Scotiabank Arena, formerly Air Canada Centre, is a multi-purpose arena located on Bay Street in the South Core district of Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League (NHL), the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Toronto Rock of the National Lacrosse League (NLL). In addition, the minor league Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League (AHL) and the Raptors 905 of the NBA G League play occasional games at the arena. The arena was previously home to the Toronto Phantoms of the Arena Football League (AFL) during their brief existence.
Exterior view of the arena in 2018
|Former names||Air Canada Centre (1999–2018)|
|Address||40 Bay Street|
|Public transit|| Union Station|
Union subway station
GO Bus Terminal
|Parking||2 underground levels|
|Owner||Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment|
|Capacity||Basketball: 19,800 (20,511 with standing room)|
Hockey: 18,800 (20,270 with standing room)
|Acreage||61,780.5 m2 (665,000 sq ft)|
|Broke ground||March 12, 1997|
|Opened||February 19, 1999|
|Construction cost||CA$265 million|
($381 million in 2018 dollars)
|Architect||Brisbin Brook Beynon Architects (Architect of Record)|
|Project manager||Clarendon Projects Ltd.|
|Structural engineer||Yolles Partnership Inc.|
|Services engineer||The Mitchell Partnership, Inc.|
|General contractor||PCL Constructors Western, Inc.|
|Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL) (1999–present)|
Toronto Raptors (NBA) (1999–present)
Toronto Rock (NLL) (2001–present)
Toronto Phantoms (AFL) (2001–2002)
The arena is 61,780.5 square metres (665,000 sq ft) in size. It is owned and operated by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. (MLSE), the same group that owns the Leafs and the Raptors, as well as their respective development teams. In 2018, the Scotiabank Arena was the thirteenth busiest arena in the world and the busiest in Canada. It is also the most photographed location in Canada on Instagram according to BuzzFeed. Scotiabank Arena is connected to Toronto Union railway station, subway station and bus terminal via the PATH.
Scotiabank Arena has, from its initial design to completion, revolutionized many concepts included in new arenas and stadiums built since then. These features include luxury suites accessible on the ground floor, splitting the main scoreboard into several sections, rotating all sponsor signage in the bowl at once (to allow dominant messaging or "neutralization" for events that disallow commercial advertising), and multiple restaurants in and out of the main arena bowl view.
Scotiabank Arena also hosts other events, such as concerts, political conventions and video game competitions.
The arena site was once occupied by Canada Post's Toronto Postal Delivery Building (designed by Charles B. Dolphin). The Canada Post building was built in 1938, to assist in the recent population growth of Toronto and its surrounding area. The building was handed over to Department of National Defence for war storage purposes upon completion in 1941, but returned to Canada Post in 1946. Modifications were made to the building to be more adequately equipped for postal delivery, after it was altered by the Department of National Defence. After the work was completed in 1948, the building now possessed the capability and equipment for proper mail sorting and other mailing functions. In the early 1990s, the building needed major renovations. To cut costs, Canada Post decided to close the facility and move operations to an alternate letter processing plant, which had been constructed in the 1970s on Eastern Avenue. Eventually, all of the old building's work was transferred here. In the early 1990s, real estate developers Bramalea Ltd and Trizec arranged to purchase the building from Canada Post, and redevelop the site into a 230,000-square-metre (2,500,000 sq ft) office, retail and residential space. Financial and development details of the purchase imposed various conditions prior to development, including rezoning by the city, remediation of soil contamination by Canada Post.
Due to financial difficulties, the building's ownership was returned to Canada Post in 1993. The Toronto Raptors purchased the building from Canada Post the next year.
Construction of the arena was started by the Toronto Raptors, under their initial ownership group headed by Canadian businessman John Bitove. In 1995, it had been decided that the NBA would expand into Canada. The Toronto Raptors were created and would need an indoor arena to play in. The Canada Post building was chosen to be the new home of the Raptors due to its downtown location and lot size. Other venues such as Exhibition Place, North York Centre, Bay and Wellesley, and Bay and Dundas were also considered. The Canada Post building was purchased for CA$60 million. The Raptors initially played in SkyDome (now Rogers Centre) while the arena was constructed. Groundbreaking took place in March 1997. The building retained the Art Deco facade of the Toronto Postal Delivery Building along the east (along Bay Street) and south (Lake Shore Boulevard) walls of that structure, but the rest of the building (facing Union Station) was removed to make room for the arena, through the process of facadism. The original building is protected under the Ontario Heritage Act.
When MLGL (Maple Leaf Gardens, Limited at the time the controlling company of the Toronto Maple Leafs) lost out on their desire to be the franchise owners of the Raptors competition between the two organizations heated up centred around venues. MLGL declined to allow Maple Leaf Gardens to be used for the NBA upstart as a result pushing the Bitove to secure rights to have its opening seasons played at SkyDome until construction of the new stadium to be complete.
