“Cornerstones” were articles that appeared in the Sunday edition of the Calgary Herald between 1997 and 2000. The following article appeared July 5, 1998.
• Calgary Exhibition and Stampede Grounds
• Built: 1949 - 1950
• Architect: G.G.Reid of Toronto was dismissed and replaced by J.M. Stevenson of Calgary. Stevenson spent several months touring North America to study innovations in arena design. He consulted experts in refrigeration, ventilation and construction before finalizing the design with engineer J.A.Scarr.
• Contractor: Bird Construction Company.
• Original cost: $1,250,000 - $1,500,00
• Construction materials: Reinforced concrete and steel.
• Architectural style: Combined Art Deco, Moderne and International styles. Modernistic bas - relief pictures of hockey players in action decorated the main foyer. A cowboy on a bucking bronco was featured over the main entrance facade.
• Original interior details: The arena was designed with seating for 6,650 and 2,200 standing. Four small towers at the corner of the building contained the stairway to upper level seats. A 24 - foot wide concourse circled the entire building. All seats, arranged in color coded sections to indicate the price range of the tickets, had an unobstructed view of the ice surface.
• Built as home to the Calgary Stampeders hockey club to replace the outdated but well used Victoria Arena, horseshow and livestock building. It was the largest arena west of Toronto. "When the construction crews poured the seat deck concrete it was the biggest and longest concrete pour in Calgary history."
• A gigantic western style "house - warming" was held December 15, 1950. For a 55 cent admission, members of the public were invited to view the new arena for the first time. Square dancing, be-bop, Scottish and native dancers entertained the guests who were encouraged to dress Western.
• The arena was officially opened December 26, 1950 with a Western Hockey League contest between the Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Flyers. Calgary won 5 to 0 in front of 8,729 fans and invited guests; J.B.Cross, President of the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede, the Honourable David Ure, Minister of Agriculture and Calgary Mayor D.H. Mackay.
• Among the suggested names for the new arena were; Calgary Coliseum, The Fort, The Teepee, Rodeodrome, Ampitheatre, Stampedeorium, The Arena and Stampede Gardens.
• The Stampede Board decided that the name for the new facility was to be chosen by the fans who attended the opening hockey game on Boxing Day. Although the crowd allegedly voted by ballot for Stampede Gardens, officials created a public furore by naming it the Stampede Corral. The sports department of a local newspaper refused to accept the name and throughout 1951 referred to it as "the new arena."
• A 1958 promotional brochure claimed that the Corral could accommodate a wide range of attractions. "It is equally adaptable to hockey, skating, ice show, horse shows, home shows, boxing, wrestling, name bands, dancing, religious gatherings, banquets, bingo and celebrity concerts."
• The Corral was home ice for the National Hockey League's Calgary Flames team until they moved to the Saddledome in 1983. When the Flames first moved into the Corral in 1980, it was newly painted, dressing rooms were enlarged and carpeted and a new press box was built. During their three seasons at the Corral, the Flames played 133 games. (75 wins, 32 losses and 26 ties)
• Over the last forty eight years the Corral has hosted many cultural, social and sporting events. Bill Haley's Comets, Fats Domino, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Nelson Eddy, Vienna Boys Choir, Arthur Rubenstein, Don Messer and the Islanders all played the Corral. It was the venue for the Calgary Stampeders win of the 1953 -1954 Canadian Professional Hockey Championship, World Figure Skating Championships (1972) and Winter Olympic hockey (1988).
The Corral continues to play a significant role in the community and each year during the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede, thousands of visitors file through the arena which was once called "the finest in the country."