Frank Clair Stadium
Frank Clair Stadium is a Canadian football stadium in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It is located in Lansdowne Park, on the southern edge of The Glebe neighbourhood, where Bank Street crosses the Rideau Canal.


The stadium was the home of the Ottawa Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League from 1908 to 1996, when the team ceased operations. It was the home of the Ottawa Renegades from 2002 until 2005. A previous incarnation of the stadium served as the home venue of the Ottawa Giants minor-league baseball franchise. The stadium is also home to University of Ottawa's Ottawa Gee-Gees, and prior to the disbanding of the Ravens football programme at Carleton University in 1998, was the site of the Panda Bowl, when these rivals played each other with rowdy fans hurling insults across both sides of the stadium. At the final Panda Bowl game in 1997, the year following the departure of the Riders from Ottawa, the game (forfeited) was marred by an accident when at least 25 students were injured when a section of railing collapsed. The stadium has also been home to the Ottawa Junior Riders of the Quebec Junior Football League.

Early history
The original stadium, which was completed in 1908, as part of the Ottawa Exposition Grounds, sat 30,927 for football. It consisted of a single-decked grandstand on one side of the field and a double-decked grandstand on the opposite side. The north side stands are located on the roof of the adjacent Urbandale Centre. For many years, the stadium was known simply as Lansdowne Park, after the fairgrounds in which it was located. It was renamed in 1993 to honour Frank Clair, coach and general manager for the Ottawa Rough Riders during the 1960s and 1970s.

Demolition proposal
In the late 1990s, the stadium was threatened with demolition when then-mayor Jim Watson led a drive by the municipal government to allow a private developer to reconfigure Lansdowne Park. The proposals submitted all called for residences to be built on the site of the football stadium. Massive public opposition and the realization that the end of the stadium would mean the end of hopes to return CFL football to the capital led the regional government to step in and end the scheme.

In September 2007, the lower south side was closed, due to cracks in the concrete structure. Ottawa mayor Larry O'Brien was quoted at the time that this was an opportunity to do a review of the usage and the facilities of Lansdowne Park. The lower section of the stands was demolished July 20, 2008 at 8:03 AM. CFL team owners have paid a reported CDN$ 7 million to secure a future team in Ottawa. An Ottawa based CFL franchise will return to the league as soon as 2012, with hopes that a rebuilt Frank Clair Stadium will be their home field once again. Investor Jeff Hunt (owner of the Ottawa 67's who play in the attached Urbandale Centre) says the venue and location are ideal, with over a million people in Ottawa they have already pre sold 5,000 season tickets. In June of 2010 it was announced that the Ottawa City Council had approved a redevelopment plan put forward by the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) to renovate Frank Clair Stadium and build 350,000 sq. ft. of commercial retail space as well as 250 housing units and an urban park on the site. The stadium, which is the catalyst to bringing the CFL back to Ottawa will be rent-free to developers for 30 years. They also said that it might be posibility for Major League soccer to be played there.

Major events and trivia
Frank Clair Stadium has played host to five Grey Cup games, the first occasion being in 1925 when Ottawa won its first Grey Cup title. It later held Grey Cup games in 1939, 1967, and 1988, before playing host to the 92nd Grey Cup in 2004, in which the Toronto Argonauts defeated the BC Lions to become the 2004 CFL Champions. During the winter months, a private company rents the field and places an inflated dome over the field area, renting the covered/heated surface for use by amateur sports teams. In 1976, the stadium hosted some preliminary soccer matches for the Montreal Olympic Games. In mid 2007, the stadium was one of six hosts in the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Capacity is now listed at 26,559. The stadium was also the host of several outdoor concerts. David Bowie performed at the stadium during his Glass Spider Tour on August 28, 1987 & during his Sound+Vision Tour on July 6, 1990. Pink Floyd kicked off their A Momentary Lapse of Reason Tour at the stadium on September 9, 1987. Aerosmith performed at the stadium during their Get a Grip Tour on August 29, 1993. The last major concert at the stadium was in 2005, when The Rolling Stones performed in front of a crowd of 43,000.

References and notes