Following a sod-turning and naming ceremony Monday of Edmundston’s new community amphitheatre, construction has begun on what will be known as the Jean-Daigle Centre.  

Once complete, the 8,482-sq. metre (91,299-sq. foot), 21-million dollar amphitheatre will have permanent seating for 2,400 and space to accommodate an additional 1,300 people.

GovNB

The Jean-Daigle Centre is expected to enhance Edmundston’s ability to host major events such as trade shows, festivals and cultural and sporting events.

Edmundston Mayor Cyrille Simard says "The Centre Jean-Daigle, Amphithéâtre communautaire d’Edmundston, is named after a man who gave wings to the fundraising campaign by offering a major donation. He has always had the project at heart and deserves full recognition. Thanks must also be given to all the collaborators, donors and the many volunteers who have been involved for several years.”

Jean Daigle, a retired business owner, and his wife Louise Morin-Daigle donated the million dollars in seed money for the project just over a year ago. Daigle had originally intended a career in hockey and was drafted by the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers in 1970, but an accident led him to a career in construction. He owns Clarence Daigle et Fils in Verret, which employs more than 100 full-time workers in the Saint John Valley.

Atlantic Canada Opportunties Agency spokesperson Lisa Gateau says site work for the project has begun next to the Sports Pavilion at the heart of the Édupôle complex, near the Université de Moncton's Edmundston campus, the Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick Edmundston campus, and the Cité des jeunes A.-M.-Sormany high school.

City of Edmundston

She says the City of Edmundston has successfully hosted major events, sporting activities and festivals, including the World Acadian Congress, the Foire Brayonne and the Edmundston Jazz and Blues Festival.

In July 2015, the Government of Canada and the Province of New Brunswick each announced investments of up to $7 million towards this community amphitheatre project.

The City of Edmundston will also be investing $7 million towards the project through a major fundraising campaign, a municipal loan and proceeds from the sale of the old Forum.