The Air Canada Centre, located right in the downtown core, is a world-class sports and entertainment facility and is the
premier arena for professional hockey and basketball in North America. Designed with the fans in mind, the focus is on intimacy and customer experience. The seating capacity for hockey is 19,500 (including 1,500 fans in 150 Suites and 300 in Standing Room) with excellent sight-lines throughout.
The facility will also house a club restaurant and bar with a view of the ice. There will be televisions throughout the building, including all washrooms. One percent of seating in the building has been designed for the disabled, offering physically-challenged individuals a choice of various ticket prices.
The Air Canada Centre has all of the characteristics of a first-class, technology-advanced facility while maintaining the spirit and legend associated with that of Maple Leaf Gardens.
A conservation program is in place to maintain the integrity of the original building facade including the restoration of stonework, bas relied panels, and replication of historic window profiles.
In addition to the arena, a 140,000 square foot 12-storey office tower, The Air Canada Tower, has been constructed in the northeast corner of the site, adding to the skyline presence of the project. Air Canada, a major building partner, takes residence in the top six floors with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, Ltd. occupying the remainder.
The steel roof is 40 feet above the existing facades, and has a profile designed to be flat, giving the appearance of a hangar. This allows for better acoustics inside and a prominent city presence outside without blocking the view of other landmark buildings.
More than 650 television screens, complete with cable, satellite and replay ability, will be located throughout the concourses and washrooms so fans don't miss a minute of the action.
The construction will be the impetus for other downtown development associated with the railway lands east. Approximately $13 million in public infrastructure elements will be advanced by at least five and up to as many as 15 years ahead of schedule through private financing in conjunction with the project. Projects include: the Bay West Teamway, Union Plaza, the Galleria, Bremner Blvd. And related infrastructure.
No public funding will be used.
Air Canada Centre provides an excellent link between the downtown core and the Harbourfront, one of Toronto's major tourist attractions.
The arena will be user-friendly, providing 1% of fixed seating for the disabled and their companions. Accessible seating areas are strategically located throughout the building, providing maximum flexibility and pricing selection. Among other features, all public washrooms are wheelchair accessible. Food and beverage service counters will be lowered to accessible service heights.
The amount of dirt, which was excavated from the new Air Canada Centre site, is equivalent to filling 2,000 household pools. Total concrete poured is 27,128 cubic metres -- enough to make a five-foot-wide sidewalk from Air Canada Centre to Niagara Falls. There is 2,000 tons of steel in the Air Canada Centre -- that is equivalent to 2,000 average size cars. Ten kilometres of steel piping were installed for the ice rink alone. The ice surface has enough ice to make up 2 million one-inch ice cubes. There is enough wire in the arena to stretch from P.E.I to Vancouver. The total worker-hours used in the construction of the Air Canada Centre is about one million. The tallest player in the NBA is 7-foot-7 tall; the height of the doorframes in the Raptor's locker room is eight feet high. There are over 650 televisions throughout the arena, many of which are located in the washrooms. It would take 300 televisions to make up the size of the 16-by-9 inches video boards at Air Canada Centre. The average number of hot dogs sold at a single event is approximately 1,800. There are 15 concession stands throughout the Air Canada Centre, two restaurants that are open to all fans and three others that are members-only. Air Canada Centre has 56 washrooms. The total wattage of lights used for a basketball or hockey game is 308,000 -- or enough to light an average school for more than a week. The Air Canada Centre house sound system can reach levels of 96 decibels, comparable to a 747 jet taking off 1000 feet away. The six copper kettles in Lord Stanley's Mug will produce 2,000 HL (equivalent to 600-thousand bottles of 25-thousand cases) of freshly brewed beer. Head Brewer is Roxanne Diakowsky, one of only a few female brewers in Canada. The Air Canada Centre has almost 1000 part- and full-time workers.
- A blend of the historical "Postal Delivery" building and today's modern arena
design, not a "cookie cutter".
- Fully upholstered 20 - inch seats . first "Soft Seat Arena".
- 40 unique courtside lounges located within the 100 level and 65 luxury suites
located on the 200 level.
- A brew pub.
- A themed food court - "St. Lawrence Market" concept.
- A themed Galleria with team store.
- An interactive "Raptorfest" area.
