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McMahon Stadium is, along with Burns Stadium, Canada Olympic Park, and the Saddledome, one of Calgary's major sports venues.

It's the one that's used for football, and various other sports that can be played on a slightly modified football field.

It is most well known for being the home field of Calgary's Canadian Football League team, the Calgary Stampeders.

In addition to them, it is also the home of the University of Calgary Dinos, and the Calgary Colts junior football team.

McMahon Stadium was built in 1960, to replace the old Mewata Park Stadium, which was generally agreed to be one of the worst stadiums in the country.

Costing a little over a million dollars, it was funded primarily by the University of Alberta at Calgary, which changed its name into the University of Calgary 6 years later. A major boost to the project came in the form of a $300,000 donation to the University from Frank and George McMahon, two rich Calgary oilmen.

I wish I was a rich Calgary oilman so I could get a stadium named after me...

It went up quickly, built within 100 days. The stadium was officially opened on August 15, 1960, when the Calgary Stampeders played the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. They lost 38-23.

Initially having only 20,000 seats, they had some expansion in 1975 and 1978 that brought the stadium's capacity up to 34,638. Also installed in 1975 was an artificial turf. Weee Astroturf!

In 1985, the city and the University hashed out some deal that saw both the land and the stadium become the property of the University of Calgary. Previously they had been renting the land from the city, albeit for only $1 a year.

The Stadium is managed by the McMahon Stadium Society, consisting of 6 annually appointed board members, 2 from the University, two from City Hall, and two other city residents. They report to the Board of Directors of the University of Calgary. It also has a full time Treasurer and a General Manager.

Throughout the years, McMahon Stadium has been host to quite a number of events, including Lilith Fair, three Grey Cup championships, the Eagles, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's 1990 visit to Canada.

The highest profile event to ever be held in the stadium, however, was the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1988 Olympic Winter Games. To accommodate the 60,000 people who attended, extra bleachers were set up at the north and south ends of the field. The Alberta provincial government spent $17 million on extra seats, and on upgrading the facility, including new lights and a new sound system.

Unfortunately, they hardly ever have concerts there anymore, which is a shame because it's a great venue for them. I think some people in the neighbourhood complained, and they passed a bylaw restricting noise after 11 PM. And how often does a good concert end before 11?

But where is it?!

1817 Crowchild Trail NW
Calgary, Alberta

It's on the west side of Crowchild Trail, just south of Burns Stadium, which is just south of 24th Ave NW. The University of Calgary campus is across 24th.

It's big. You can't miss it. Lots of parking too, something like 5,400 stalls.

Or you can take the C-Train. Hop on the Brentwood/Fish Creek train and get off at the Banff Trail stop. Walk a block west and there's a pedestrian overpass across Crowchild that takes you to the stadium.

www.mcmahonstadium.com/History/index.htm www.stampeders.com/Stampeders/mcmahon.html

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