The celebration – and the wait – was well worth it.


Construction woes delayed the original planned opening of Fraser Downs Racetrack & Casino’s new Atrium but the scheduled accompanying weeklong celebration was held regardless.


The gala was to signal the end of months of construction at the Downs with the Clubhouse and Grandstand buildings now connected by the Atrium. The celebration ran from June 18 to June 24 and among the highlights was the Cash Cyclone give-away which had many Downs' guests walk away with cash winnings.


Lower Mainland rock bands Luv Shak and March Hare, along with Sara Ramsay, provided entertainment throughout the week. Unfortunately they were unable to use the new show lounge in the Atrium.


However, one week later -- after construction workers did their best impression of a beehive --- the Atrium opened.


To say it adds an impressive feature to the Downs is an understatement.


The Atrium – as the name suggests, a glass showcase -- houses the new welcome centre (guest services), Pacers Café, with simulcast televisions and wagering machines, and the On The Rail Bar and Show Lounge where live entertainment can be provided and will be each and every Friday, starting at 8 p.m., in July.


The B.C. Harness Racing Hall of Fame will also be housed in the Atrium area.

Meanwhile, the work continues.


The new Downs’ Race Book (a simulcast area in the old Legends lounge) will open Monday, July 4. It will include 300 individual betting carrels and 40 locations in the smoking area. There is bar and food service in the Race Book.


With all that completed, construction workers have moved into the Homestretch, Finish Line and Upper Clubhouse areas for more upgrades.


That work should be completed by the tentative opening day return of live harness racing on Sept. 30