Tue 01 March 2022 | 20:29

Top facts about Commonwealth Stadium, Hugest Open-air Stadium in Canada

This article is going to be about all the different aspects of this venue which is located in Alberta and has the largest capacity for a stadium with no rooftop.

Commonwealth Stadium, also known as The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium during Edmonton Elks games, is an open-air multi-purpose stadium in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It is located in the McCauley neighborhood. With a seating capacity of 56,302, it is Canada's largest open-air stadium. It hosts athletics, soccer, rugby union, and concerts in addition to Canadian football.

Construction on the venue began in 1975 and was opened in time for the 1978 Commonwealth Games (hence its name), replacing Clarke Stadium as the home of the Edmonton Eskimos (the Elks until 2020). It was expanded significantly ahead of the 1983 Summer Universiade, reaching a capacity of 60,081.

The Edmonton Elks of the Canadian Football League (CFL) are its major tenants, and it has hosted five Grey Cups, the CFL's championship game. For a long time, the stadium was the only CFL stadium with natural grass, until FieldTurf Duraspine Pro was introduced in 2010.

Nine FIFA World Cup qualification matches with the Canadian Men's National Soccer Team, two editions of the invitational Canada Cup, the 1996 CONCACAF Men's Pre-Olympic Tournament, the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship, the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, and the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup are among the soccer tournaments that Canada has participated in.

From 2011 to 2013, Commonwealth Stadium hosted FC Edmonton's Canadian Championship matches. The stadium is also being considered as a possible location for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, which Canada, Mexico, and the United States would co-host. The stadium has also hosted the 2001 World Athletics Championships, the 2006 Women's Rugby World Cup, and three editions of the Churchill Cup.

Top facts about Commonwealth Stadium, A $273 Million Venue

You will find most of the main and interesting information about this stadium in this writing.

Commonwealth Stadium Seating & Different Complexes

Commonwealth Stadium can hold 56,302 people in an all-seater configuration. There are two twin-tier grandstands on each side of the stadium, as well as single-tier stands on the corners and end zones.

There are 44,032 seats on the sides, with 12,386 seats in the corners and end zones. The side seats are 53 centimeters (21 inches) wide and contain a cup holder, which the end zone chairs lack.

The seating is colorized in a mosaic pattern, with dark "Eskimo" green at the bottom, yellow in the middle, and lighter green at the top.

14,203 dark green seats, 19,019 yellow seats, and 10,810 light green chairs are located on the sides. There are 8,672 dark green and 3,713 yellow seats in the corner and end zones, respectively.

On the east stand, there are 15 executive suites, 7 on the west stand, and 8 on the south end zone.

On the top sections of the bottom tier on the sides, there is a limited quantity of covered seating; half of this section on the east stand is a media center.

The stadium has a Shaw Sports Turf Powerblade Elite 2.5S artificial turf system, which was installed by GTR turf in 2016 and covers 10,215 square meters (109,950 sq ft). 

An extra shock pad has been installed to provide additional cushioning. Because there are no permanent line markings on the turf, the markings can switch between football and soccer.

The end zones' corners were partially reduced due to the running track. The end zones were squared off in 2014. A Sportflex Super X all-weather running track produced by Mondo of Italy serves as the track and field segment.

One of the Top facts about Commonwealth Stadium is that the stadium has been certified as a Class 1 venue by the International Association of Athletics Federations, a distinction held by only two other venues in Canada: Moncton Stadium and Universite de Sherbrooke Stadium.

The Field House is a three-story, 8,400-square-metre (90,000-square-foot) training facility at Commonwealth Stadium that features a running track, a 64-by-64-meter (70-by-70-yard) artificial turf training field, a fitness and weight room, locker rooms, and a running track.

It is part of the Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre, which also includes a 5,600-square-metre (60,000-square-foot) aquatics center with a four-lane lap pool, water slides, a recreational pool, administrative offices measuring 2,800 square meters (30,000 square feet), and a fitness center measuring 2,800 square meters (30,000 square feet). 

Each of the facilities is located in an extension to the central lobby. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification has been granted to the facility.

Clarke Stadium, which seats 5,000 people and serves as a training ground and home ground for

FC Edmonton

of the Canadian Premier League, is located next to Commonwealth Stadium.

The stadium is served by the Edmonton Light Rail Transit Capital Line's Stadium station. The regularity of service is increased during Elks games.

The Elks and the City of Edmonton collaborate on the Green & Go program, which provides free transit rides from six park and ride lots throughout Edmonton to the venue.

Any pre-purchased game ticket holder is entitled to free transportation from these lots to the venue, another one of the Top facts about Commonwealth Stadium.

The city began the program in order to reduce parking and traffic congestion in the stadium's immediate vicinity. From two hours before games to two hours after games, game tickets are valid fare on the LRT.

During games, the city proclaims a neighborhood parking ban in the vicinity of the stadium, allowing only automobiles with residential permits to park on the streets.

