WebStamp June 24, 2020
Do We Part With A Historic Icon?
Now that city council has set the timeline for the design and construction of the New Event Centre for completion in May 2024 also designates when the Historic Iconic Saddledome is scheduled to be demolished. Last year Mayor Nenshi said that he was going to be super sad to see it go, but that after discussions of possible alternative uses for the arena tearing it down is the right call.
Nenshi also said “We don’t really need that second arena. But listen, if somebody out there has a brilliant plan for how to repurpose that building, send them in now.” Back in 2017, Calgary released the Saddledome Future Use Study potential future uses for the Saddledome without a major tenant. This study took into account partnerships, emotional attachment, competition, time, coordination, and the social impact the different scenarios proposed.
Two of the scenarios in the study indicated that they would be profitable: a multiuse sports/recreation facility and a convention centre. Now with the new Event Centre and BMO Centre, both would be considered as competition. A third scenario where the Saddledome compliments the Event Centre with a smaller capacity venue facility could be a viable option. The proposal in the study fails to take full advantage of the space and with proper design, it could become a profitable and vibrant community hub with small shops and concessions incorporated with a smaller 7000 seat venue.
Over a 1000 people managed to voice their opinions in the allotted 6 days engagement. According to political analyst Duane Bratt, the short engagement was to possibly prevent the opposition from mobilizing as we saw with the Olympic bid. Bratt said. “It seems really rushed and I think it’s rushed by design. A lot of people are on holidays; they haven’t had time to digest this.”
Many have asked, “Could the Saddledome be repurposed without competing with the new arena?.” Other Canadian cities have retained their old historic stadiums. Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto is now a multi-purpose facility with Loblaws occupying retail space on the lower floors and the Mattamy Athletic Centre at the Gardens occupying the top level. Calgary resident Kelsi Hurlbut said “The Saddledome is something everyone can pick out as something that’s ironically Calgary. I think it would be sad to lose it — especially as a parking lot.”
Barry Lester, a retired engineer and VP with Stantec, is very familiar with the Saddledome’s architecture and mentioned “The lower bowl of bleachers can easily be removed with a 300-foot diameter floor (65,000 square foot) clear span space useable for just about anything. Come on people! This is essentially a “free” building. Let’s not see it destroyed. It could be home to soccer, rodeo, water park, community hockey, Nashville North, livestock shows and auctions etc. Somebody just isn’t trying hard enough.”
Many Calgarians have already proposed some interesting ideas. The Saddledome could become a massive indoor waterpark with pool, beaches, slides, and include hotel, restaurant and retail. Other ideas shared by Calgarians include a farmers’ market, a Stampede Museum, an incubator for agriculture-based start-ups, could become the Olds College Calgary campus or even a parkade for parking for the Event Centre.
If we want to preserve our heritage, we need to save our iconic historic buildings, just like they are doing with historic City Hall. The Saddledome is even listed as a unique historic resource on the City of Calgary website but not legally protected as a heritage building. Why are they so eager to remove an easily recognized historic iconic landmark from our skyline that played an important role in our city's development? Let us all Make The M.A.D. Move and retain the part of history that help make Calgary what it is today, an iconic reflection of what Calgary is all about and where we came from. Remember, once it is gone, it’s gone!
Saving the Saddledome Articles
Save The Iconic Saddledome
Originally called the Olympic Saddledome, this Calgary symbol is slated to be removed within the next 5 years from our skyline. The historic structure has been a vital part of Calgary's development and should remain one of Calgary's trademarks.
Voice your Opinion
- Take the 1-Question Survey
Should Calgary Preserve
Articles in this Issue
WebStamp June 24, 2020