MONCTON – The Downtown Events Centre will be called Centre Avenir Centre, it was announced at a private event Thursday ahead of the weekend public opening of the venue. On September 8 and 9, a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be accompanied by free concerts, self-guided tours and other activities.
The naming rights were secured by Avenir Hearing, which operates 11 clinics across the province.
Dr. Denis LeBlanc, the founder and president of Avenir, said acquiring the naming rights of the centre was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity the company couldn’t pass up.
“Avenir wanted to be involved in the community in a significant way,” he said in a release. “This is for Avenir Hearing the chance of a lifetime to participate in the continued growth and success of Greater Moncton and all of New Brunswick.”
Mayor Dawn Arnold said it’s a great chance for Avenir to create awareness about the services it provides.
“We are excited that the centre will have such a fitting name as it opens its doors,” said Arnold. “As a young local company, this provides Avenir with an incredible opportunity to build their brand. Accessibility was top of mind during the planning and construction of the facility and to have company who specializes in audiological care and service is quite fitting.”
This announcement marks the completion of the largest project ever undertaken in the city. The centre, operated by SMG, took a decade of planning and costs $110 million.
SMG’s General Manager, Nick DeLuco, said he’s relieved and excited about the opening.
“It feels like a long time coming,” he said. “We’re excited that people finally get to see the product because we truly believe this is one of the nicest buildings in the country. And I think when people walk in, they’ll be amazed at what is exactly in this building.”
Moncton residents will be able to see the ice rink, seatings, box office, an interactive Sports Wall of Fame that’s located in the lobby and the flex space, which can be rented for events like banquets and conferences. They can also see rooms not open to the general public during events, such as the stars’ dressing rooms, the VIP suites, and the press rooms, among others.
“You see photos, but until you walk in and see the lights, the seats, the ceiling, see how cool the suites are, the press level, stars’ dressing rooms – when they get to see that I think they’re going to be very surprised and really fall in love with their building,” DeLuco said.
Atlantic Lottery Corp. (ALC) is sponsoring the entertainment portion of the opening event, which will be held at the Events Centre’s plaza area. Community festival organizers like Acadie Rock, Festival Inspire, Mosaïq Multicultural Festival, Acoustica, Breathe Yoga Fest, the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra and others are partnering with ALC on the event.
There will also be concessions with some food samples, and booths for the Moncton Wildcats hockey team, the Moncton Magic basketball team, and MyBestOption.ca, a website where residents can find ways to get to the facility.
The Name a Seat campaign will be on site as well. Part of the city’s “Our Urban Heart” campaign to raise $5 million for the Events Centre, ‘Name a Seat’ allows anyone who makes a contribution the chance to put their name on a seat in the building.
Mayor Dawn Arnold said in a press release the facility has already shown its value.
“The economic and cultural benefits of this new Centre has already paid dividends to our city – and will continue to do so for many years to come,” she said. “I am thrilled to invite citizens of all ages to visit their state-of-the-art building, with world-class features, all the while providing an intimate setting for fantastic shows, not to mention a welcoming, multipurpose community space.”
SMG is expecting at least 5,000 people to check out the new facility over the weekend, DeLuco said.