- An interactive computer centre.
From the Airport - Take Hwy 427 South to Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) East (Toronto). QEW turns into Gardiner Expressway. Exit at York Ave. North and continue one block to the arena.
- In the heart of a 4 million market place.CONSTRUCTION MILESTONES
- Very accessible:
- Terminus of GO Transit/TTC
- Minutes from business core
- Access to major highways
- 13,000 surrounding parking spaces
|January 1998 - June 1998: Arena Roof.|
|May 1998 - August 1998: Building Enclosure.|
|March 1998 - January 1999: Interior Finishes and Fit Out.|
|February 1999: Air Canada Centre Grand Opening.|
|February 20, 1999:Montreal Canadiens vs.Toronto Maple Leafs|
|February 21, 1999:Vancouver Grizzlies vs. Toronto Raptors|
Coffee (Tim Horton's) $1.50
Hot Chocolate (Tim Horton's) $1.50
Tea (Tim Horton's) $1.50
Juice (Fruitopia) $3.00
Draught Beer $4.50
Premium Bottled Beer $5.50
Mixed Drinks $5.50
Specialty Drinks $5.50
Sirloin Burger $4.75
Cheese Burger $5.25
Original Six Burger with Bacon and Cheddar $5.75
The "Market" Dog 9"all-beef quarter pounder $3.50
Fiery Italian Sausage on Italian Roll $4.00
Canadian Team Back Bacon On a Bun $5.00
Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich $8.75
Chicken Cheese Steak Sandwich $7.75
Honey Grilled Chicken in a Pita $5.00
Mr. Submarine Assorted $5.50
Mr. Submarine Turkey $5.50
Mr. Submarine Veggie & Cheese $4.50
Corned Beef on Rye $5.00
Pastrami on Rye $5.00
Panini of the Day $5.00
Shopsy's Egg Salad Sandwich $5.00
Shopsy's Cold Turkey Sandwich $5.00
Shopsy's Tuna Salad Sandwich $5.00
Conny's Carve of the Day $6.00
Pizza Pizza Pepperoni and Cheese $3.50
Pizza Pizza Supreme $3.50
Pizza Pizza Vegetarian $3.50
Pizza Pizza Sicilian $3.50
Chef's Sandwich $5.50
Meatball Sandwich $5.75
Pasta with House Tomato Sauce $4.50
Pasta with Garlic Cream Sauce $4.50
Pasta and Meatballs with Tomato Sauce $5.50
Pasta and Meatballs with Garlic Cream Sauce $5.50
Voodoo Chili $3.50
Garlic Bread with Cheese $1.75
Market Caesar Salad $3.50
Market Fries (2 sizes) $2.75, $4.00
Orville Redenbacher popcorn
Shopsy's Potato Salad $2.50
Shopsy's Slaw $2.50
Shopsy's Beef Knish $3.00
Bavarian Pretzel $2.75
Shell-on Peanuts Salted or Unsalted $4.00
Potato Chips $1.50
Nachos with Jalapeno Cheese and Salsa $4.75
Lord Stanley's Nachos $8.00
Strub's dill pickles $1.00
Croissants (Tim Horton's) $1.50
Biscuits (Tim Horton's) $1.50
Muffins (Tim Horton's) $1.50
Bagels (Tim Horton's) $1.50
Cookies (Tim Horton's) $1.00
Timbits (Tim Horton's) $1.00
Chocolate Bars $1.75
By KEN FIDLIN, TORONTO SUN
Sunday, August 16, 1998
It's open house at the Air Canada Centre and, while you'll need a vivid imagination to envision the finished product, the early reviews being accorded the new playpen of the Raptors and Maple Leafs are positive.
Words like cosy and intimate are being used in descriptions. If you've seen many of the new monoliths being constructed these days in other cities, you'll know that none of them come close to "cozy and intimate."
The opening of the Air Canada Centre is one of the most anticipated events Toronto will see. Designed as an intimate arena to watch NBA basketball, this state-of -the-art facility will also serve as a premier entertainment centre featuring a myriad of high quality attractions.
Accessibility and affordability are the cornerstones for the success of Air Canada Centre. Conveniently located at the foot of Bay Street , in the heart of Torontoís entertainment district, and in close proximity to major transportation arteries, people from across the GTA will easily discover the value offered at Air Canada Centre. Some of the greatest performers in the world will have a place to showcase their talent. Your own Toronto Raptors will have a place to call home.
