Friends, the expectation right now is that fans will be in attendance when the Calgary Flames begin their pre-season schedule on Sept. 26. For fans, it’ll be the first time they trek down to the Saddledome for a sporting event since Mar. 8, 2020 – when the Flames lost to Vegas 5-2.
A lot of things have changed at Stampede Park since the last time fans were down there – and more will change in the coming months.
The Corral is gone!
The Stampede Corral opened in 1950 and was the home of the Calgary Flames from 1980-83, as well as the city’s primary big arena until the Saddledome opened in 1983. But it was aging and the land was needed for another big project, so the Corral was completely torn down last winter, with the last pieces being hauled away in February.
The LRT bridge to the Saddledome is gone!
Remember how you used to be able to walk from the Victoria Park LRT station, through the BMO Centre and Corral and across that bridge right to the Saddledome? Well, that bridge was taken down along with the Corral. If you’re coming to Stampede Park via the train, you’ll have to walk from the station at ground level.
The Victoria Park LRT station is being renovated!
Speaking of the train station, a long-awaited renovation is underway. Once kind of an awkward station split between the ground level and the +15 level, and completely isolated from everything around it, it’s being renovated. When the renovation is complete in 2023, it’ll be a ground level station that’s actually integrated into the street level.
Until it’s done, though, the station area is going to be a bit clunky, messy and awkward.
The BMO Centre expansion is underway!
Why was the Corral knocked down? To make way for the shiny new BMO Centre expansion.
Calgary Stampede unveils design of $500M BMO Centre expansion https://t.co/ejkwTEqPlD
— Canadian Design (@The_CDR) July 22, 2021
The BMO Centre expansion will be complete sometime in 2024.
Groundbreaking for the new arena in December!
Located a block and a half north of the Saddledome, the new arena will have its groundbreaking in December and full construction activities are slated for January. The goal is to have the building ready to roll by August 2024, but anybody who’s worked in construction or project management will probably respond “well, we’ll see about that” to that stated goal.
The construction will eat up two parking lots in the Stampede Park area and, y’know, make the area pretty construction-y. So for those keeping track, there will be active construction projects immediately to the west and north of the Saddledome until 2024.
Other projects slated for the area include:
- The Green Line LRT, which will have a station located just south of the CP Rail tracks north of the Saddledome (underground, roughly at the corner of 4th Street and 11th Avenue).
- An underpass that’ll put 5th Street underneath the CP Rail tracks.
- An extension of 17th Avenue across Macleod Trail and into Stampede Park, which will create an actual exit strategy for those parking in the main Stampede lots south of the Saddledome that doesn’t involve driving all the way down to Erlton to Macleod or trying to awkwardly cut through Mission. (The 17th Avenue extension likely won’t get going until 2024.)
Long story short: there’s gonna be changes – and construction – in the area in and around where the Flames are playing home games until sometime in 2027. But when those changes are done, the area will be much more functional and less of an awkward bunch of parking lots and old, old buildings.