TMU students reflect on their favourite sports venues
These arenas are home to many memories
The Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC), formerly known as Maple Leaf Gardens, is a campus landmark for all sports fans.
The building was constructed in 1931 and was home to the Toronto Maple Leafs from its opening until 1999. It has held concerts by The Beatles, Elvis Presley and Elton John, among others.
In 2009, the building was transformed into the one students see on campus and the current home of the Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold.
While the MAC is a fan favourite on campus, many other sports venues around the world are beloved by TMU students.
Part of the reason fans love the MAC is because of its history. And history is also a reason why third-year sport media student Alex Higgins loves the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Arena.
The building, colloquially known as “The Aud,” is home to the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) Kitchener Rangers.
The building has the main OHL rink as well as two other rinks which many community organizations and teams use. It is one of the older buildings in the league, having opened in 1951, and although it has been updated, it still features historic architecture reminiscent of Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto.
Higgins grew up going to Rangers games with his family and experiencing the excitement of junior hockey. This is where he first started going to hockey games and fell in love with sports and hockey.
“It’s a very compact arena because it is so old. That’s how they used to be built back then. They’re not as expansive as they are today so the crowd atmosphere is like you’re right on top of the game,” said Higgins. The arena's atmosphere makes “The Aud” stand out as his favourite venue.
For many students in downtown Toronto, their favourite sports venue is one of the city’s major landmarks. Politics and governance students Cleo Pokas and Emma Yerxa both chose Scotiabank Arena, formerly known as the Air Canada Centre, as their favourite sports venue.
Pokas, a second-year student, loves the Maple Leafs, making their home rink her favourite venue.
“I really like the atmosphere. It’s really loud. The venue is really nice, there’s lots of good food places,” said Pokas. “There’s just always interesting stuff going on.”
She prefers this venue compared to others in Toronto such as the Rogers Centre because she likes that it has a fully enclosed roof.
For first-year student Yerxa, it’s the Toronto Raptors who make Scotiabank Arena special. This is the venue where she saw her first NBA game and although she has only been there once, the atmosphere and fans left a lasting impression.
“I definitely want to go back and be around that,” said Yerxa. She said she’s willing to sit anywhere in the venue just to get in on the action again.
Bruke Asefa, a fourth-year biomedical sciences student, believes the best sports atmosphere in Toronto is at BMO Field when Toronto FC (TFC) takes the pitch.
The venue is unique because of its location near Lake Ontario and Ontario Place. On a summer evening, you can watch the sunset over the pitch. When Asefa walks into the field, he feels excited about what’s ahead.
For Asefa, the fans are what makes this venue stand out from the rest. BMO Field currently seats 27,980 and with the World Cup games coming to Toronto in 2026, they plan to add 17,756 seats to hold a total of 45,736 fans.
This was also where Canada’s men's soccer team qualified for the 2022 World Cup last March.
“I was at one of the qualifying games,” said Asefa. “Just the atmosphere there. Even though it was only a year ago, I feel like I will remember it for a lifetime.”