Fifty years of McMahon mem­o­ries

Calgary Herald - - SPORTS -

1959: Me­wata Sta­dium, home of the Cal­gary Stam­ped­ers since 1931, needs to be re­placed but pro­vin­cial fund­ing is not forth­com­ing.

1960: Cal­gary oil­man Frank McMahon, of Pa­cific Petroleums and West­coast Trans­mis­sion, and his brother, Ge­orge, are in­stru­men­tal in de­vel­op­ing plans to build a new sta­dium. Work is com­pleted in record time and the sta­dium bears the broth­ers’ sur­name. McMahon has a ca­pac­ity of 19,536 seats — all of them bench-style.

Aug. 15, 1960: In the first game held at the sta­dium, Cal­gary Stam­ped­ers pres­i­dent Ge­orge McMahon boots a foot­ball held by his brother Frank at the cer­e­mo­nial kick­off of the CFL sea­son opener be­tween the Stam­ped­ers and the vis­it­ing Win­nipeg Blue Bombers.

1967: Due to surg­ing at­ten­dance at Stam­peder games, McMahon is ex­panded by 2,600 seats for a ca­pac­ity of 22,136.

July 4, 1970: Rock fans pack the sta­dium for Fes­ti­val Ex­press, which in­cludes per­for­mances from Ja­nis Jo­plin, the Grate­ful Dead and The Band.

1973: The Stamps con­tinue to grow in pop­u­lar­ity. An­other 3,500 seats are added to cre­ate a new ca­pac­ity of 25,636.

1975: A $1.125-mil­lion ex­pan­sion be­gins as Cal­gary pre­pares to host the Grey Cup.

Nov. 23, 1975: The Grey Cup game comes to Cal­gary for the first time, as 32,454 ea­ger Cal­gar­i­ans pack McMahon Sta­dium on a frigid fall day to watch the Ed­mon­ton Eski­mos edge the Mon­treal Alou­ettes 9-8.

1978: As Cal­gary booms, so do the crowds at McMahon. A ma­jor ex­pan­sion brings the ca­pac­ity to 33,386.

July 1978: The Ea­gles touch down in the end zone for the evening as nearly 36,000 peo­ple fill the sta­dium to ca­pac­ity for the con­cert.

July 1978: Ge­orge McMahon, 74, dies in Cal­gary af­ter a lengthy ill­ness.

Aug. 5, 1979: Chris DeBurgh warms a crowd of 37,000 that packs McMahon Sta­dium to the rafters, in prepa­ra­tion for the ar­rival of rock stars Su­per­tramp in a sum­mer con­cert billed as “The Big One.”

March 18, 1981: City coun­cil ap­proves the sale of beer at sports sta­di­ums, in­clud­ing McMahon.

May 1986: Frank McMahon dies at the age of 83 in his Ber­muda home.

1987: A to­tal of 4,819 per­ma­nent seats are added for the open­ing and clos­ing cer­e­monies of the 1988 Win­ter Olympics. Ca­pac­ity swells to 38,205 with 11,000 seats be­ing con­verted to the­atrestyle in com­pli­ance with In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee re­quire­ments.

Sept. 7, 1987: the north­west leg of the LRT opens to serve Olympic venues at the U of C and McMahon Sta­dium.

Feb. 13-28, 1988: The largest-ever McMahon Sta­dium crowd of 60,000 at­tends the open­ing and clos­ing cer­e­monies of the 1988 Win­ter Olympics.

June 30, 1990: A ca­pac­ity crowd of 38,000 is on hand to wit­ness the Queen’s visit to Cal­gary for a pa­rade.

1993: Sky­boxes are added on the west side. Ca­pac­ity drops to 37,211.

Nov. 28, 1993: More than 50,000 fans pack the sta­dium to watch the Ed­mon­ton Eski­mos de­feat the Win­nipeg Blue Bombers 33-23 in the Grey Cup fi­nal.

Aug. 28, 1998: Lilith Fair takes over McMahon Sta­dium.

2000: Sky­boxes are added on the east side. Ca­pac­ity drops to 35,967.

Nov. 27, 2000: The B.C. Lions cap­ture the Grey Cup with a 28-26 win over the Mon­treal Alou­ettes be­fore 43,822 fans.

2003: Four sec­tions of bench seats are re­placed by the­atre-style seat­ing. A sell­out crowd now sits at 35,650.

Aug. 22, 2003: The fu­ture home of the Stam­ped­ers is in doubt, as the club — un­happy with the cost of leas­ing McMahon Sta­dium — re­veals it has held dis­cus­sions with in­vestors on build­ing a new sta­dium, pos­si­bly near the air­port.

July 26, 2008: Ozzy Os­borne’s Mon­sters of Rock Fes­ti­val hits McMahon.

Nov. 29, 2009: Tem­po­rary bleach­ers give 46,020 fans the chance to see the Mon­treal Alou­ettes beat the Saskatchewan Roughrid­ers in a stun­ning, last-sec­ond 28-27 win in the 97th Grey Cup.

June 27, 2010: Lilith Fair re­turns to McMahon, at­tract­ing 9,000 fans.

Fe­bru­ary, 20, 2011: The Cal­gary Flames will take on the Mon­treal Cana­di­ens at McMahon Sta­dium in the 2011 Her­itage Clas­sic.

’60s ’70s



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