimeter of BMO Field and outside of the Automotive Building
2022 - The Hockey Hall of Fame is located on the northwest corner of Yonge St and Front St W in Downtown Toronto. There are 57,000 sq ft of exhibits, interactives and theatres. Visitors can go one-on-one against animated life-size versions of today's hockey superstars or call the play in some of hockey's best moments. The Hockey Hall of Fame is housed in the magnificent former Bank of Montreal Building built in the 1880s
2022 – The Hockey Hall of Fame is located on the northwest corner of Yonge St and Front St W in Downtown Toronto. There are 57,000 sq ft of exhibits, interactives and theatres. Visitors can go one-on-one against animated life-size versions of today’s hockey superstars or call the play in some of hockey’s best moments. The Hockey Hall of Fame is housed in the magnificent former Bank of Montreal Building built in the 1880s
2019 – The entrance of the Hockey Hall of Fame on the lower level of Brookfield Place at 30 Yonge St in Toronto
2019 – The entrance of the Hockey Hall of Fame on the lower level of Brookfield Place at 30 Yonge St in Toronto
SOURCE
  • City of Toronto Heritage Register: 100 Princes’ Blvd
  • The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Mar 17, 1943, pg 16
  • The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Sep 13, 1943, pg 16
  • The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Jun 11, 1955, pg 39
  • The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Sep 3, 1955, pg 5
  • The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Apr 28, 1958, pg 24
  • The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Sep 10, 1960, pg 21
  • The Toronto Daily Star Newspaper Archives: Aug 28, 1961, pg 11
  • The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Aug 26, 1961, pg 21
  • The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Apr 6, 1966, pg 34
  • The Toronto Daily Star Newspaper Archives: Sep 5, 1967, pg 13
  • Hockey Hall of Fame
  • Cyclone Sports: Fred “Cyclone” Taylor Story
  • Photos: Denise Marie for TorontoJourney416
  • Vintage Photos: City of Toronto Archives, Toronto Public Library & Canadian National Exhibition Association Archives