Air Canada will rapidly come into international as it takes Toronto into the 21st century, watch it emerge.
March 24, 1997 - More than just a rumor: Lawyer talk around town is that the city did a serious stall job on the Raptors' arena plans in the hopes the Leafs and Raptors would come to some kind of sharing agreement on a single arena for Toronto.
THE ULTIMATE SPORTS ROAD TRIP
By: Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell
March 21, 1999
|Air Canada Centre Ranking by USRT|
|Fan Support|| 6|
|Concourses/Fan Comfort|| 4.5|
|Bonus: Sprite Zone|| 2|
|Bonus: Shopsy's Carts|| 5|
|Total Score|| 58.5|
February 26, 2000
March 2, 2002
March 3, 2002 - This beautiful arena opened in February, 1999, and was originally planned as a basketball arena and a permanent home for the Raptors. Common sense eventually prevailed, and rather than building two arenas for their teams, the design was modified to accommodate both the Raptors and the Leafs.
Our greatest concern was how the Maple Leafs could ever duplicate the grace and musty charm of one of the hallowed grounds of hockey - the venerable Gardens. Of course, nothing will ever really replace Maple Leaf Gardens, but they did a great job trying.
Getting to the Venue
The arena is located right downtown, at the foot of Bay Street and adjacent to Skydome. One of the best ways to go to the arena is via the TTC subway system. Trains run every 4-5 minutes. You get off at the Union Station and from there it is a completely enclosed walk through the train terminal and right into the Air Canada Centre Galleria pavilion. The building is easily accessible with covered walkways to the GO Trains and the TTC subway system. If you do drive, you can see the arena right along the Gardiner Expressway. Exit at Yonge Street or Bay Street, and seek out parking anywhere there. Prices run CDN$20 outside the building but drop a bit once you walk further. Expect to pay at least CDN$10.
Outside the Venue
Even though the ACC is right downtown, the venue is somewhat landlocked, with the Gardiner Expressway abutting one side and the train station and its tracks on the other. If you want to walk to the attractions and the downtown core - simply traverse the viaduct and you are on Front St. And of course, on the corner of Front and Yonge is THE Hockey Hall of Fame, a must see during your stay here. If you walk the other direction (under the Gardiner), you will eventually find yourself at Queens Quay and the bustling Toronto waterfront. Just a short walk west is Skydome and the CN Tower. Yes, lots to do and see here!!!
We have to mention the Galleria, which serves as the pavilion and the main entrance to the Air Canada Centre. Here you will find the ticket offices, merchandise store, Fan Zone interactive games, old Maple Leaf exhibits and a tribute to Poste Canada, the Canadian postal workers. This site actually housed the main post office here, and the shell of the building was kept and incorporated into the arena's design.
Once you walk through the turnstile, every where you look there is memorabilia of the Leafs and the Raptors - old exhibits brought from the Gardens interspersed with new material. Take the time to look at the murals and photographs - they are spectacular.
There are several restaurants and bars right in the arena - Rickard's microbrewery on the 100 concourse, adjacent to a cool pub called "Lord Stanley's Mug", the Original Six bar behind the blues in one end zone, and for club seat holders - the Air Canada Club concourse, inlcuding a premium restaurant in the east end zone and also overloooking the seating bowl.
They sort of emulated the seating colors at the Gardens - golds, reds, blues, greens. They also added "platinum" seats in the first few rows, which gives you access to a private and exclusive lounge at ground level. In the center is an awesome four sided scoreboard with four crystal clear Sony jumbotron video panels, and dot matrix information presented on a circular board. Along the balcony are synchronized changable ad panels, interspersed with dot matrix information boards on 4 sides. The press box here is named the "Foster Hewitt Gondola" in honor of one of the greatest broadcasting legends in NHL history, who called Leafs games a generation ago from the gondola at the Gardens.
In addition to the Air Canada Club seats and the platinum seating, one can find suites in three different configurations - along the sidelines at the top of the 100 level, skysuites in a gondola high above the rink, and three levels of suites in each end zone above the upper level seating.
