New Westminster News Leader

And the winner is: Anvil Centre

In the shadow of the Arundel Mansion, built in 1912 as a residence for visiting judges, crews begin to erect forms for walls at the new civic centre under construction on Columbia Street.  - MARIO BARTEL/NEWSLEADER
In the shadow of the Arundel Mansion, built in 1912 as a residence for visiting judges, crews begin to erect forms for walls at the new civic centre under construction on Columbia Street.
— image credit: MARIO BARTEL/NEWSLEADER

New Westminster is forging its past into its future by naming the new civic facility Anvil Centre.

The name of the building currently under construction Downtown at Eighth and Columbia streets was announced at a council meeting Tuesday evening. The new moniker honours the city’s annual Anvil Battery ceremony during the Hyack Festival in May.

“It’s a really good name that has ties to New Westminster history, but also really speaks to where New Westminster is going. It’s a solid, strong name. What really intrigued me is it has a connection with the architecture, which was unintended. The building looks like an anvil upside down,” said Coun. Jonathan Coté on Wednesday.

“I’m hopeful the community will embrace the name.”

It took a while for Coté to come around to it, though. The second choice was The Exchange, which he said was a little more contemporary and reflected exchanges of ideas, cultures and creativity.

But the Anvil Centre grew on him, especially after the logo was developed reflecting the anvil and the building’s shape.

City arts and culture director Greg Magirescu said naming it The Exchange could also confuse people into thinking it’s a stock exchange. He also said it was felt there were some negative connotations to The Exchange because some American districts with that name have turned derelict, as well as the area surrounding the New Westminster SkyTrain station being known in the past for drug deals and exchanging of needles.

“The Anvil represented something really unique to New Westminster. The Exchange could be almost anywhere,” said Magirescu on Wednesday.

“It was a real toss-up. Both logos were very striking and very strong. [But] the image of the anvil represented New Westminster more definitively or uniquely.”

The name was chosen after the city held meetings with community stakeholders including Tourism New Westminster, the Arts Council of New Westminster and the Massey Theatre Society. The logo is a stylized representation of the architectural lines of the new facility as well as an inverted anvil, while the blue and gold colours are part of the city’s official colour palette.

“Just as the anvil reflects the energy that is put into it, the name and logo also symbolizes the energy that will emerge from the countless functions, events and activities that Anvil Centre will be home to for generations to come,” said Magirescu.

Up until Tuesday, the project was officially referred to by the cumbersome Multi-Use Civic Facility.

“I’m certainly glad to put that name behind us. It was a technical name just to get us through the process,” said Coté.

Magirescu said even though the Anvil Centre won’t be finished until 2014, coming up with a name and logo was important. “It’s necessary because really we’re 18 to 20 months out before we open. Now’s the time were moving toward engaging the staff, in particular for the sales staff for the centre.”

The Anvil Centre will house a 350-seat theatre, conference and meeting facilities, arts studios, the city museum and the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame museum, and a tourist information centre. The city is also building an eight-storey office complex on the property.

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