Fifty years of McMahon memories
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.