Sydney landmark to be demolished soon
Grandstand at former Tartan Downs Raceway is being torn down
The Cape Breton Regional Municipality has ordered the grandstand at the former Tartan Downs Raceway be torn down, calling the building dangerous and unsightly.
The harness racing track shut down in 2006 because of financial troubles and the grandstand is the last piece of major infrastructure left on the site. It has routinely been set on fire and vandalized.
"What I remember of the track was one of the finest plants in Atlantic Canada. To see it today it's just in shambles, it's just a total mess and how it got to that state it's in now, is mind boggling," said Kansas Snow, who spent 29 years as the track's announcer.
"A lot of great memories from there. A lot of great races that I called and it's just a sad day to see that coming down."
Ray Paruch, the municipal councillor for the area, said he's received numerous complaints about the grandstand.
He said in its heyday, the raceway was an exciting place to be.
"It meant a lot to the community, it created employment, it was a place for entertainment, for people to go, for horse lovers to go, it was a real plus for the community," said Paruch.
These days the grandstand is showing its age and has become hazardous. In January, a firefighter suffered smoke inhalation trying to put out a suspicious fire inside the grandstand.
"We've been successful enough in dealing with the owner in terms of having the building removed at the owner's expense," said Rick Fraser, manager of building services and bylaws for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
"The owner has arranged for a local contractor to do a demolition on it."
Jack MacNeil, who owns Tartan Downs, said he hopes to sell the property to developers.
The demolition of the grandstand is set to start in the next few days.