Commonwealth Stadium Soccer Games

With the relocation of the Oakland Stompers in 1979, the Edmonton Drillers of the North American Soccer League, then the premier soccer league in Canada and the United States, were created.

The team, which was purchased by Peter Pocklington, opted to play its first three seasons at Commonwealth Stadium.

During the 1980 season, the squad hosted playoff matches at home. In their first three seasons, the Drillers averaged between 9,923 and 10,920 fans per game.

Pocklington decided to move to Clarke Stadium for the 1982 season after losing $10.5 million in three years. The squad was disbanded at the end of the year when average attendance dropped to 4,922.

Commonwealth Stadium has previously been a preferred venue for the Canadian Soccer Association to hold national games due to its natural turf, one of the

Top facts about Commonwealth Stadium.

It has hosted 18 Men's National Soccer Team games and two Men's Under-20 National Team games. Between 1995 and 2000, the most intense period came, with 13 A-team games played.

At Commonwealth, the A-team has competed in nine FIFA World Cup qualifiers and five friendly matches. On June 5, 1994, when


drew 1–1 with


, a record attendance of 51,936 was set.

The Canadian Soccer Association has been invited to the Canada Cup on two occasions, which is a three or four-team invitational international friendly tournament held at Commonwealth Stadium. 

Canada, Northern Ireland, and Chile competed in the 1995 Canada Cup, while Canada U-23, Iran, Ecuador, and Guatemala U-23 competed in the 1999 Canada Cup.

The stadium hosted a CONCACAF 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier third-round match between Canada and


on November 16, 2021; with a 2–1 victory, Canada defeated Mexico for the first time in 21 years, gaining the lead in the pool.

Another one of the Top facts about Commonwealth Stadium is that due to the bitterly cold Prairie temperatures in November, Canada Soccer dubbed the stadium "Canada's frozen fortress," and fans dubbed it "Estadio Iceteca" or "The Iceteca," in reference to Mexico's home stadium, Estadio Azteca. It was the coldest game in Mexico national team history, with a temperature of -9°C at kickoff.

Edmonton has hosted five international friendlies and two FIFA Women's World Cup matches featuring the national women's soccer team of Canada.

Prior to the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, the highest attendance was 29,953 for a game between Canada and Mexico on August 31, 2003, when Canada won 8–0.

In 2015, the attendance record was broken when Canada defeated


1–0 in the Women's World Cup opener in front of a record crowd of 53,058, one of the Top facts about Commonwealth Stadium.

Commonwealth Stadium was one of six Canadian stadiums chosen to host the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup from June 30 to July 22. Edmonton hosted nine of the 52 matches, including a quarterfinal and semifinal, as well as two Canadian matches.

The games drew a total of 243,517 spectators, with an average attendance of 27,057, second only to Montreal's Olympic Stadium. The game between Canada and Congo drew the largest crowd of 32,058, with 32,058 people in attendance.

Under the Edmonton Cup umbrella, two club-friendly matches were held at Commonwealth in 2009 and 2010. The first match saw River Plate of Argentina defeat


of England 1–0 in front of 15,800 fans.

FC Edmonton drew 1–1 with Portsmouth in the second match, which drew 8,792 spectators. In 2019,

Cardiff City FC

(English Football League) and Real Valladolid played a third club friendly at Commonwealth Stadium.

Cardiff City drew 1–1 with the Spanish La Liga team owned by Brazilian superstar


before winning the penalty shootout 4–2. FC Edmonton joined the Canadian Championship in 2011 and played their home games at Commonwealth Stadium until 2014 when they returned to Clarke Stadium.

Between August 5 and 24, 2014, Commonwealth Stadium hosted matches for the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, and between June 5 and July 6, 2015, it hosted matches for the FIFA Women's World Cup.

Commonwealth Stadium Athletics and Canadian Football

The Commonwealth Games, which took place from August 3 to 12, 1978, were held at Commonwealth Stadium. A total of 1,474 athletes from 46 countries competed in 128 events throughout the games.

Canada had its best performance ever, winning 45 gold medals out of a total of 109 medals. The athletics competitions, which included 38 events: 23 for male competitors and 15 for female competitors, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies, were held at Commonwealth Stadium.

Edmonton bid for and was chosen to host the 1983 Summer Universiade as a result of the Commonwealth Games' success and popularity.

The athletics events, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies, were held at Commonwealth Stadium once again.

There were 24 male and 17 female athletics events. The games drew 2,400 athletes from 73 countries, but they failed to get the same amount of public attention as the Commonwealth Games.

The 2001 World Athletics Championships were held at Commonwealth Stadium from August 3 to 12, with 1677 athletes from 189 countries competing, one of the Top facts about Commonwealth Stadium.

Since the 1978 season, Commonwealth Stadium has served as the home of the Edmonton Elks of the Canadian Football League. The Eskimos drew an average of 25,324 fans per game in 1977, their final season at Clarke, and filled the stadium to capacity for seven of their eight games.

