The Saddledome has been a staple of Calgary’s skyline since it was completed in the fall of 1983. It has been awarded for its architectural design three times, and has even been on the cover of Time magazine. It is home to three of the four major sports teams in Calgary, and has been the cities main concert venue for some of the worlds biggest acts.
36 years later though, the Saddledome is very much in need of a replacement. The Saddle-shaped roof has proved to be difficult for some of the bigger touring acts. Many bands are skipping Calgary as a tour stop because the roof can’t hold the equipment that many shows require.
The roof holds 80,000 pounds, and during the winter months when snow is a factor, 40,000 pounds is the limit. Take Drake for instance. His shows require 200,000 pounds of equipment to dwell from the ceiling. This not only means Calgarians have to drive to other cities to see their favorite performers, but it also means the city of Calgary is losing out on a lot of tourism dollars without a suffice event centre.
“People are tired of driving up to Edmonton for concerts”- Jeff Davison, Calgary city Councillor
Although Edmonton is a three hour drive, Calgary city Councillor Jeff Davison says “people are tired of driving to Edmonton for concerts. Davison feels its a huge cultural loss for Calgary, as he also says “were the fourth most liveable city in the world, yet we don’t have the ability to bring in global acts. That’s a huge concern”
Calgary council has given the green light for 1.5 billion dollars to go towards capital projects. That includes a new event centre that would host concerts as well as other sporting events like hockey and lacrosse. Where the money is coming from, when construction will begin, or what the design of a new event centre would look like are still unknown.
“In a perfect world, we keep the Saddledome, and use it for smaller events. It will always hold a special place in my heart.” -Rick Tulsie, Head of Guest Experience at the Saddledome
It would certainly be a tough day for some Calgarians when the Saddledome is replaced. It may not be the same flashy building it was when it first opened, but many still feel its a building filled with character and memories. Rick Tulsie has been working at the Saddledome for twenty years, and he feels it should still be part of our city, well after a new event centre takes its place. Tulsie says “in a perfect world, we keep the Saddledome, and use it for smaller events. It will always hold a special place in my heart.”
The iconic structure is surely showing its age, but what the city chooses to do with the ‘Dome after a new event centre is up and running will determine how Calgarians look at our ever changing skyline.