Commonwealth Stadium
Location 11000 Stadium Road
Edmonton, Alberta
T5J 2R7
Opened 1978
Renovated 2001, 2010
Owner City of Edmonton
Surface Grass (1978-2009)
FieldTurf (2010-present)
Construction cost C$20.9 million
($68.4 million in 2020 dollars[1])
2001 - C$22.17 million
($27.2 million in 2020 dollars[1])
2010 - C$112 million
($115 million in 2020 dollars[1])
Total cost:
C$211 million in 2012 dollars
Tenants 1978 Commonwealth Games
1983 Summer Universiade
2001 World Championships in Athletics

Edmonton Eskimos (CFL) (1978–present)
Edmonton Drillers (NASL) (1979–1981)
Canadian Soccer Association

Capacity 60,000+

Commonwealth Stadium is an outdoor stadium located in the McCauley neighbourhood of Edmonton, Alberta. It is primarily used by the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. Opened in 1978 the stadium is owned and operated by the City of Edmonton and was built for the 1978 Commonwealth Games. With a permanent seating capacity of over 60,000, Commonwealth Stadium is the second-largest stadium in the CFL behind Olympic Stadium in Montreal, 66,308. Commonwealth Stadium has been the host venue for the Grey Cup championship game four times: 1984, 1997, 2002 and 2010.[2] The average attendance for all four games was 61,565.[3]


Commonwealth Stadium was built for the 1978 Commonwealth Games,[4] held in Edmonton. In the early 1970s, a group of Edmonton sports enthusiasts organized a bid to host the 1978 Commonwealth Games. Initially, when Edmonton was chosen to host the games, thought was given to rebuild the existing Clarke Stadium to make it large enough to host the main track and field, and other sports events for the games. However, by late 1974, there was substantial agreement that a new larger stadium was the best option.[5] In January 1975, the Edmonton City Council decided to build a new over 40,000-seat stadium adjacent to Clarke Stadium.

Despite considerable opposition from residents and community groups in the new stadium area, construction began on the new facility in March 1975.[6] Construction of the new Commonwealth Stadium was a massive undertaking. 500,000 cubic yards of dirt was removed for the stadium infield, and this excavation work required 40 trucks, eight earth movers, backhoes, excavators, and other heavy equipment.[5] Construction was completed in 1978, prior to the start of the Commonwealth Games on August 3, 1978.[7] The stadium cost $20.9-million to build, and the original capacity was approximately 42,500.[8] Commonwealth Stadium boasts one of the largest outdoor screens in the world. The Sony Jumbotron has a 16:9 aspect ratio and features full animation, split-screen, and slow-motion replay.[9]


The stadium was expanded by about 18,000 seats to a total capacity of over 60,000 for the Summer Universiade Games held in 1983.[10] The stadium also underwent major renovations in 2001, costing $22.17 million.

Field TurfEdit

On March 10, 2010, the city council approved the replacement of the grass with artificial turf. It cost $2.6 million to change the turf and was completed in May 2010 before the start of the 2010 Edmonton Eskimos season. This was the last CFL stadium to switch to artificial turf.[11][12]

The new surface installed at Commonwealth was FieldTurf Duraspine Pro,[13] and it was the newest version of the product at the time and it is the same surface that was installed at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro Massachusetts, home of the New England Patriots. 21 of 32 NFL teams play or practise on FieldTurf.[14]

The new turf installed at Commonwealth Stadium has a field area of 109,908 square feet (10,210.8 m2). A total of 35 rolls were installed, each roll was 15 feet (4.6 m) wide by 239 feet (73 m); The seams are stitched together, not glued. There is a "shock pad" underneath the playing surface that provides additional cushioning. 12,400 cubic metres (1900 truckloads) of existing soil and turf was removed. Hauled back was 14,600 cubic metres (440 loads) of bottom ash. The infill material comprised a mix of 165 tons of rubber and 340 tons of sand. A mix of sand and cryogenic (recycled) rubber pellets keep the grass fibres upright and help give a natural grass look and feel to the surface and ensures excellent playability in all weather conditions.[14]

The turf has a positive environmental impact. It eliminates the need for water and fertilizers and has a life expectancy of 15 years.[14]


