It was the end of an era in Regina Tuesday afternoon.
Demolition began on the nearly 100 year-old Regina Exhibition Stadium in front of a rather large crowd who all came to see the building one last time, and share memories they had of various events at the stadium.
“I remember growing up watching the Pats here, and playing and reffing hockey myself,” one man said before the demolition began.
“We took our children to the circus here and remember watching Ice Capades here as well,” another couple said.
The stadium, which was home to the WHL’s Regina Pats until 1977 and housed cattle shows until last fall for Canadian Western Agribition, is being torn down to make room for phase two of the new International Trade Centre.
The remaining half of the Winter Fair Building was also torn down Tuesday.
The new 37-million dollar trade centre will be a 150,000 square foot multi-purpose facility that will connect all the buildings (with the exception of the new Mosaic Stadium) on the 102-acre Evraz Place property together.
It is set to open in November of this year.
“Construction on the International Trade Centre is well underway, and removal of these buildings is the kick-off to the second phase of the project,” said Mark Allan Regina Exhibition Association Limited President, in a news release.
“People have many fond memories of events in Exhibition Stadium, so today is a bittersweet occasion, but the opportunity the new facility brings is exciting,” Allan also said.
Over the years many historic moments took place in the stadium.
Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, the Everly Brothers and Paul Anka were some of the acts who performed in 1957 and 1958 as part of the Show of Stars Tour.
The Who, The Beach Boys and even Johnny Cash all performed in front of Exhibition Stadium Crowds.
“The 1973 Silver Broom World Mens Curling Championship was also held here, along with everything from Agribition, Memorial Cups, Ice Capades and the Shrine Circus. The building has served our community well for nearly a century,” Allan said.
Former Mayor Larry Schneider remembered a time he was winning an ostrich race at Agribition until his race cart overturned in the stadium.
He wanted to stay away from a sharp spur on the back of the feet of an ostrich.
“So I made sure I stayed away from that, and as we were heading into a turn I believe I leaned a little to far in the direction that I shouldn’t have and the cart tipped over, as a result the ostrich jockey of the year lost his claim to fame,” Schneider said, in an interview with 620 CKRM’s Jim Smalley.
Agribition past President John Willmott said many livestock events were also featured in the Stadium.
“Well we’re certainly going to miss it because it had a sense of memories to it and things like that, there was a lot of great animals shown in there over the years,” Willmott said, also in an interview with Jim Smalley.
When the new facility is complete it will make Evraz Place the largest interconnected event complex in Canada.