Calgary has had bad luck with arenas, particularly early on. Sherman Rink burnt down. Victoria Arena burnt down. But so far, the old Stampede Corral has lasted the test of time and stands as the longest-lasting major arena Calgary has seen.

By the 1940s, the sheer amount of activity at the old Victoria Arena had the facility stretched a little thin. Add in its age and lack of modern amenities – this probably sounds familiar – and there was a growing call in the post World War II years to replace it.

Eventually, the city cobbled together some money and did just that. The Stampede Corral opened up across the street from Victoria Arena in December 1950 to tittering among certain parts of the city’s populace about its name. Nevertheless, Lloyd Turner was made manager of the arena (he managed the Victoria Arena, so it made sense) and pretty much all hockey moved over to the Corral by the middle of the 1950s.

The Corral was a terrifying building in its heyday, with its steep stands and high boards creating a pretty intimidating circumstance for opposing teams. The Calgary Wranglers of the WHL and the Calgary Cowboys of the WHA played in the building before the Calgary Flames came to town in 1980.

The arrival of the Flames coincided with growing concerns about the Corral’s age. Combined with a growing swell of support for a new modern arena as part of a bid for the 1988 Olympics, there was momentum to replace the Corral. By 1983, the Olympic Saddledome was completed on the site of the Victoria Arena – to much less public mockery of its name than the Corral experienced in 1950. The Corral has since primarily been used for secondary events, such as concerts and other events that couldn’t fill the ‘Dome.

Most major events have migrated from the Corral to the Saddledome, but the Corral has hung around for the better part of the past 50 years – 2020 is actually the 70th anniversary of the arena. It’s slated to eventually be demolished sometime in late 2020 or early 2021 as part of the ongoing BMO Center expansion and redevelopment.

Considering the Corral has lasted twice as long as Victoria Arena, it’s had one heck of a run.