They drew an average of 42,540 fans each game in 1979, selling out seven of their eight games. On September 26, 2009, the team set the all-time regular-season attendance record of 62,517 against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

The Commonwealth has sold out 28 regular-season Edmonton Elks games. Since the installation of artificial turf at Clarke Stadium in 2010, the club has used Commonwealth Stadium as a training facility.

The Grey Cup, the CFL's championship game, has been held at the stadium five times, in 1984, 1997, 2002, 2010, and 2018.

Prior to the commencement of the 2010 Grey Cup season, all tickets were sold out. One of the

Top facts about Commonwealth Stadium

is that the game drew a record-breaking attendance of 63,317 people, making it the largest in the stadium's history.

Commonwealth Stadium Other Events

Pink Floyd, Beyonce, David Bowie, Tim McGraw, Genesis, The Rolling Stones, The Police, Fiction Plane, AC/DC, Metallica, U2, Kenny Chesney, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Taylor Swift, Bon Jovi, Guns N' Roses, Lilith Fair, Edgefest, and One Direction have all performed at Commonwealth Stadium.

The 2003 Heritage Classic was an outdoor ice hockey game held on November 22 between the Edmonton Oilers and the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League (NHL).

The Canadiens won 4–3 in front of 57,167 fans in the first regular-season NHL game played outdoors, despite temperatures nearing -18 °C, -30 °C (-22 °F) with wind chill.

It was held to mark the Edmonton Oilers' 25th anniversary of entering the NHL in 1979, as well as the 20th anniversary of their first Stanley Cup victory in 1984.

In Canada, the television broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation attracted 2.747 million people, the second-highest audience for a regular-season NHL game, one of the Top facts about Commonwealth Stadium.

Churchill Cup matches have been held at Commonwealth Stadium. The first round of the 2004 tournament was held in Calgary, and the second round was held at Commonwealth Stadium.

All of the matches of the 2005 edition were held in Edmonton, with the final drawing a crowd of 17,000 people.

The three finals of the 2006 edition were held at Commonwealth Stadium. Edmonton and its suburb, St. Albert, hosted the 2006 Women's Rugby World Cup.

The majority of the Edmonton games took place at Ellerslie Rugby Park, but Commonwealth Stadium hosted the final, third-place match, and fifth-place match.

The Canadian Men's National Team hosted Scotland, the world number six at the time, in a test match at Commonwealth Stadium on June 9, 2018.

In front of a crowd of 12,824 at Commonwealth Stadium, Scotland defeated Canada 48–10 to win the match.

In 1980, the venue hosted a Billy Graham event during his Northern Canada Crusade. In an exhibition baseball game attended by 24,830 people in 1983, the Edmonton Trappers AAA baseball team defeated the California Angels of Major League Baseball.

Commonwealth Stadium, A Brief History

Clarke Stadium, originally opened in 1939 on a 15-hectare (38-acre) plot of land, was Edmonton's primary stadium before Commonwealth Stadium. The application process to host the 1978 Commonwealth Games began in the early 1970s.

The bid, which received money from the federal, provincial, and city governments, aimed for substantial restoration of the city's many sporting grounds. Clarke Stadium was supposed to be restored and enlarged in order to accommodate sporting events, according to the original plans.

By 1974, it was clear that Clarke Stadium would not suffice and that a completely new stadium would be required. Edmonton City Council decided in January 1975 to develop a 40,000-seat venue close to Clarke Stadium after considering many locations and sizes.

Ragan, Bell, McManus Consultants designed the venue. Kinsmen Aquatic Centre and Argyll Velodrome are two more new venues that the city had planned to build. Their design was inspired by Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa, in the United States, one of the

Top facts about Commonwealth Stadium.

Excavation began in December 1974, and 380,000 cubic meters (500,000 cubic yards) of earthwork were removed. In early 1975, a local action committee, Action Edmonton, urged that construction be halted and the venue be relocated. The city estimated that this would cost an additional $2.5 million and cause an eight-month delay in the process.

On December 10, 1975, the decision was made not to enclose the stadium. As a result, the venue was not built to accommodate a retrofitted roof, whether air-filled or stiff.

The Rat Creek Dump and the Williamson Slaughter House were demolished to make way for the venue. Archaeological assessments were carried out after remains from the dump were discovered during excavation.

The original line of the Edmonton Light Rail Transit (later renamed the Capital Line) began construction in 1974 and was completed in time for the Commonwealth Games, allowing fans to go from Stadium station to downtown Edmonton via the LRT.

The stadium's construction was finished on time and on budget. The stadium had a capacity of 42,500 people and a natural grass pitch when it was opened.

Commonwealth Stadium, unlike most other large stadiums in Canada, chose a natural grass turf, another one of the Top facts about Commonwealth Stadium. On the north end, there were 39,384 bucket seats and 3,200 bench seats in the original design.

The facility was officially opened on July 15, 1978, in front of a crowd of 15,000 people. The seating capacity was expanded to 43,346 in 1980 when the facility underwent a minor expansion.

Additional roof proposals, ranging in price from $10 to $32 million, were submitted in 1979, but the topic of covering the stadium has since faded away.

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source: SportMob

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