Visiting Edmonton: Commonwealth Stadium A Must-See Place
When you enter the capital city of Alberta, there’s a good chance you’ll come across two signs that read “Welcome to The City Of Edmonton” and “City of Champions.”
That’s because the city has a rich history of sports success that really took off in the ‘80s. From 1984 to 1990, the star-studded Edmonton Oilers won five Stanley Cups. Four of those championship teams were led by Wayne Gretzky, widely viewed as the greatest hockey player ever.
Edmonton’s CFL team, the Elks, won five straight Grey Cup championships from 1978 to ‘82. The franchise captured its fourth Grey Cup championship of the ‘80s decade in 1987, outlasting the Toronto Argonauts 38-36.
The Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl-led Oilers have the Oilers in the playoff race as the franchise looks to end its 32-year championship drought. FanDuel, one of the major sportsbooks that will soon become part of the Ontario Betting industry, gives the Oilers +3000 odds of winning the 2022 Stanley Cup.
Sports fans visiting the city of Edmonton absolutely need to check out Commonwealth Stadium, which is the largest open-air stadium in all of Canada.
It has a seating capacity 56,302, and there’s no shortage of incredible history at the venue that opened back in 1978. Commonwealth Stadium is the home venue for the storied Elks franchise. It is also used occasionally for the Canadian men’s national soccer team.
Elks To Play Nine Home Games At Commonwealth Stadium In 2022
The Elks will open their 2022 CFL stadium with a visit to BC Place against the BC Lions on June 11. Their home opener will be held at Commonwealth Stadium on June 18 against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
In all, the Elks will play nine home games this season. The last one will take place against the Lions on Oct. 21. So tourists coming to Edmonton this year will have nine weeks from June to October to plan out an Elks home game experience at the country’s largest stadium.
History Of Commonwealth Stadium
Commonwealth Stadium was one of the six venues used for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, along with Olympic Stadium (Montreal, Quebec), Investors Group Field (Winnipeg, Manitoba), BC Place (Vancouver, British Columbia), Moncton Stadium (Moncton, New Brunswick) and TD Place Stadium (Ottwa, Ontario).
The venue has also hosted five CFL championship games, most recently the 106th Grey Cup between the Calgary Stampeders and Hamilton Tiger Cats.
On Nov. 22, 2003, the Oilers hosted the Montreal Canadiens in the outdoor “Heritage Classic” game. 57,167 fans filled up the stadium in freezing winter conditions, which saw the visiting Canadiens skating to a 4-3 victory.
This marked the first ever game of the NHL’s Heritage Classic series. The next one wouldn’t happen until Feb. 20, 2011, when the Calgary Flames shut out Montreal 4-0 at McMahon Stadium (home of the Elks’ CFL rivals, the Stampeders).
The next Heritage Classic game will take place on Mar. 13 next month when the Maple Leafs host the Atlantic Division rival Buffalo Sabres at Tim Hortons Field (home of the Tiger Cats).
There’s a long list as well for legendary musicians and bands who have come to perform at Commonwealth Stadium. The late David Bowie played shows at this venue on Aug. 7, 1983 (part of the “Serious Moonlight Tour”), and Aug. 17, 1983 (part of the “Glass Spider Tour”).
The Rolling Stones came to Commonwealth Stadium for Oct. 4 and Oct. 5, 1994 performances for their “Voodoo Lounge” tour. They came back here four years later on Oct. 2, 1997 as part of the “Bridges to Babylon Tour.”
U2 came here for performances on June 14 and 15 in 1997 (“PopMart Tour”) and June 1, 2011 (“U2 360° Tour”). The June 1, 2011 show brought in over 60,000 spectators.
The rain and freezing Edmonton weather didn’t put any dampers on Beyoncé’s May 20, 2016 performance at Commonwealth Stadium (“The Formation World Tour”). Guns N’ Roses played a show (featuring an opening act by Our Lady Peace) on Aug. 30, 2017 as part of their “Not in This Lifetime… Tour.”
As far as stadiums in Canada go, few can match the rich history of Commonwealth Stadium. Be it sporting events or music, the treasured 44-year-old history has been the site of countless unforgettable events throughout the years.