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Canad Inns

Canad Inns Stadium

Canad Inns Stadium (formerly Winnipeg Stadium) is a Canadian football stadium located north of Polo Park Shopping Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The stadium, named for hotel chain Canad Inns, and originally completed in 1953, seats 29,503 for football. It has been the home of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL since 1953 and the Winnipeg Rifles of the Prairie Football Conference and has also been home to various incarnations of the Winnipeg Goldeyes and Winnipeg Whips (AAA Montreal Expos farm team) baseball teams.

During the Blue Bombers' early years the team played at Osborne Stadium, a much smaller stadium near the Manitoba Legislative Buildings. The fast passing-dominated play of Bombers quarterback Jack Jacobs dramatically increased attendance at Blue Bombers game and precipitated the need for a new, larger stadium. Thus, in 1953, Winnipeg Stadium was born and was affectionately nicknamed "the house that Jack built" because of the contribution of Jack Jacobs. The Blue Bombers continue to play at the stadium, though it has gone through significant changes over the years.

The original baseball grandstands were demolished in the early 1980s to make way for the Blue Bombers' new clubhouse. Stadium renovations in the late 1980s were aimed attracting an AAA baseball club to the hitherto football-only portion of the complex. To that end, artificial turf, retractable seats on the east side stands, and new seating behind the home plate area were installed. Although AAA baseball never returned to the city, the independent Northern League granted Winnipeg an expansion team for the 1994 season, adopting the Goldeyes name. After five years at the stadium, the Goldeyes moved to the new baseball-only facility, CanWest Global Park, in 1999.

Canad Inns Stadium hosted the opening ceremonies of the 1999 Pan-American Games. Several improvements were undertaken in preparation for the event, including the replacement of benches with individual seats, improved lighting and sound, and a new Sony JumboTron scoreboard. The stadium's artificial turf was replaced in 2003, and a new AstroPlay surface was installed.

The CFL Grey Cup championship game was held at Canad Inns Stadium in 1991, 1998, and 2006.

The original stadium held around 17,600. This was added onto in 1971, when a second deck was built onto the west side grandstand. In 1978, a second deck was added to the east side stands to bring the total seating capacity to about 32,000. A nine million-dollar renovation in 1999 added new seats and, among other things, a new lounge and luxury seating area. With the new seats and other renovations, the current capacity is 29,503 for football.

For the 2006 Grey Cup, a large amount of temporary bleachers were put up at the south end of the football field, enlarging the stadium's capacity to 44,784.

There is currently a proposal for a new football facility to be built on the same site as Canad Inns Stadium. Under the conditions of the deal proposed by David Asper (the Vice President of CanWest Global Communications), he would contribute $40 million towards the construction of the new $120 million stadium, with the remainder being split between the federal and provincial governments. In return for his stadium investment, he would assume control of the Blue Bombers, who have been a community-owned franchise for 70 years.

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