October is the Meridian Centre’s five year anniversary and they have much to celebrate, having seen over 470 events and over 1.2 million people through the building over the years.
There have been some very memorable shows at the Meridian Centre since it opened its doors on October 11, 2014. Who could forget the hype and energy that came with Elton John’s visit on November 15, 2017 or the awe and wonder of Cirque du Soleil: Corteo from July 11 to July 15, 2018 or the laughs that Jerry Seinfeld brought with him on June 5, 2015.
Along with the big shows, other sporting events have been held there like IceDogs hockey games, Niagara River Lions basketball games, the Thank You Canada skating show with the Olympic gold medal team and Brock’s own Steel Blade Classic.
This October Meridian celebrated these five memorable years with two main events. One was the Dean Brody and Dallas Smith concert on their Friends Don’t Let Friends Tour Alone tour on October 5.
“We actually celebrated with them. We gave them some special custom leather cuffs we had designed for them and brought in what we called our donut cake from Beechwood donuts … So they kicked off our anniversary month sort of speaking. The IceDogs gave them custom jerseys to help us celebrate too,” said Kay Meilleur, marketing director at the Meridian Centre.
The second event to help celebrate the five years was the free public skate that was held on October 20, 2019. The proceeds from this event went to Niagara Wise Kids Charity.
Prior to the construction of the Meridian Centre, St. Catharines’ downtown area was struggling. Many shops were closed or barely hanging on. Meridian has had a hand in helping the downtown core come alive again.
“We really wanted [the Meridian Centre] to be a huge success for our community. When you look at the transformation of downtown St. Catharines since the opening of the Meridian Centre and the Performing Arts Centre you are seeing new shops, stores, restaurants, bars and pubs coming up and we feel a little responsible for that. You know helping to create this new energy downtown that has certainly not existed for many, many years,” said Meilleur.
Meridian’s current building management company, ASM Global (a merger between SMG and AEG facilities), is not the original management company for the building. The original company, SMG, are part of the reason many of the big shows are able to perform at the Meridian Centre. According to Meilleur, their contribution of a million dollars to raise the roof of the centre provided the opportunity for the big shows, like Cirque du Soleil: Corteo, to perform here.
“[The raised roof] makes it easier to load the shows in and it makes it easier to bring the shows here. If it is a struggle technically for the people building the shows they may say it is too hard to build the sets there. Let’s not go to that building.”
This initiative has provided opportunities for the Niagara region to experience many great performances over the last five years like John Mellencamp on October 7, 2018. But what does the future hold for Meridian Centre here in Niagara?
“I think our biggest goal is more shows,” said Meilleur. “We want to bring a multitude of shows. We want to bring heavy metal, rock, classic rock and country. We want to bring different types of shows so that we can meet the demographics of the surrounding area and we want a little of something for everyone. That way everyone can enjoy this building and enjoy watching shows in their hometown.”
Some of the shows coming to Meridian Centre include the Arkells on November 9, 2019, The Glorious Sons on March 26, 2020 and the Harlem Globetrotters on April 8, 2020. For more information about these shows and other events visit meridiancentre.com.