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Calgary Landmarks – Saddledome

  • October 16, 2013
  • By Cody Battershill

Calgary Landmarks – Saddledome

This hockey arena / entertainment venue may just be the second most recognized Calgary landmark there is - next to the Calgary Tower of course.

Calgary Saddledome landmarks

Completed in October of 1983, the arena is also one of the largest entertainment venues in our city and will be for years to come.

The Saddledome has an extremely unique cowboy-hat like shape to its roof which makes it a memorable sight and also one of our cities top landmarks.

It isn’t the first piece of architecture in our city that has tried to replicate the look of such an item which actually has a significant meaning to the City of Calgary and all that it stands for.

The Twin Tower Bankers Hall also have two “cowboy hats” on top of their structures, but I say the Saddledome does a much better job of representing the White Hat of Calgary also seen on our city flag.

Many locals would suggest that the Saddledome is where some of the best entertainment happens in Calgary.

It is very true; the building is host to professional and amateur sports teams the Flames (NHL), Hitman (WHL) and Roughnecks (NLL), as well as takes on a significant role when international singers, musicians, and bands come to town.

Calgary beltlineHistory of the Saddledome

The Saddledome was originally built in 1983 to replace the Stampede Corral as the home arena of the Calgary Flames (National Hockey League), and served its purpose for the up and coming 1988 Winter Olympic Games when it was used for figure skating and ice hockey events.

Initially the Calgary landmark was projected to cost $60 million, although after further revisions it was bumped up to $80 million.

This price tag increased again by almost $18 million as construction on the Saddledome was fast-tracked and resulted in some issues that needed consideration, causing its completion date to be delayed by 8 months.

When it finally opened, the Saddledome served as a morale booster for the City of Calgary during a time where international oil markets were weak and high interest rates ruled.

The first game held at the venue was the Calgary Flames vs. the Edmonton Oilers, where the Oilers won 4-3 in a sold out building of close to 17,000 people.

Over the years, the Saddledome has changed has increased its seating capacity considerably…

  • 1983 - 1988 – capacity of 16,605 persons
  • 1988 – 1995 – capacity of 20,240 persons
  • 1995 – Present – capacity of 19,829

It has also changed its names quite a few times…

  • 1983 – 1996 – Olympic Saddledome
  • 1996 – 2000 Canadian Airlines Saddledome
  • 2000 – 2010 – Pengrowth Saddledome
  • 2010 – Present – Scotiabank Saddledome

Calgary Roughnecks Lacrosse TeamExperience the Saddledome

Whether you are a local or are visiting Calgary, the Saddledome is the place to go for entertainment of all sorts.

It is one of the must see Calgary landmarks; how you experience this awesome venue is totally up to you!

In the near future from when this article was published, international superstars including Tim McGraw, the Dixie Chicks, Cher, Lady Antebellum, Harlem Globetrotters, Drake, KISS and Pearl Jam are only some of the musicians and singers coming soon to the Saddledome.

A full list of up and coming events can be found at the Scotiabank Saddledome website.

Let’s not forget about the action-packed Flames, Hitmen and Roughneck games that are just as exciting as any live performing artist or band. Go Calgary go!

After the game, enjoy a riverside walk back towards the downtown core and East Village, or perhaps head west towards the beltline area and 17th Avenue SW for a bite to eat and some drinks. It’s all possible with the convenient location in the inner city that the Saddledome has. So check it out!


Category: Blog, Calgary