Ottawa

Coliseum demolition begins at Lansdowne

Demolition of the Coliseum building at Lansdowne Park began Monday, marking the end of a landmark that has stood, in one form or another, for more than 100 years.

Demolition of the Coliseum building at Lansdowne Park began on Monday, marking the end of a landmark that has stood, in one form or another, for more than 100 years.

Work crews will first remove the back pavilion. The front section along Bank Street that was home to the Ottawa 67's ticket office is to be torn down in about two weeks.

Workers had already completed work to remove asbestos in the back portion of the building, and so the city says there is no risk of asbestos as demolition gets underway.

The first building at the site of the Coliseum was built in 1903 as a show building for livestock.

In 1904 and 1905 its roof collapsed under the heavy weight of snow. Later it was expanded to include an auditorium called Howick Hall, but in 1914 the boiler in the basement exploded during the Ottawa Winter Fair.

The explosion killed three men, injured 20 people and killed 20 horses and hundreds of poultry. A huge hole was blown through the roof.

In 1926 the building was expanded and refurbished. Howick Hall was kept but much of the rest of the building was replaced. This refurbishing also added a new front to the building on Bank Street, which stands today.

Building hosted conventions, trade shows

At its height, the Coliseum hosted trade and livestock shows and political conventions that crowned prominent leaders such as John Diefenbaker, Lester B. Pearson and Tommy Douglas.

The prominence of the Coliseum waned after the Civic Centre was built in 1967. Most people today know 1015 Bank St. as the Ottawa 67's ticket office, while the exhibition hall behind hosted trade shows, and in the winter, indoor soccer.

The demolition of the Coliseum is part of the $300-million redevelopment of Lansdowne Park.

As part of the redevelopment, the Horticulture Building will be moved and Frank Clair Stadium will undergo a major renovation. 

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