Saturday, January 16, 2010

Explore Toronto's Hockey Hall of Fame

For fans of the most exciting sport on ice, one of the highlights of their holidays to Canada is visiting Toronto's Hockey Hall of Fame.

The current hall is located in a historic former bank building at the corner of Yonge and Front streets downtown. It opened in 1993 after $27 million in renovations, and has made several additions and improvements since then. It now features 57,000 square feet of one-of-a-kind exhibits, state-of-the-art theatres, hands-on interactive games and hockey's most precious artifacts.

An interesting display of goalie masks greets visitors in the entrance foyer. You then move into the NHL Zone, which features a variety of artifacts and is guarded by nine-foot-tall statues of hockey greats Cyclone Taylor and Ken Dryden. A trip to a full-size replica of the dressing room of Dryden's team, the Montreal Canadiens, from the Montreal Forum is next.

A section on NHL dynasties focuses on nine of the greatest teams in history, from the Ottawa Senators of the '20s to the Edmonton Oilers of the '80s. If you want to sit down for a while, the 128-seat Hartland Molson Theatre has most recently been showing a film called The Stanley Cup Odyssey. Panasonic Hometown Hockey, a tribute to grassroots hockey, is next on the route.

One of the most fun parts of the hall is the interactive NHLPA Be A Player Zone, where you can shoot pucks and try to score on a computer-simulated goaltender or go between the pipes to try and stop shots by simulated snipers.

If you're more verbose than coordinated, go ahead and try your hand at being a play-by-play announcer in the TSN/RDS Broadcast Zone, which looks at the evolution of hockey broadcasting. You can then play hockey video games in the 2K Sports NHL2K Zone. If you'd rather tax your brain than your fingers, test your hockey trivia knowledge in the Pepsi Game Time area.

Hockey cards, tickets, coins, games, dolls, apparel, pennants and food items from around the world are displayed in the Upper Deck Collector's Corner.

You might want to rest again by this time, so relax in the 120-seat Esso Theatre and watch archival film and video footage from the Hockey Hall of Fame archives.

Olympic and international hockey receive worthy recognition in the World of Hockey area and the interactive Global Game Encounter zone.

The highlight of the visit is the Verizon Great Hall, which features portraits and biographical information about every member who's been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. The National Hockey League's major trophies, including the Stanley Cup, can also be found in this area, which includes a refurbished bank vault. It's this area that truly makes this place a shrine to the game.

You can pick up souvenirs from your visit at a store on the way out.

General admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for youths. Kids under three are admitted for free.

A family can visit the Hockey Hall of Fame for less than the cost of a single ticket to watch the Toronto Maple Leafs play down the street at the Air Canada Centre, and you're going to see more entertaining hockey than that sad-sack team has provided this season.


Fabio Krown said...

As a fellow Torontonian, I wonder why people don't visit the Hall more often?

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