Pioneer Recreation & Sports Centre Opened – 28th October 1978

On 28 October 1978, after a generous donation from the Pioneer Sports Club Charitable Trust, the C.C.C. opened what was then called the Pioneer Stadium. It was built in Centennial Park on Lyttelton Street.

When the Pioneer Sports Club Ltd went into liquidation in 1976, the assets were handed over to the C.C.C. with the understanding that a recreation centre would be built with the funds.

The result was the Pioneer Recreation and Sports Centre.

Formed in 1879, two clubs – the Pioneer Bicycle Club and the Canterbury Amateur Athletic Club – joined forces just a year later. Their two-story club house was erected on the corner of Oxford Terrace and Gloucester Street, where the central city library was situated before being damaged by the earthquakes.

The attached photo shows 19 members of the Pioneer Bicycle Club about to start a race early on the morning of 26 September 1887. They are outside the Riccarton Hotel, at the intersection of Riccarton Road and Deans Ave, facing west. The race was to Leeston, a distance of 50 miles. The winner was Richard Bargrove of New Brighton who completed the race in 3 hours and 35 minutes!

*image courtesy of the Canterbury Heritage Blog Spot – Canterbury Museum Ref 10959

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