Stampede Corral to be demolished if $500M BMO Centre expansion goes ahead

The 66-year-old Stampede Corral would be demolished if a proposal to expand the adjacent convention centre gets the go-ahead, an official confirms.

'It's a massive chunk of concrete, and cinder block, and there are no real architectural features,' says CEO

For a few seasons in the 1980s, the cozy 7,000-seat facility was home to the Calgary Flames before the Saddledome was built. (CBC)

The 66-year-old Stampede Corral would be demolished if a proposal to expand the adjacent convention centre gets the go-ahead, an official confirms.

The Stampede has a $500-million plan to double the size of the BMO Centre that would see the new space added where the Corral now stands.

The venue is no longer up to code and renovating it would be uneconomical, said Stampede spokesman Kurt Kadatz.

"It's really at this point no longer an efficient arena or event space, the ice-making equipment is at the end of its lifespan and is expensive to replace," he said.

"And so it's not really fulfilling its role as Calgary's main ice arena."

Designed as a home for the Calgary Stampeders hockey club, it was the largest Canadian arena west of Toronto at the time of its construction.

'It's a massive chunk of concrete'

For a few seasons in the 1980s, the cozy 7,000-seat facility was home to the Calgary Flames before the Saddledome was built.

Calgary Stampede CEO Warren Connell said he has fond childhood memories of those early games, but asserted that the building itself has little value. 

Designed as a home for the Calgary Stampeders hockey club, it was the largest Canadian arena west of Toronto at the time of its construction in 1950. (CBC)

"It's a massive chunk of concrete, and cinder block, and there are no real architectural features that I would call historic," he said.

"Certainly, the uses and the nostalgia of what was in the building is important to the Stampede and obviously important to our community."

Kadatz says the Stampede would look at ways to preserve the memorabilia in the old building, such as the many photos of past performers that line the walls.

Stampede alliance with CMLC

Last month the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) and the Calgary Stampede announced they had formed a "strategic alliance" that would see the city-owned developer lend its expertise to a range of expansion plans at the grounds.

The CMLC has overseen the redevelopment of the East Village just north of the Stampede.

In addition to expanding the BMO Centre, the Master Plan Vision of Stampede Park includes transit-oriented development at Erlton Station and new retail projects at 17th Avenue Crossing and Stampede Trail.

Projects already completed under the master plan include the Agrium Western Event Centre and upgrades to Enmax Park.

The groundbreaking for a new youth campus is expected soon.


With files from The Homestretch

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