A great variety of food awaits you here - the classic Canadian chains "Pizza-Pizza" and "Tim Hortons" stands are everywhere, not to mention the "Good Humor" ice cream stand. (Shouldn't it be "Good Humour"???) The unique items that caught our eye were a sushi stand and a potato pancake stand, both in the east end zone at the 100 level.
Hat Tricks, Extra Points, Penalties
Hat Trick - to the Toronto Maple Leafs, for their SUPERIOR job in showcasing their teams rich history with endless displays and memorabilia which transforms this building into a museum. Not to be missed is the Esso "Memories and Dreams" display, half way up the escalators to the upper level. Remarkable displays.
Hat Trick - to the Toronto fans who support this Leafs team and have done so for a generation, even surviving the Ballard years of futility and misery. This building is sold out night after night, only a scant few seats are available for individual sale, and even the Raptors are getting in on the act now, with the sell out sign posted almost all the time.
Extra Point - "The Sprite Zone", which is 4 upper deck sections in the corner of the ACC, offers seating in a non-alcohol section, and guest relations entertainers passing out prizes and holding contests throughout the game. Best of all, the ticket price - CDN$12.50 for a Raptors ticket. Folks, with the exchange we got a see an NBA game for $7.90. How good a bargain is that!
Extra Point - For our March, 2002 visit, the Leafs game took nearly 4 hours to complete, what with a lengthy pregame ceremony, then a delay because an honoree was stricken with a heart attack just before stepping onto the ice (we learned he did not make it), then another delay when a Chris Gratton slapshot shattered the glass behind the net, and that had to be cleaned up. Did we mention overtime???
Good job Toronto! A great venue and a great hockey experience, not to mention the electric basketball crowds cheering on their beloved Raptors.. Definitely one of the favorites on our list and a venue we look forward to visiting again and again. And best of all, when you go to the Air Canada Centre, you are in the middle of one of the world's great cities! Check out the nice hotels, restaurants, the attractions, the nightlife, shopping on Yonge Street. Everything you would want is right here!
UPGRADES PLANNED FOR AIR CANADA CENTRE
September 11, 2008
Copyright 2008 MediaVentures
Toronto, Ontario - The Air Canada Centre, which is approaching its 10th birthday in February
of 2009, is in the early stages of a C$50 million facelift, and the most noticeable change for this
season is the addition of high-definition video screens to the scoreboard.
The rest of the ACC renovations and an addition will be finished for the start of the 2009-10
NHL season. By then, the Leafs will have added a 20,000-square-foot atrium to the front of the
ACC's west side and completed a host of renovations to the arena itself.
The atrium, which will cost C$25 million, will have a 50-by-80-foot video screen on its outside
wall, which will overlook a plaza that will be used for parties and other celebrations. On the inside, there will be a walkway to the hotel and condominium project going up a few feet away, a
television studio and lots more food and beverage outlets where fans can spend their cash.
It is all part of a C$500 million venture between the Leafs' parent company, MLSE,
Cadillac-Fairview Corp., and Lanterra Developments. When it is finished in the spring of 2010, the
project will have twin towers, one with 875 condos, the other housing a boutique hotel, plus office
and retail space.
MLSE also has big plans for using the plaza between the towers and the ACC. MLSE
president Richard Peddie and company are chasing the 2012 NBA all-star game and the NHL
all-star game the following year. They also wanted the 2012 world junior hockey championship but
were rebuffed by Hockey Canada, which split the event between Edmonton and Calgary.
"We're going to have all these young people in the neighborhood and in our restaurants and
there will be tax dollars for the city," Peddie said. "It's going to be great. We love it. We can do the
pre- and postgame events. People can come down to events and watch [on the outside video
Oh, and forget it if you want to get in on the parties by buying one of those 875 condos. They
were sold out two years ago, not long after the project was announced, for an average price of
C$450 a square foot and range in size from 500 to 2,000 square feet.
"If we could sell them today, we'd probably get another 100 dollars a square foot," Peddie said
with a smile. (Toronto Globe and Mail)
TORONTO ARENA COMPLETES RENOVATION
September 17, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures
Toronto, Ontario - The Air Canada Centre opens its doors to fans this fall with C$48 million in
renovation work complete.
