Another sign of the times

06May10

It was with a heavy heart that I read today of plans afoot in Hamilton to build a new 25,000-30,000 seat football stadium.

According to today’s Hamilton Spectator, the city is asking the Tiger Cats to consider a West Harbour site for the new stadium following the hosting of the 2015 Pan Am Games. The city is asking that the club put up $50 million of the cost of building the new facility.

The Ti-Cats aren’t opposed to erecting a new stadium, but owner Bob Young says the proposed location could lead to losses of $7 million per year for the venerable CFL franchise. He’s asking the city for a 90-day moratorium on a decision, in order to consider other potential sites.

I don’t know the geography of Hamilton all that well, so it isn’t the proposed location of the new stadium that troubles me here; it’s the notion of replacing Ivor Wynne Stadium. Ivor Wynne is an institution in the CFL. It’s small, sure, but it’s cozy and classic. I love watching televised games from Hamilton. Ivor Wynne exudes a rustic charm that a new facility could never replicate.

But, it is an old field, and can’t be used forever. It just saddens me to see another Canadian sporting landmark on the verge of being replaced. First, it was the Montreal Forum, then Maple Leaf Gardens, and lately, CFL stadiums such as Winnipeg Stadium and Taylor Field (Regina) have adopted corporate names.

Whenever and wherever the new football stadium is built in Hamilton, I hope the team brass see it fit to keep the Ivor Wynne name and maybe adopt some of the old stadium’s physical attributes. Change is good, but honouring heritage is important too.

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