Old Mosaic Stadium's west grandstand comes crashing down

Hundreds of people withstood the late-October chill to watch an iconic part of the old Mosaic Stadium come crashing to the ground.

Hundreds of people watched an iconic part of the old stadium collapse on Friday

Old Mosaic Stadium demolition 1:35

After a number of delays, the west grandstand of the old Mosaic Stadium collapsed on Friday. 

Hundreds of people waited more than an hour outside or in their vehicles to witness what's fondly known as the shady side come down. 

"The ground shook a lot. I was really surprised by that," Angie Evans said.

"I hope they get it cleaned up soon and moved on to the next thing. I'm sure lots of people here have great memories of the place, but now they have a beautiful new stadium."

Why the wait?

More than an hour after the teardown was expected to start, a sense of impatience could be felt and heard from some crowd members.

A six-man crew from Budget Demolition was in charge of the teardown, and the company's president Ian Bartels said everything went as planned.

"A few delays, but we're happy with the outcome," said Bartels.

He explained that one of the cables used to pull the columns at the base of the structure had to be re-attached. 

Crews were also seen watering the structure as part of dust mitigation efforts, according to Bartels.

"We don't want to rush these things," he said.

How it all went down

Bartels said his crew spent all week making precise cuts into the columns. Cables were tied around the columns, and with a swift pull from two massive excavators, the grandiose fall was triggered.

A pile of rubble lie beneath the toppling structure, to cushion resulting vibrations.

Cleanup is expected to be complete by mid-December, according to the Budget Demolition President.

Jerry Reschke still remembers the first Rider game he attended in 1978 with his dad. They drove in from Pontiex and sat in the top row of the upper deck of the grandstand. 

"It was a long wait, but man it was fast. Like it was very, very quick," he said. "It's pretty sad, it really is because it's been up there for so long, went to so many games there."

Reschke brought his own son to watch it come down.  His son's favourite part of the demolition was "when it falled down." 

After more than an hour of delays, old Mosaic Stadium's grandstand came tumbling down around 2:20 p.m. CST. (Kendall Latimer/CBC)

CBC Saskatchewan was live for an interactive special as fans asked questions and shared stories about the stadium.

John Klein said the day was historic for Regina, recalling the many times he watched the Riders play in the stadium.

"To see it gone is sad. It's only a forty-year-old structure that we tore down," he said. 

"I'm sure I'll make more memories at the new one, it's just too bad we weren't able to do something with it and make better use of it in the time it was here." 

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      Wrecking crews began dismantling the former home of the Saskatchewan Roughriders in September. The teardown followed a summer where fans were able to bid on hundreds of pieces of memorabilia from the longtime home of the CFL team.

      The last Roughrider game at the old Mosaic Stadium was in October 2016. The team played its first pre-season game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the new stadium in June. 

      The $278-million facility replaces the decades-old stadium that stands just to the east of it. 

      People gathered in the green and white to watch the remnants of Taylor Field and the west grandstand get demolished. (Kendall Latimer/CBC)

      Farewell, Taylor Field

      Neal Hughes's first memory of the old Mosaic Stadium was a year-end game of Regina Minor Football. It still survives to this day — on VHS.

      The former Saskatchewan Roughrider, who played 140 regular season games and won two Grey Cups with the team, said he is sad to see the old field go, but added the new Mosaic Stadium is a chance for fresh memories.

      "There's a lot of blood, sweat and tears out on that field," Hughes said about the old Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field.

      The demolition of the Mosaic Stadium grandstand experienced delays and those who dropped by during their lunch breaks had to head back to work. (Kendall Latimer/CBC)

      On Friday, the Riders will play the second-last game of the season in their new barn against the Montreal Alouettes, the team that won back-to-back Grey Cup championships over the Riders in 2009 and 2010.

      When Hughes played, he said his routine was to avoid looking at the stadium until he actually arrived on game days. He did it as a minor football player and he did it when the Riders won the Grey Cup on their home turf in 2013.

      "It was awesome. It is a moment that I'll remember for the rest of my life." 

      With files from Kendall Latimer, Adam Hunter, Christy Climenhaga


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