. stampede corral

 

1950

1410 Olympic Way SE

 

 

     Following the end of World War II, the idea of a new arena was first introduced by the Calgary Exhibition & Stampede in order to replace the outdated, but well utilized, Victoria Arena.  Architect John Stevenson was commissioned to undertake the project. Stevenson spent several months touring North America to study the latest in arena design. He further consulted experts in refrigeration, ventilation, and construction before executing a final design with engineer J.A. Scarr (chief engineer at the Calgary Brewery & Malting Co.).

     Opened in December of 1950, the Stampede Corral was a fire resistant structure capable of seating 6,650 and 2,200 standing (19 rows on rink sides, 21 on ends). Modern in every respect, the arena was praised for its steel roof arches which were designed not to obstruct views of the ice surface or horse show ring.  Placement of the arena was carefully considered to align with the 2 Street East and 17 Avenue entrance to the grounds. Twelve entrances and 42 exit doors ensured easy access. A 1,000 foot concourse housing concessions, offices, and dressing rooms, 24 feet wide, circled the rink.  The ice rink itself was controlled by a modern freezing plant enabling ice to be formed in twenty-four hours; only Maple Leaf Gardens could also boast this service. Bird Construction built the project (one of the most significant contracts of the decade in the city) at a cost of approximately $1,500,000.

   The Stampede Corral's design shows competing strains of the modern movement commonly found on Alberta buildings following World War II. The building combines Art Deco, Moderne, and International styles. The stepped back massing is characteristic of the period. Building decoration is derivative of the Art Deco and Moderne influences. Innovative construction (long span steel), the use of high quality materials (terrazzo floors), and modern mechanical systems (the first refrigeration system of its kind) combined to provide a facility unmatched in Western Canada. 

     The Corral opened to a crowd of 7,000 people and is associated with long time sports manager Lloyd Turner. Turner's significant photo collection of Calgary's hockey history has been profiled in the Corral since its opening. The Corral has represented the growth of sport and the Exhibition over three decades.

 

 

 

 

 

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