The 1930's era Maple Leaf Gardens was showing its age; the Maple Leafs in desperate desire for a new facility began developing plans for building an all new stadium with one of the key criteria for the new location that it must be within close walking proximity to both the subway system and GO Transit. During the early stages of construction MLGL floated to the media plans for their own plans to build a competing single use stadium on adjacent property just to the north of the stadium atop the train sheds at Union Station (similar to how Madison Square Garden was constructed) as the new home for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The reaction from Raptors was nothing but anger "this proposed (Maple Leaf) location really disturbs us" stated team president Richard Peddie, who went on to say that they would fight the Leafs "every step of the way" and he didn't understand why the Leafs have refused to join with the Raptors at their site; claiming that the Leafs want to "build virtually on top of us". The major problem of the Union Station proposal is the land that the stadium would be built on was actually City of Toronto land that was leased out to CN Rail and CP Rail, which were in a major, long standing dispute over rent payments (dating back to 1969). As a result MLGL offered the city $156 Million (1997 CAD) in cash & assets to settle any and all outstanding claims and to buy the air rights above the Union Station train platforms.
During this period John Bitove who disputed over the future of the arena who as a result of a shotgun clause was forced to sell his stake to Allan Slaight (who wanted a joint arena deal with MLGL) and now with majority ownership immediately went into talks with MLGL which eventually purchased both the Raptors and their partially completed arena, which subsequently resulted in major modifications to the original design, which was basketball-specific, to make the arena become more suitable for hockey. Originally planned to cost $217 million, MLGL increased the budget to $265 million after taking control. The Raptors were twice fined a million dollars (which were donated to their charitable foundation) by the NBA for missing deadlines to begin construction of their new arena.
In 1998, a strange twist of scheduling conflicts had the Toronto Raptors playing their final regular season game at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, as the Toronto Blue Jays had first right of refusal for all SkyDome dates. The Raptors had attempted to play the April 19th match at Maple Leaf Gardens, but were unsuccessful.
In December 1998, the building's construction was completed. Opening events took place early the next year. The initial hockey game took place February 20, 1999 (Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens), the first basketball Game on February 21, 1999 (Toronto Raptors vs. Vancouver Grizzlies), and the opening concert on February 22, 1999 (The Tragically Hip). Features of the new building consist of a 65,000-square-foot (6,000 m2) arena and a 165,000-square-foot (15,300 m2) office tower. There is also an east-west covered, climate controlled galleria and walkway onsite that contains restaurants, the ticket office, and other commercial units. The Galleria also connects the Scotiabank Arena to popular locations in the downtown core such as Union Station, Bay Street and York Street. Scotiabank Arena is connected to the underground PATH network. The Galleria also doubles as a historical museum by displaying numerous artifacts from the old Canada Post building.
In its first ten years of operation, the new arena had an estimated economic benefit of $2.4 billion. This boosted Toronto's economy and led to further construction in the downtown core. Many projects in the area were completed ahead of schedule as a result of a desire to increase the infrastructure of downtown Toronto, and also from private funding (approximately $13 million) that was invested in seeing the economic growth of Toronto. These projects included the Bay West Teamway, Union Plaza, the Galleria (shopping centre), and Bremner Boulevard.
In 2003, MLSE completed a $5-million upgrade of the arena, including a new LED signage system. During the summer of 2015, a $10-million upgrade of the arena was carried out, which included the installation of a new scoreboard four times larger than the previous one. The old scoreboard was later installed at Ricoh Coliseum.
In the winter of 2003–2004, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario imposed a seven-day penalty on the arena for "permitting drunken patrons to be in the licensed patrons [sic]" in the fall of 2002 at a Toronto Maple Leafs game and also a Rolling Stones concert. As a result of these misdemeanours, there was no alcohol served at the arena from December 21 to 28 in 2003. The venue had multiple major events during this time frame, which included a Toronto Raptors–Orlando Magic game on December 21, a Toronto Maple Leafs–Florida Panthers game on December 23, and Disney on Ice: Toy Story 2, which ran from December 25, 2003 to January 1, 2004.
On September 6, 2014, a group of statues known as Legends Row was unveiled outside the arena at the southwest corner of the building. The statues were situated in multiple waves from 2014 to 2016 and include Ted Kennedy, Johnny Bower, Darryl Sittler, Borje Salming, Syl Apps, George Armstrong, Mats Sundin, Dave Keon, Turk Broda, and Tim Horton. In 2017, the final four statues were unveiled including Red Kelly, Frank Mahovlich, Charlie Conacher, and Wendel Clark. Legends Row now features 14 life-sized statues of former Maple Leaf players alongside a 9-metre-long (30 ft) granite players' bench.
The Air Canada Centre was renamed Scotiabank Arena on July 1, 2018. The landmark 20-year sponsorship agreement between Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment and Scotiabank is worth about C$800 million. This is believed to be the highest-priced annual building and team sponsorship in North American sports history. The arena is the third in Canada to bear naming rights to Scotiabank.
