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Northlands Park - Memories Worth Keeping
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Alberta Gift ShowWithout the permanent site that Northlands Park received through the City of Edmonton in 1910, perhaps many of the buildings that are now associated with the organization would not exist. As part of relocating to the Kirkness Lake property in Northeast Edmonton, Peter Rule’s Grand Design was incorporated.

The design called for the construction of two main buildings and allow for diversification of the Edmonton Exhibition Association (EEA). Eventually, the two structures would be razed and replaced, but nonetheless went on to figure prominently in the organization’s history.

Manufacturers BuildingOne of these historic buildings was the Manufacturers Building. With its curious shape, the building was created to display such things as grains. With time, and the rise of urban consumer culture, the space gained new uses. It became the site for many companies and government departments to engage with the public and advertise their goods and services. Booths ranged from dairy to electrical and drew business people as well as shoppers reviewing possible household items.

A second and important historical building was the Livestock Pavilion. Livestock PavilionA solid structure, it served the agriculturalists of the prairie provinces who transported their animals to Edmonton for show and sale. Following the Second World War, the building underwent renovations and continued its athletic activity with increased intensity. Hockey nights at the Edmonton Gardens became a citywide activity and made the venue popular.

Eventually, the historic buildings suffered the aging endemic to well-used things. Additional buildings were central in Northland Park’s expansion period and the Sportex BuildingSportex was the first manifestation of organizational growth. Again, the community’s desire for consumer related programming had some influence in the creation of this building, which has been used as a curling rink, and small trade and exhibition show space since it was built in 1963.

The Coliseum followed in 1974. Hoping to position itself as a Commonwealth Games facility, funding for its creation was earmarked by several levels of government. A successful entertainment complex, it housed some Universiade ’83 events, Labatt Brier curling, and continues to host National Hockey League games.

Northlands Park Spectrum Buildingcontributed an important site for commerce and trade in 1984. With the AgriCom’s construction as a world-class facility for hosting open and closed trade shows, the organization segued into a sector of activity that has only continued to grow. With booming business, it is likely to undergo expansion in the near future.

Demolition ShowNorthlands Park activity also grew directly as a result of the creation, and later expansion, of racing and gaming facilities. This includes the original grandstand that underwent changes and later became the centre of the Spectrum racing and gaming building. The horse stables were also a part of this evolution and remain in use on the exhibition grounds.

Featured Video: Woods Gordon study on the expansion period

Past Northlands Park president Harry Hole discusses the impact of the Woods Gordon study on Northlands expansion period. Watch Now

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