Edmonton Gardens

The Edmonton Gardens was the first indoor hockey arena built in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It was originally built as Edmonton Stock Pavilion in 1913, and held 5,200 spectators after its 1966 renovations.

Edmonton Gardens
The Cow Barn[1]
North face of Edmonton Gardens
Former namesEdmonton Stock Pavilion[1]
LocationSW corner of 118 Avenue & 73 Street,[2] Edmonton, Alberta
Coordinates53°34′10″N 113°27′26″W / 53.56944°N 113.45722°W / 53.56944; -113.45722Coordinates: 53°34′10″N 113°27′26″W / 53.56944°N 113.45722°W / 53.56944; -113.45722[2]
OwnerCity of Edmonton[3]
OperatorNorthlands Park
Broke ground1912
OpenedDecember 13, 1913[3]
Renovated1947, 1963,[4] 1966[1]
DemolishedFebruary 1982[1]
Construction costC$163,827

1947: $329,156
($4.38 million in 2020 dollars[5])
1963: $60,000
($511 thousand in 2020 dollars[5])
1966: $670,000
($5.25 million in 2020 dollars[5])
Edmonton Drillers (NASL) 1980–81
Alberta/Edmonton Oilers (WHA) 19721974
Edmonton Oil Kings (WCJHL/CAHL) 1951–66 (CMJHL/WCHL) 19661974
Edmonton Flyers (ASHL/WCSHL) 1939–51, (PCHL) 1951–52, (WHL) 1952–63
Edmonton Eskimos 1913–1919, (Big Four) 1919–21, (WCHL/PHL) 19211927, (ASHL) 1938–39
Edmonton Dominions[3] (ASHL) 1936–38
Hockey game at Edmonton Gardens 1940s.

It was home to the World Hockey Association's Edmonton Oilers from 1972 to 1974. The Oilers moved to the brand new Northlands Coliseum after the 1973–74 season. In addition to the Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, Edmonton Eskimos hockey team, and Edmonton Flyers played their home games at Edmonton Gardens. It held a wide variety of events, including hockey, curling, basketball, boxing, figure skating, circuses, rodeos, bingo nights, car shows, conventions, horse shows, and bull sales.[1]

The arena was built at the fairgrounds in order to be away from the city, thus allowing it to also be used as a livestock pavilion, alongside the stables and horse race track. The opening ceremonies were held on Christmas Day 1913, exactly 19 years after Edmonton's first hockey game, featuring a hockey game between two Stanley Cup finalists, the Edmonton Eskimos and the Edmonton Dominions, which over 2,000 fans attended.[3] Their previous arena, Thistle Rink, had just burnt down that year.[1] The Dominion's forward Russell "Barney" Stanley would become a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, and the arena would be home to other Stanley Cup finalist teams, Memorial Cup teams, and three Memorial Cups. It was the only home of the Edmonton Flyers (1939–51).

The Gardens got the nickname "The Cow Barn" from attendants emphasizing its use for agriculture exhibitions, in particular for livestock shows. It also was notorious for bad sight lines and uncomfortable seats.[1] The girders, that were also in the way of spectators, dripped water onto the ice/play surface creating mounds during play. By the 1960s, it was often criticized as being a fire hazard. A $60,000 improvement in 1963 did little to improve its safety, leading to having seven Edmonton Fire Department firefighters stationed at each event. Media increasingly called it a dirty, obsolete, and rickety building, and an April 15, 1966 Edmonton Journal article called Edmonton Gardens "a disaster waiting to happen. The old house, with its obsolete lighting fixtures, oily wooden floors, and sordid washrooms, is an eyesore to hockey fans."[1] The following month, the city fire chief condemned it, and ordered it closed as a fire hazard. That summer saw a $670,000 renovation that gutted the interior, and replaced the steel girders with 8-inch (200 mm) columns at 45°. The wooden bleachers were replaced with a fireproof concrete grandstand, and reduced the seating capacity to 5,200.[1]

The Oilers and Oil Kings moved across 118 Avenue to Northlands Coliseum, in 1974. Demolition of the Gardens began January 20, 1982, but quickly disproved the moniker "accident waiting to happen." "Firstly, they stuffed it with 50 kilograms of dynamite, then, they used a bulldozer, but still the grand old lady of Edmonton sports wouldn't budge," one story reported. "Gardens won’t go boom," the headline read, recounting two days of the crew drilling holes into the walls and supports, and then cramming in 320 sticks of dynamite.[1] An Edmonton Journal article on February 25, 1982, read "Gardens 2 TNT 0. A second try at demolishing what's left of the Edmonton Gardens ended with a wham, a puff of dust and peals of laughter. The building stood in mock defiance amid hoots of glee from the gallery (of onlookers)." Northlands Park elected to finish the demolition with a wrecking ball.[1] Another arena, Hall D of the Edmonton Expo Centre, currently occupies the site.

Indoor soccerEdit

Because the Northlands Coliseum was unavailable, Game 1 of the 1981 NASL indoor finals was played at the Edmonton Gardens on March 2, 1981. In it the Edmonton Drillers defeated the Chicago Sting, 9–6, in front of 5,089 fans.[6] The Drillers went onto sweep the finals, two games to none, five days later in Chicago.

Home of the
Edmonton Oilers

Succeeded by
Northlands Coliseum
Home of the
Edmonton Oil Kings (WCHL)

Succeeded by
Northlands Coliseum
Preceded by
Winnipeg Arena and
Wheat City Arena
Host of odd year
Memorial Cups

1961, 1963, 1965
Succeeded by
Fort William Gardens
Preceded by
Thistle Rink[3]
Home of the
Edmonton Eskimos (WCHL)


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Herzog, Lawrence (2009-11-19). "The Edmonton Gardens". Real Estate Weekly. Archived from the original on 2009-11-21. Retrieved 2010-01-17.
  2. ^ a b In 1934 Exhibition - Aerial View, Edmonton Gardens, left side of photo, can be seen at the north end of the exhibition grounds. In 1934 Eastwood - Aerial View, Edmonton Gardens, right side between two rows of stables, can be seen halfway between the rail tracks and 73 Street, (Capilano Drive was built in the park to the left, between 71 and 73 Streets).
  3. ^ a b c d e Edmonton Gardens at BallParks.com
  4. ^ Jones, Terry (2016-04-05). "Jones: Many buildings and many memories recalled as the Oilers leave Rexall Place". Edmonton Sun. Archived from the original on 2016-04-06.
  5. ^ a b c Canadian inflation numbers based on Statistics Canada tables 18-10-0005-01 (formerly CANSIM 326-0021) "Consumer Price Index, annual average, not seasonally adjusted". Statistics Canada. Retrieved April 17, 2021. and table 18-10-0004-13 "Consumer Price Index by product group, monthly, percentage change, not seasonally adjusted, Canada, provinces, Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit". Statistics Canada. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  6. ^ Conklin, Mike (March 3, 1981). "Finn star peppers Sting with 6 goals, Edmonton wins". Chicago Tribune. p. 1, Sec 5. Retrieved 21 December 2016.