The successful bid for the 1978 Commonwealth Games naturally meant that the city's sporting facilities would need major upgrades. Edmonton's main venue at the time, the still-in-use Clarke Stadium, was chief among the venues targeted for a massive overhaul. But emerging calls to build a completely new stadium struck a chord with City officials, who ultimately approved the construction of a 40,000-seat facility right next to the existing one.

The windswept site of the future Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre in 2007, image retrieved from Google Street View

Hoping to avoid the cost overruns that were playing out in Montreal with the construction of Olympic Stadium, council elected to build Commonwealth Stadium without a roof. Excavation began in December 1974, the same year construction of the Capital Line LRT commenced. It was certainly a time of celebratory city-building.

The completed Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre in 2016, image retrieved from Google Street View

Multiple renovations over the years increased the seating capacity, enlarged the concourse, upgraded electronic equipment, and installed a new facade. The most recent investment into the stadium began in 2009. The $112 million project included a freestanding field house, later named the Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre, designed by Kasian (formerly HIP) and MJM Architects. The state-of-the-art complex also included a fitness centre, pool and offices for the Eskimos administration.

Commonwealth Stadium in 2009, image by Flickr user MDV via Creative Commons

The most visible change to the stadium occurred after the 2010 Grey Cup, when the signature red seating was replaced with wider green and yellow seats that reflected the Eskimos' colours. The larger seats reduced the permanent capacity of the venue to 56,302, but remained the largest stadium in Canada. Architecture | Tkalcic Bengert redesigned the seating configuration of the upper and lower bowls, enhancing accessibility, optimizing views, and reinforcing the brand.

Commonwealth Stadium in 2017, image by Forum contributor Daveography

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