In 2010 $112-million was set aside for a field house,[15] a state-of-the-art locker room (patterned after the Green Bay Packers locker room) and two floors of new office space at Commonwealth Stadium, which include an Eskimos football operations office floor, media rooms and a game-day hosting area.[16][17][18] The stadium improvements also include new lights with much higher brightness which are HDTV compatible.[19] The locker renovation includes individual fans, internet ports, and cellphone recharge hook-ups.[20][21][22]

New Green seatsEdit

The long-planned transition to the new, wider green and gold seats from the original orange and red seats will reduce the seating in most rows by one seat. Expected to cost $12 million over two years of installation, the final transformation is expected to begin in 2012. "When the stadium is completed with the new green seats, the entire cost, including construction back in 1978, will be about $200 million," said Rick LeLacheur. LeLacheur also said, "The replacement value of Commonwealth Stadium would be significantly beyond a half a billion dollars."[23] Current Eskimo President and CEO Len Rhodes said during the Eskimo's annual general meeting on January 21, 2012 that half the new stadium seats will be installed during the 2012 CFL season and the other half before the start of the 2013 CFL season.[24] The installation of all seats will reduce the seating capacity at the stadium to 56,302.[25] The 21-inch wide theatre-style seats will feature cup holders and replace the 19-inch wide seats in the main stands. Half-back seats will replace the bench seating in the endzones.[26]


The stadium has permanent seating for over 60,000, but can hold more with temporary seating.[27] On September 26, 2009, the record for largest crowd to attend a regular-season Eskimos home game was set at 62,517 against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.[28] The second largest crowd in stadium history was the Grey Cup game on November 28, 2010, with 63,317 in attendance. The largest crowd was an estimated 65,000 for the U2 360° Tour concert on June 1, 2011.[29]

Commonwealth Stadium is divided into 2 levels: Lower and Upper deck. The Lower deck has rows numberd 1–45(A and B); the Upper deck has rows numbered 46–84. Covered areas are: Westside row 36–45B and Eastside rows 38–45B. There is no smoking in the stadium. Section C in the lower deck is non-alcohol (for Edmonton Eskimos games only). Double-letter sections in the lower deck are bench seating. The home bench is on west side (for Edmonton Eskimos games only). The scoreboard can be seen on both ends. Replays are broadcast on the north end.[30]

The stadium is the second largest in permanent capacity in Canada, after Montreal's Olympic Stadium.

Pricewaterhouse Green & Gold RoomEdit

The Green and Gold Club at Commonwealth Stadium offers the most exclusive way to enjoy the Edmonton Eskimo football club, it can be used for entertaining clients, rewarding employees and it can be use to take in a game with friends and family at your own table in the Club. The club sports two large television screens, a delicious buffet which is served 90 minutes prior to kick-off, a wide choice of beverages and superior service by the Sawmill staff makes the table the best seat in the house. Tables of six are available and receive one parking pass on the west side of the stadium. The Club remains open 30 minutes after the final whistle.

Executive SuitesEdit

The Executive suites (10 seat and 16 seat) at Commonwealth stadium are heated suites and they are furnished to complement the green and gold interior color scheme. The 10 seat suite has a carpeted living room with a leather sofa or loveseat and coffee tables; a 20" wall-mounted television (with game broadcast and basic cable channels available); Counters with a bar sink and upper and lower cabinets; it also has an under counter mini-fridge for beverages; Custom-made EE bar stools with drink rail overlooking the window; a Sliding glass door outside to the exterior viewing seats; Private restroom and coat closets and private telephone. The suite contains a complimentary copy of the Esks Game Day program for the current game; 3 parking passes; Special game promotions and handouts. Western Food Services provides the Catering and Beverage service to all suite holders. Menu are available upon request.

The 16 seat suite is available for one game rentals if needed. The suite is located on the main concourse on the west side by section A. The 398 square feet suite is furnished to complement the green and gold interior color scheme. It has a carpeted living room with leather sofa or loveseat and a coffee table. The suite has a 20" wall-mounted television (game broadcast and basic cable channels available), a counter with bar sink and upper and lower cabinets; an under counter mini-fridge for beverages; custom-made EE bar stools with drink rail overlooking the window; a sliding glass door outside to the exterior viewing seats; private restroom and coat closet; a private telephone for your use. The 16 seat suite also has complimentary copies of the Eskimo Game Day program each game, with special game promotions and handouts placed in the suite prior to the game. The catering/Beverages service is also provided by Western Food Services and a menu is available upon request. Two (2) parking passes are also provided.


Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton, August 2005

Commonwealth Stadium during a CFL game.

The stadium was, until 2010, one of the few major facilities in Canada to have a natural grass playing surface. As such, Commonwealth Stadium often played host to international soccer matches and tournaments. Due the completion of the soccer-specific BMO Field in Toronto, Commonwealth Stadium is now rarely used as a soccer venue.

Commonwealth stadium was last resodded in April 2007 in preparation for the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup. In 2010, Edmonton City Council approved the replacement of the turf with artificial turf, which was completed in May 2010. The City of Edmonton and the Edmonton Eskimos teamed up to do the 50/50 cost-shared project which rung in at $2.6 million.[31]

Notable eventsEdit



Commonwealth stadium is served by Stadium Station along the LRT (201) line and the Stadium Transit Centre (served by Routes 2, 120 and 127) adjacent to the LRT station. Through their Green & Go program with the city of Edmonton, which began in June 2008,[32] the Eskimos provide free transportation to Commonwealth stadium.[33] There is no other professional sports team which provides this service outside of the Eskimos.[23]

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 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. Grey Cup 2010, The Canadian Press
  4. Edmonton's Stadium Legacy by Michael Payne, City Archivist, City of Edmonton
  5. 5.0 5.1
  6. http://City of Edmonton, History of Commonwealth Stadium; //
  7. City of Edmonton, History of Commonwealth Stadium; [Retrieved:01/11/2008]
  8.; [Retrieved: 01/11/2008]
  10. "History of Commonwealth Stadium". Edmonton Archives. City of Edmonton. Retrieved June 17, 2012.
  11. Ho, Clara. "Grass cut out of Commonwealth". SLAM! Sports. Retrieved 11 March 2010.
  12. "Eskimos impressed with new Commonwealth Stadium FieldTurf". Edmonton Journal. 2010-05-10. Retrieved 2010-07-15.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Edmonton FieldTurf fast facts, May 10, 2010, Staff
  15. What a difference a year makes
  16. Commonwealth Stadium renovations done in time for Grey Cup
  17. Esks benefit from Cup success, By Terry Jones, Edmonton Sun
  21. Esks unveil new state-of-the-art locker room
  22. Locker Room Unveiling - July 3, 2010
  23. 23.0 23.1
  25. Esks fans sittin’ pretty
  26. Esks "unleash" 2012 plans and unveil new look for stadium
  27. "Commonwealth Stadium". City of Edmonton. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  28. "Esks blow shot at first". Edmonton Journal. 2009-09-27. Retrieved 2010-01-19.
  29. 29.0 29.1 Sperounes, Sandra (June 2, 2011). "Bono dedicates final U2 song to Slave Lake fire victims". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
  31. Artificial turf on the way Commonwealth Stadium losing grass By MEGAN SARRAZIN, QMI Agency
  32. Esks, ETS and Molson revel in Green and Go success
  33. Green & Go Program


External linksEdit


Events and tenants
Preceded by
Clarke Stadium
Home of the
Edmonton Eskimos

1978 – present
Current holder
Host of the NHL Heritage Classic
Succeeded by
McMahon Stadium,
Calgary, Alberta
Preceded by
Estadio Olímpico,
Seville, Spain
Host of the IAAF World
Championships in Athletics

Succeeded by
Stade de France,
Paris, France
Preceded by
Stadionul Naţional,
Bucharest, Romania
Host of the
Summer Universiade

Succeeded by
Universiade Memorial Stadium,
Kobe, Japan
Preceded by
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum,
Home of the
Edmonton Drillers (NASL)

1979 – 1981
Succeeded by
Clarke Stadium
Preceded by
Queen Elizabeth II Park,
Christchurch, New Zealand
Host of the
Commonwealth Games

Succeeded by
Queen Elizabeth II
Jubilee Sports Centre
Brisbane, Australia

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