New stadiums, new rinks, race cars make headlines in Canadian cities this week

The Asper family are looking to invest $100 million dollars to build new stadium in Winnipeg

It’s not often that so many sport stories top the list of our weekly countdown, however, we had so many hits related to our MLS posting earlier this week, our marketing department thought we should give it another go.

Topping off the list is word out of Winnipeg the Asper family (the folks who own financially troubled Canwest Global) are going to invest $100 million dollars to build a new football stadium near Polo Park. There are many folks who think the idea of building a new outdoor stadium in the midst of a global recession is simply wonky, but it would appear the project is moving full steam ahead.

If all goes well, it looks like the stadium will be completed in time for the Blue Bombers to play there in the summer of 2011. That coincidently is roughly the same time the Vancouver Whitecaps will be playing in the new roofless BC Place Stadium in Vancouver – assuming the project doesn’t get canned.

Another prairie city had sports on their mind this week as a number of people in Edmonton are looking to build a new downtown arena to replace the aging Rexall Place (formerly Northlands Coliseum…I do miss that name…I digress).

It is estimated that the 18,000 seat arena would cost in the neighbourhood of around $450 million bucks…plus the cost of land. There is talk that the Oilers owner may come looking for public funds to help offset some of the costs. Here’s what Councillor Tony Caterina said when asked if he would be open to a cost-share with the Oilers:

If (Oilers owner) Katz comes forward, there’s no appetite for public funding

As a former resident of Edmonton, I have many fond memories of Northlands…and would be sad to see it go. I must admit I was there for a hockey game a few years ago and the building is certainly beginning to look its age.

In Montreal, it was the rumour that the Grand Prix might be coming back to La Belle Ville which had Mayor Gerard Tremblay all excited. Although his enthusiasm was tempered somewhat when he found out the big event may only be coming back for one year.

If for one reason or another the Grand Prix (asks us to hold the race), we don’t want to have it just in 2009. We want a long-term agreement that respects our ability to pay.

According to the Montreal Gazette:

The Montreal race had generated an economic spinoff to the city of about $100 million in recent years and had attracted more than 300,000 spectators for the three-day race weekend every year since 2001. There was a record-tying crowd of 121,000 for race day last year.

Finally, what would a good weekly round up be if we didn’t mention Mayor David Miller in Toronto. This week he was being criticized for his refusal to ask fellow political leaders to freeze their pay as a symbolic measure to recognize the global recession. However, Miller did find the time to ask the unionized employees at City Hall to accept a pay freeze in 2009 and a 1% cost of living increase in 2010. Something the union has balked at.

According to the Toronto Star, Miller feels that civic politicians in TO shouldn’t have to freeze their pay because they are already underpaid compared to civic politicians in neighbouring communities. Here is what Miller told the star:

Councillors led by example three years ago, when they imposed salaries significantly lower than those of comparable councils in the GTA. They also agreed to accept an annual salary increase significantly lower than those our employees received.

This one doesn’t make Miller look good, and we think it wouldn’t cost him anything to ask his fellow civic leaders to bite the bullet and take a pay freeze. By not doing so, it will make his negotiations with the civic unions all that more difficult.

So folks, that was the week that was in Canadian cities. Tune back here next Sunday for our regular weekly roundup. And we promise there won’t be as much sports stuff.


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  • TVAN

    You forgot the horrible, senseless murder of Wendy Ladner-Beaudry, sister of Peter Ladner. My heart goes out to both families, especially her two daughters.

  • We’re at a loss for words on this one…so sad.