HALIFAX -- According to Halifax Mayor Mike Savage, Scotiabank Centre has been a catalyst for downtown growth and development over the 43 years since it first opened.

"A lot of people didn’t think it made sense to build the stadium downtown," said Savage. "It was the right place to have it."

Savage also said Scotiabank Centre has also played a defining role in downtown business and tourism.

In recent years, the formerly named Halifax Metro Centre has benefitted from its partnership with Scotiabank, which has helped re-define the facility and pave the way for much needed and on-going upgrades and renovations.

"It has allowed us to fix the seats, and the washrooms inside. And now there’s some work happening outside."

The exterior upgrades are slowly transforming the overall appearance of the facility. The concrete on the south side of Scotiabank Centre is now gone -- covered with red cladding.

"A cladding replacement project is also planned for the north side of the facility in the near future," said Maggie-Jane Spray from HRM Communications.

"Whatever can be done to improve those aesthetics is generally good," said Dalhousie University Professor Lorn Sheehan who specializes in tourism and travel and how they relate to sustainable development.

Sheehan said Scotiabank Centre helps drive the tourism economy. Keeping the facility as modern as possible has direct links to revenue that comes to Halifax in the form of concerts, cultural events and sports games and tournaments.

"Those events bring people from all over Atlantic Canada and Canada," said Sheehan who also said visitors often make their stay in Halifax longer than the actual event. "Now they are becoming tourists which means there are undertaking other activities."

Mayor Savage also suggested work to keep Scotiabank Centre as modern and as up-to-date as possible, is sound investment for the city going forward.

"As we come out of this pandemic," said Savage. "Things that generate excitement in the core of the city are going to be important."