The work includes a 50-by-30 foot high-definition outdoor screen on the west side of the
building. It's part of a pedestrian plaza and new entrance to the arena and provides a gathering
place for ticketless fans to watch games being played mere steps away.
"We want to create a little Times Square feeling," said Bob Hunter, the executive vice-president
for venues and entertainment of MLSE.
The plaza area, surrounded by the residential and retail development the company is also
building, can accommodate about 6,000 spectators, said Hunter.
The facelift to the arena is centered on the western edge of the building and includes a new
concourse and main entrance and the studio that's the site of Raptors and Leafs pre- and post-game TV broadcasts.
There is little to notice in the actual bowl of the arena although a new hydraulic system of
seating will make it possible to convert the arena from hockey to basketball quickly enough to
potentially allow for both the Raptors and Leafs to play home games on the same day.
The revitalization of that side of the facility coincides with the development of two residential towers that will include restaurants, retail facilities and condominiums and which will open early in 2010.
MLSE, AIR CANADA CENTRE SOLD
December 15, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures
Toronto, Ontario - Two telecommunications giants will soon control what the Toronto Star
called the biggest prize in Canadian sport. The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan has reached a draft agreement to sell its 79.53 percent
stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, owners of the iconic Toronto Maple Leafs, to Rogers Communications and BCE for more than C$1.2 billion. The sale would include the Air Canada Centre.
Reports surfaced two weeks ago that Rogers and BCE had been working on an alliance to share control of MLSE, which also owns other sports properties and lucrative broadcast interests.
At that time, Teachers, one of the country's biggest pension plans with assets of more than C$107.5 billion, indicated it was pulling its stake off the market after an extensive search that formally started earlier this year. Teachers' noted that several parties had made offers.
The Star reported a year ago that Teachers had been quietly talking to possible suitors including Rogers about selling its stake. Teachers' played down the story but four months later announced that it would formally explore a sale.
MLSE also owns the Raptors of the NBA, Toronto FC of Major League Soccer, the Marlies of the American Hockey League, two speciality television channels and Maple Leaf Square, a condominium development adjacent to the arena.
The agreement contemplates that Larry Tannenbaum whose firm Kilmer Sports own the remaining 21.47 of MLSE will stay as a shareholder and chairman of the company. He may also increase his stake or get some cash as part of the deal, according to reports.
There were provisions in the existing shareholders agreement that gave Tannenbaum key rights that would make it difficult for any owner with telecommunications properties to take advantage of MLSE's rich broadcast assets without his approval.
The telecommunications companies are banking on making money every step of the way from gate receipts to licensing fees for the broadcast, right down to data plans for consumers who want to watch a game, the newspaper said.
"From start to finish now, Bell and Rogers now have ample opportunity to realize revenues from all their holdings," said Carmi Levy, an independent tech analyst. "It's the ultimate manifestation of vertical integration."
That means MLSE owns the building where the Leafs play, as well as the method in which games are broadcast, and the Internet and wireless networks that will carry the content.
"This investment fits squarely into our strategy of securing premium content and making it accessible to Canadians when, where and how they want it," said Rogers CEO Nadir Mohamed at the news conference.
"Sports content is king. Let's face it nobody wants to watch a game two days later," Mohamed said. "Between the two organizations I can't think of anybody that can bring live sports to Canadians wherever they are without missing a second."
BCE's president and CEO George Cope first saw this type of convergence work during the Vancouver Olympics – when he watched on his cell phone as the Canadian women's hockey team struck gold.
"The penny dropped at the Olympics," Cope said in 2010 after BCE boosted its stake in CTV Inc. "It was the first time we saw the impact of these new technologies, the impact on the Internet and on wireless."
Although the CRTC has made it clear in a recent ruling that companies cannot deny rivals access to their content for a fair price, Levy believes Bell and Rogers will focus on value-added content that they don't have to share.
Beyond just watching a game, people are interacting with a broadcast. That means if a player scores a goal, with special applications, viewers can watch a replay, or call up different camera angles, or just look at statistics.
Levy believes Bell and Rogers will make the apps free, just like offering free handsets and tablets, tied to phone contracts, but could eventually generate subscription-based revenue down the line.
In addition, he thinks carriers will at some point offer different tiers of service for data plans, just like cable ranges from basic to pricier packages, dependent on usage.