Maple Leaf SquareEdit
In late 2005, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment announced that they would be renovating the western side of the Air Canada Centre during the 2008 off-season to connect it with the Maple Leaf Square development. Maple Leaf Square is jointly owned by MLSE, Cadillac Fairview and Lantera Developments. The $500 million development includes two restaurants, Hotel Le Germain at Maple Leaf Square boutique hotel, extensive retail shopping, including a 840-square-metre (9,000 sq ft) Leafs, Marlies, Raptors, and Toronto FC store, two 54-storey condominiums, a Longo's supermarket, and a public square. It opened in 2010. The two-year, $48 million renovation of the ACC added a new atrium that includes a High-Definition broadcast studio for Leafs Nation Network (formerly Leafs TV), NBA TV Canada and GolTV Canada.
The outside wall of the atrium features a 9.1-by-15.2-metre (30 by 50 ft) video screen overlooking the plaza, which often broadcasts games taking place inside the arena. During NHL and NBA playoff runs, the square attracts thousands of Leafs and Raptors fans, respectively, sometimes broadcasting away playoff matches featuring the Leafs and/or the Raptors as well. A section of the square is designated Ford Fan Zone at Maple Leaf Square, with naming rights given to the Ford Motor Company of Canada. During Raptors playoff runs, the square has acquired the nickname "Jurassic Park" after the 1993 film adaptation that inspired the team's name. During the 2019 NBA Playoffs and especially during the 2019 NBA Finals, other city squares across Canada also acquired the Jurassic Park nickname.
In 2003, the governing Liberal Party of Canada held their leadership convention at the Air Canada Centre. Paul Martin was elected as the new leader of the party and thus also became prime minister, succeeding Jean Chrétien.
The first Maple Leafs home game took place on February 20, 1999, versus the Montreal Canadiens, won by the Leafs 3–2 on an overtime goal by Steve Thomas. Maple Leaf home games are generally sold out, and despite their lack of appearances in NHL playoffs and the Stanley Cup, there is a waitlist since the start of 2015 for Season Ticket Holders for upcoming seasons. The first Raptors game took place the following night versus the then-Vancouver Grizzlies. The Raptors won 102–87 in front of a sell-out crowd. The facility hosted the 2000 NHL All-Star Game, the championship game of the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, all games of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey and the 2016 NBA All-Star Game, the first NBA All-Star Game held outside of the United States.
On October 3, 2003, Air Canada Centre had a power outage during the third quarter of a Raptors pre-season game against the Athens-based club Panathinaikos. The game was called final, because the power was not restored in time and the Raptors already had a 30-point lead.
Air Canada Centre hosted the 2015 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships for the first time, as well as hosted the final match of that tournament, in which Canada was crowned champion, defeating Russia. The ACC co-hosted that tournament with Bell Centre in Montreal, and both venues co-hosted the 2017 edition of the same event, though the ACC did not host the medal rounds.
On September 23, 2017, the ACC presented the opening ceremony as a live two-hour event spectacular. This ceremony was designed to welcome and honour the 550 competitors and their families who come from 17 different competing nations. The show featured hundreds of cast members, including honorary men and women from the Canadian Armed Forces. The cast showed a display of ceremony in multiple different productions and the raising of the flag. Other guests of the event included celebrities, world dignitaries, headline music stars and other special guests. They gathered to celebrate the service and stories of the members of the 2017 Invictus Games. Headline performers included Laura Wright, Alessia Cara, The Tenors, Sarah McLachlan, and La Bottine Souriante.
The ACC hosted the Invictus Games Toronto 2017 Closing Ceremony on September 20, 2017. The event featured an arrangement of international headline music artists, coming together to celebrate and recognize the Invictus Games competitors. The closing ceremony featured headline musical guests Bachman & Turner, Bryan Adams, Coeur de Pirate, Bruce Springsteen, and Kelly Clarkson. This celebration also included words from world dignitaries as the Games are passed to the host nation of the Invictus Games 2018, Sydney, Australia.
The venue hosted its first championship series when the Raptors played the Golden State Warriors in Games 1, 2, and 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals. The Raptors won the NBA championship, albeit in the Warriors' home arena of Oracle Arena in Oakland in Game 6.
|UFC 140||Saturday, December 10, 2011|
|UFC 152||Saturday, September 22, 2012|
|UFC 165||Saturday, September 21, 2013|
|UFC 206||Saturday, December 10, 2016|
|UFC 231||Saturday, December 8, 2018|
Video game competitionsEdit
On August 27 and 28, 2016, Air Canada Centre hosted the sixth season of the Summer North American Championship Series of League of Legends (LoL), marking the first professional League of Legends competition in Canada. League of Legends is a popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) computer game by American video game developer Riot Games; League of Legends competitions are among the most viewed among professional video game competitions worldwide. During the final round, Team SoloMid (TSM) defeated Cloud9 (C9) three matches to one in a best-of-five format. The Summer North American Championship Series serve as the qualifiers for the annual League of Legends World Championship for North American teams.
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