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Canad Inns Stadium
File:Canadinnsstadlogo.png
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Location 1465 Maroons Road
Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3G 0L6
Broke ground November 1952
Opened Aug 14, 1953
Closed 2012
Demolished 2013
Owner City of Winnipeg
Operator Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Surface AstroPlay 2003 - 2012
AstroTurf 1988 to 2002
Grass 1953 to 1987
Construction cost $483,000 CAD
($4.13 million in 2019 dollars[1])
Architect Moody and Moore
Former names Winnipeg Stadium (1953-2000)
Tenants Winnipeg Blue Bombers (CFL) (1953-2012)
Winnipeg Goldeyes (NL) (1994-1998)

Winnipeg Fury (CSL) (1987-1992)
Winnipeg Whips (IL) (1970-1971)
Winnipeg Goldeyes (NL) (1953-1964)

Capacity Canadian football: 29,533 (44,784 with temporary seating)

Canad Inns Stadium (formerly Winnipeg Stadium) is a Canadian football stadium currently being demolished located north of Polo Park Shopping Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Stadium, whose naming rights are owned by the locally based hotel chain Canad Inns, was opened in 1953 and in its current configuration, seats 29,533 for football. It has been the home of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL since 1953. It is also the home of the Winnipeg Rifles of the Prairie Football Conference and has been home to various iterations of the Winnipeg Goldeyes and Winnipeg Whips (AAA Montreal Expos farm team) baseball teams. The stadium is set to close after the new Investors Group Field at the University of Manitoba is completed in June 2013.

History Edit

During the Blue Bombers' early years, the team played at Osborne Stadium, a much smaller venue located near the Manitoba Legislative Buildings. The fast passing-dominated play of Bombers quarterback Jack Jacobs dramatically increased attendance at Blue Bombers game and precipitated the need for a new, larger stadium.

In the wake of several unsuccessful proposals for a new stadium, a plan for the construction of a new 15,700 seat home for the Blue Bombers in the Polo Park district was approved by the City of Winnipeg in 1952. The stadium was officially opened on August 14, 1953, with a fundraising gala to benefit the Winnipeg Unit of the Shriners Hospitals for Children. Foster Hewitt served as the master of ceremonies as 12,000 spectators watched an array of Shriners, athletes, politicians, and Hollywood actress Corinne Calvet inaugurate the stadium. The following night, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers played the first football game at the new facility against the Ottawa Rough Riders. The stadium became known as "the house that Jack built" in recognition of the contributions of Jack Jacobs.

File:Winnipeg Blue Bombers game.jpg
The on-field success of the Blue Bombers and their growing fan base led to numerous expansions of the facility beginning in 1954, when capacity was raised to 17,995. Of those seats, only 10,166 were on permanent concrete grandstands, with the remainder being temporary seating in the stadium corners. Further additions included the construction of new north end-zone seating in 1966 and expansion of the west side grandstands, including a new upper deck, in 1972. In 1978, the east side grandstands were expanded, with a new upper deck, raising capacity to 32,946. Seats were also added in 1987 when the Stadium was configured to accommodate baseball, at which point its capacity peaked at 33,675. Astroturf was installed in time for the 1988 season which the team welcomed with a Grey Cup victory that year in Ottawa at Lansdowne Park with Sean Salisbury at quarterback. The Stadium's seating capacity remained at that level until 1999, when lower deck benches were replaced by theatre-style seats, the press boxes were enlarged and a club lounge added. Following renovations, seating capacity was reduced to 29,533, the figure at which it stands today.

In 2001, the name of the facility changed from Winnipeg Stadium to Canad Inns Stadium following the purchase of naming rights by Winnipeg-based hotel chain Canad Inns.

Baseball Edit

The original baseball grandstands were built at a cost of $184,000 in 1954 and were located in the southwest corner of the complex. The grandstands housed the original incarnation of the Winnipeg Goldeyes as well as the AAA Winnipeg Whips. The grandstands were demolished in the early 1980s to make way for the Blue and Gold Room and for nearly a decade, baseball could not be accommodated in the facility.

CanadInns Stadium once again became a multi-sport venue in the late 1980s. In an effort to attract a AAA baseball club to Winnipeg, artificial turf, retractable seats on the east side stands, and new seating behind the home plate area (the northwest corner of the field, in the football end zone area) were installed. Although AAA baseball never returned to the city, the Rochester Aces of the independent Northern League moved to Winnipeg for the 1994 season, adopting the Goldeyes name. After five seasons at the Stadium (which included a short-season baseball single-game attendance record of 22,081 set in 1997), the Goldeyes moved to a new baseball-only facility, CanWest Global Park, in 1999.[2]

Major events Edit

Canad Inns Stadium hosted the opening ceremonies of both the 1967 and 1999 Pan-American Games. The 1967 Games saw the construction of new north end zone seating. The 1999 Games saw several improvements in preparation for the event, including new seats to replace old benches, additional media and club seating facilities, improved lighting and sound, and a new Sony JumboTron scoreboard. The stadium's artificial turf was replaced in 2003, and a new AstroPlay surface was installed.

The CFL Grey Cup championship game was held at Canad Inns Stadium in 1991, 1998, and 2006. In each instance, temporary seating was used to increase the stadium's capacity. The stadium's attendance record was set on November 24, 1991, when 51,985 fans watched the Toronto Argonauts defeat the Calgary Stampeders for the Grey Cup. For the 2006 Grey Cup, temporary seats were erected at the south end of the football field, raising the Stadium's capacity to 44,784.[3]

While the stadium is best known as a professional sports venue, it has been used to host numerous amateur sports events and other entertainment events, including the Rock on the Range music festival, since 2009. The stadium was also used for many years by the Red River Exhibition and for hosting concerts by The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, AC/DC, Eagles and U2.

Plans Edit

The stadium is scheduled to be replaced in 2013 by Investors Group Field, a new stadium currently under construction on the University of Manitoba campus. Groundbreaking for the new stadium took place on May 20, 2010. The Blue Bombers were originally expected to move in time for the 2012 CFL season, but construction delays at the new stadium will force the team to play their home games at Canad Inns for the season.[4]

Plans were unveiled in June 2012 for the stadiums demolition and replacement with retail and commercial units. A new Target store was recently announced as the primary retail anchor for the site, replacing the Zellers store at the Polo Park Shopping Centre that will be closed by March 2013 and will not be converted to Target.

See also Edit

CanadaInnsStadium

Canad Inns Stadium

References Edit

  1. Canadian inflation numbers based on data available from Consumer Price Index, by province (monthly) (Canada) Statistics Canada. Retrieved August 21, 2011 and Consumer Price Index, historical summary Statistics Canada. Retrieved December 7, 2010
  2. http://www.nlfan.com/winnipeg/deformity/
  3. CTV.ca | Grey Cup organizers still hoping for a sellout
  4. http://www.tsn.ca/cfl/story/?id=398451

External links Edit

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Osborne Stadium
Home of the
Winnipeg Blue Bombers

1953 - 2012
Succeeded by
Investors Group Field
Preceded by
First stadium
Home of the
Winnipeg Goldeyes

1994 - 1998
Succeeded by
CanWest Global Park
Preceded by
Estadio José María Minella
Mar del Plata
Pan American Games
Opening and Closing Ceremonies

1999
Succeeded by
Estadio Olimpico Juan Pablo Duarte
Santo Domingo

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