Videotron Centre opens its doors in Quebec City
Public tours of the new arena continue until Sunday
Quebec City's new $400-million arena opened its doors to the public for the first time this morning.
People lined up, some hours in advance, to get their hands on free tickets the city gave out for the two-hour tours of the Videotron Centre.
More than 180,000 people are expected to take a tour of the arena during the sneak peek of the building, which runs until Sunday.
The City of Quebec made the first official announcement of the construction of the arena in 2011.
Quebecor took over the management of the project that same year. The building's name was announced last April.
The seven-storey-high, 18,000-seat arena will be home to Quebec City's junior hockey team. Les Remparts will hit the ice on Sept. 12.
It's the only hockey the arena will see for the moment, although most fans are holding out hope that the city will once again be home to a pro team now that the arena is ready to go.
"There will be an NHL team on the ice in two or three years for sure," said Gaetan Roy, who showed up for the tour of the new arena in a Quebec Nordiques t-shirt.
Quebecor put in its official bid for an NHL expansion team in July. In August, the company confirmed the Nordiques had advanced to the third – and what's expected to be final – stage in their bid to return to Quebec City.
The team relocated to Colorado in 1995.
Metallica will be the first band to play in the multifunctional arena on Sept. 16. It will also be the last to play at the old arena, the Colisée Pepsi next door.
The city is holding a public consultation to ask people what they would like to see set up at the entrance of the Videotron Centre.
The public space will be called "Place Jean Béliveau", in honour of the Montreal Canadiens' great who made his debut at the Colisée Pepsi when he was playing with the As de Quebec.