FirstOntario puts its stamp on coliseum


The arena on Bay Street and York Boulevard in Hamilton is no longer Copps Coliseum. As of Thursday, it’s officialy FirstOntario Centre. So we’ll all have to get used to the new name because that’s what we’ll all be expected to call the building from now on. The change comes with money for the city. But also, regretful nostalgia for many.

The new signage should be installed in six to eight weeks, with a tagline; ‘In honour of Victor K. Copps’. He was Hamilton’s mayor in the 1960s and 70s.

Brenda Copps, a Hamilton family doctor, is one of Vic Copps’ daughters. Another, Sheila, was once Deputy Prime Minister. The family is sad, but feels the change was inevitable: “It’s not a huge comfort. This can be reflected in a lot of name changes, places less value on honouring community involvement in those public ways. I think that’s sad. I think it speaks to society.”

“I think they should have left it the way it was. Honouring our Mayor.”

“He was for the people. Everything he did was for the people. The citizens of Hamilton first, then him.”

City hall has been considering other places to put the Copps name.

Brenda said: “He was a sports announcer, he was instrumental in the Football Hall of Fame. In fact, he mortgaged our house to finance that. Civic pride through sport is maybe how dad. As I say that, I think the coliseum was the perfect naming place. I don’t think we’ll ever match that.”

But she also says her father would have appreciated what 3.5 million dollars over 10 years can do.

Scott Warren is with Global Spectrum: “It allows us to reduce the subsidy from the city. It allows us to put more money into the venue to deliver on guest experience.”

Global Spectrum took over management of this arena almost a year ago. They won the bid, in part because of the original plan to get corporate sponsors and sell naming rights. You may also have noticed cosmetic changes over that time.

New paint. New chairs. A new LED banner. And a lot more acts have already come with Global Spectrum. And First Ontario doesn’t care there are jokes about the ‘f-o-c’ acronym.

Kelly McGiffin is with First Ontario Credit Union: We’re known as First Ontario Credit Union. So you can imagine what that acronym sounded like. But most people just know us as First Ontario and I think that’s what it will fall to at the end of the day, I’m going down to the First Ontario Centre.


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