TD Place Stadium
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|Former names||Lansdowne Park (1908–1993)
Frank Clair Stadium (1993–2014)
|Owner||City of Ottawa|
|Operator||Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group|
|Opened||1908 (rebuilt in 2008)|
|Ottawa Rough Riders (CFL) (1908–1996)
University of Ottawa Gee-Gees (CIS)
Carleton University Ravens (CIS)
Ottawa Giants (IL) (1951)
Ottawa Athletics (IL) (1952–1954)
Ottawa Junior Riders (QJFL) (1997–2006)
Ottawa Renegades (CFL) (2002–2005)
Ottawa Redblacks (CFL) (2014–present)
Ottawa Fury FC (NASL) (2014–present)
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TD Place Stadium (originally Lansdowne Park and formerly Frank Clair Stadium) is a 24,000-seat stadium in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It is located at Lansdowne Park, on the southern edge of The Glebe neighbourhood, where Bank Street crosses the Rideau Canal. It is the home of the Ottawa Redblacks of the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the Ottawa Fury FC of the North American Soccer League (NASL). It was known as Frank Clair Stadium until it was renamed on January 7, 2014. It has existed in rudimentary form since the 1870s, and as a complete stadium since 1908.
The playing field, part of the Ottawa Exposition Grounds, was first cleared in the 1870s. It was used for equestrian events, lacrosse and rugby football. The first permanent grandstand was built on the north side of the playing field in 1908. It was demolished in 1967 to build a new set of stands with an integrated ice hockey arena underneath, then known as the Ottawa Civic Centre.
A small grandstand was built in the 1920s on the south-side of the field, and it was replaced in 1960. A second deck for the south-side was added during the 1970s. As of 2008, prior to lower south-side demolition, the overall stadium had a 30,927 capacity for football.
In the late 1990s, the stadium was threatened with demolition when then-mayor Jim Watson led a drive by the municipal government to allow a private developer to reconfigure Lansdowne Park. The proposals submitted all called for residences to be built on the site of the football stadium. Massive public opposition and the realization that the end of the stadium would mean the end of hopes to return CFL football to the capital led the regional government to step in and end the scheme.
For many years, the stadium was known as Lansdowne Park, after the fairgrounds in which it was located. It was renamed in 1993 to honour Frank Clair, coach and general manager for the Ottawa Rough Riders during the 1960s and 1970s.
Revitalization and reconstruction
In September 2007, the lower south side stands were closed because of cracks in the concrete structure. After the closure of the stands, then-Ottawa mayor Larry O'Brien was quoted at the time that this was an opportunity to do a review of the usage and the facilities of Lansdowne Park. Subsequently a process was started called "Design Lansdowne" to get public consultations on the Park and the stadium. After an engineering study of the north-side and south-side grandstands, the south-side stands were condemned. The lower section of the stands was demolished by controlled implosion on July 20, 2008 at 8:03 am.
During the summer of 2008, a consortium of investors was formed to pursue a new CFL team in Ottawa. They bid successfully and received a conditional franchise from the CFL, with the condition that the stadium would need to be upgraded before the franchise could be activated. Jeff Hunt, one of the principal investors and owner of the Ottawa 67's who play in the attached arena, stated that the venue and location are ideal, with over a million people in Ottawa. The organization had reportedly already pre-sold 5,000 season tickets.
In the fall of 2008, the consortium, known as Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), approached the City with a plan to redevelop Lansdowne Park and rebuild the stadium using the proceeds from turning a section of the park into commercial and retail space. The plan, entitled Lansdowne Live! was ambitious and included plans to redevelop all sections of the park. The City, which had received a competing stadium proposal for Kanata, reviewed the plans and agreed to a conditional agreement with OSEG. OSEG would concentrate on the stadium and commercial/residential precinct, and Ottawa would return the rest of Lansdowne Park to green space. Faced with opposition to the plan, the City proceeded slowly with the proposal, seeking out legal opinions, traffic studies, and an urban park design competition for Lansdowne.
