KITCHENER -- Kitchener's Centre in the Square is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

The entertainment venue opened its doors on this day in 1980.

"The very first actually event was called Kitchener On Stage, September 25, 1980 at 8 p.m.," said William Muir, marketing manager for Centre on the Square. "It was a variety of musical and ballet acts from the community."

The venue was a project envisioned and owned by the city.

"It's really great to be part of the city, part of the region and bring to this region entertainment, arts and culture, feeding them something they don't have to go to Toronto for," general manager Kato Sonoda said. "We're doing some really great things here, even during the pandemic."

Performers over the years include the Tragically Hip, Tony Bennett and Leonard Cohen.

There are 2,047 seats, which are empty right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The stage is currently being used for groups doing virtual performances.

Events are in the works for the 2021 and 2022 season, with the hope that people will be back able to come back to the venue.