As someone who did not grow up in Calgary, figuring out my happy place in the city could be a tricky question, however there is one place that has consistently had an electric vibe that I have loved since adolescence. The Scotiabank Saddledome has always been a place with fond memories for me. The dome hosts all kinds of events including hockey games, lacrosse games, concerts, comedy shows, and more, all of them exciting.
When I was a kid, the Saddledome was home to many new experiences. I saw my first Flames game and concert there and even skated on the ice as a Timbits hockey player. As a teenager I sold 50/50 tickets during Hitmen and Flames games as fundraisers for my hockey teams and again enjoyed plenty of the events at the venue.
We all have them. Places in the city that bring us joy, big and small. In an era of chaos, Calgary Journal editors are taking time this year to reflect on the public spots that bring us happiness and peace.
You can read the whole series here.
Now, as someone in my 20s, not only do I still enjoy many of the sporting events and concerts, but I also work at the Saddledome on the back end of the customer service team for the Flames, Hitmen, Wranglers, and Roughnecks.
The Saddledome opened in 1983 and yes, it is showing its age. A recent CBC reports suggest it is crumbling at a “accelerated rate.”
Despite this, I still think it holds a lot of character. The Saddledome is, as its name suggests, in the shape of a saddle to commemorate the city’s western heritage (how awesome?!). It hosted the Olympics, Stanley Cup Finals, an NHL All-Star Game, as well as the Dailai Lama and even Queen Elizabeth II on her trip here in 2005. It’s been an icon on our skyline for decades.
A new building may have better sound quality or be able to hold more people, but will it be shaped like a saddle? Probably not.