In June 2010 it was announced that Ottawa City Council had approved a redevelopment plan put forward by OSEG to renovate Frank Clair Stadium and build 350,000 sq ft (33,000 m2) of commercial retail space, 250 housing units and an urban park on the site. The stadium, which was the catalyst to bring the CFL back to Ottawa is to be rent-free to developers for 30 years. Proceeds from the retail and commercial precinct would be shared, and the retail and commercial precinct brought under City control after 30 years. Completion of the overall development was scheduled for 2015.
The OSEG proposal for the stadium envisioned tearing down all of the south-side stands, replacing the stands with a new structure with private boxes and a unique wood-wrapping around the exterior. The north-side stands were to be renovated to current standards, and the north-side exterior expanded to include a retail component. In September 2010, the Ottawa Fury joined the plan to redevelop Lansdowne. On June 20, 2011, Ottawa was awarded a professional soccer franchise in the North American Soccer League (NASL) to start play in 2014.
In November 2011, demolition of the rest of the south side stands started. The contract to demolish the stands was awarded for $550,000. Unlike the lower stands, the upper stands structure was demolished piece-by-piece rather than controlled implosion. The concrete and steel from the structure was recycled, and the seats re-used at a new rink at Ottawa City Hall. Demolition was completed by January 2012.
The stadium was completed for the first Ottawa Redblacks home game on July 18, 2014. The Ottawa Fury opened their fall season on the same weekend after playing their previous home games that year at Keith Harris Stadium at Carleton University.
The Ottawa Rough Riders football team and its predecessors played at the field from their inception in 1876 until 1996, when the team ceased operations. A successor team, the Ottawa Renegades, played at the stadium from 2002 until 2005.
From the 1870s onward, the field was also home to University of Ottawa's Gee-Gees football team. Prior to the disbanding of the Ravens football program at Carleton University in 1998, the stadium was the site of the Panda Game, when these rivals played each other with rowdy fans hurling insults across both sides of the stadium. At the Panda Game in 1987, the game (forfeited) was marred by an accident when at least 25 students were injured when a section of railing collapsed. The final Panda Game was in 1997, the year following the departure of the Riders from Ottawa. 2014 marks the return of the Panda Game to Lansdowne, when the Gee-Gees take on the Ravens for the first time at the newly renovated stadium.
The stadium has played host to five Grey Cup games, the first occasion being in 1925 when Ottawa won its first Grey Cup title. It later held Grey Cup games in 1939, 1967, and 1988, before playing host to the 92nd Grey Cup in 2004, in which the Toronto Argonauts defeated the BC Lions to become the Canadian Football League champions.
In mid-2007, the stadium was one of six hosts in the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Capacity was then listed at 28,826.
The last major concert at the stadium was in 2005, when The Rolling Stones performed in front of a crowd of 43,000.
During the winter months, a private company rented the field and placed an inflated dome over the field area, renting the covered and heated surface for use by amateur sports teams.
The stadium was one of six chosen to host matches for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup; it hosted a total of six group stage matches, two Round of 16 matches, and one quarter-final match. Due to FIFA policy forbidding commercial sponsorship of stadium names, the stadium was known as Lansdowne Stadium during the tournament.
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References and notes
- "Lansdowne stadium, arena, to be renamed TD Place". January 7, 2014.
- "Ottawa closes stadium section due to cracks in structure". CBC News. September 6, 2007. Retrieved January 10, 2008.
- "NASL". Ottawafury.com. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
- "Tear-down of Frank Clair's south stands begins". CTV News. November 4, 2011. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
- Miller, Robyn (November 4, 2011). "Demolition begins at Lansdowne Park". 1310 News. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
- "Frank Clair Stadium, Civic Centre to become TD Place". January 7, 2014.
- 1976 Summer Olympics official report. Volume 2. pp. 230–3.
- 1976 Summer Olympics official report. Volume 3. pp. 279–87.
- "FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015™ Destination: Ottawa". FIFA. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
- Simpson, Peter (September 4, 2015). "Review: AC/DC christens TD Place with a whole lotta rock". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
- "Ottawa to host 105th Grey Cup in 2017". Canadian Football League. July 31, 2016. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
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