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Northlands Park - Memories Worth Keeping
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Sportex

IAlberta Gift Shown 1963, the Edmonton Exhibition Association (EEA) set about adding another building to its permanent site. Part of the expansion period involved the organization carefully assessing its needs and how they could be met in a wise manner. One of the ideas it came up with was creating the Sportex.

The envisioned building would cater to sports and exhibitions, and since a suitable complement to the Livestock Pavilion and Manufacturers Building was promptly required, the EEA board approved the necessary work for the Sportex project in early 1962.

Within about a year the Sportex stood on the Klondike Crafts and Country Fairorganization’s property in northeast Edmonton. Originally, used for curling, the facility had a remarkable 24-sheet rink. Canadian curling rinks normally have only eight sheets, but Northlands Park accommodated three times as many.

Despite its uniqueness, the monetary and environmental cost of keeping up such a high-maintenance feature eventually led to its disuse. Concerns of soil contamination from the ice plant and the rising costs of an increasingly obsolete system eventually led to the curling rink closure. In its day, the ice facility had been a very popular venue but was not the only attraction or function for the Sportex building.

Concurrent to and following curling, the Sportex became a facility for various athletic pursuits by providing a minor hockey rink and a soccer field. Its use also extended beyond these activities through commercial and community events.

The bi-annual Alberta Gift Show, which is a key industry event forGarth Odsen numerous retailers, uses the facilities as part of its engagement. Inside the Sportex, the most recent and attention-grabbing vehicles are put on display during car shows, as well, smaller trade shows and consumer fairs that do not necessitate a space as a large as the AgriCom are suited to being held in the centrally located Sportex building.

Klondike Days, Farmfair International, and the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) occupy the building every year in order to make various displays and activities accessible. In past years, CFR crowds in the Sportex have been entertained with the likes of the Dodge City Gift Show and live music, offering both variety and a break from the intense commotion elsewhere.

Edmonton Kernel ClubWith keen awareness of the community that its serves, Northlands Park programming for the building reflects very specialized areas. Those who fancy themselves dedicated dog breeders know that Kennel Club shows take place on site, while those who love to dance late into the night might attend raves held at the Sportex.

While it is now an aging building, the Sportex remains a pivotal site of activity for cultural and commercial activity. 

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