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Percival Molson Memorial Stadium

Percival Molson Memorial Stadium

  Venue Resources  
Address 475 Av Des Pins O
Montreal, QC
Canada H2W 1S4
Phone (514) 253-0008
Seating Weather
Newspaper
Satellite View
  Calendar / Tickets  
Hotels, Dining & Deals in Montreal

  The Facility  
Date Built October 22, 1915
Ownership
(Management)
McGill University
(McGill University)
Surface FieldTurf (2004-Present)
Cost of Construction C$100,000
Stadium Financing 100% Publicly Financed.
Stadium Architect Percy Erskine Nobbs
Capacity 25,500
Luxury Suites None
Club Seats None
  Other Facts  
Tenants Montreal Alouettes
(CFL) (1997-Present)
McGill Redmen
Former Tenants Montreal Alouettes
(CFL) (1954-1967, 1972)
Population Base 3,000,000
On Site Parking None
Nearest Airport Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport (YUL)
Retired Numbers #27 Mike Pringle
#28 George Dixon
#56 Herb Trawick
#63 Pierre Desjardins
#74 Peter Dalla Riva
#75 Hal Patterson
#77 Junior Ah You
#92 Sam Etcheverry

Championships 1st

1949
2nd

1970
3rd

1974
4th

1977
5th

1995
6th

2002
7th

2009
8th

2010

Sources: Mediaventures

Percival Molson Memorial Stadium
Image of Percival Molson Memorial Stadium courtesy of © Mike Campbell Photography (September 18, 1998)

"Time dims not the achievement of he Brave,
But worth shines even from the Grave."

Football in Montreal, McGill University in particular, has long been a revered tradition. The first intercollegiate games of any consequence were played between McGill and Harvard back in 1874.

Large crowds at the Redmen football games necessitated a permanent stadium. Prior to the first World War, McGill University authorised construction of a new stadium on the slope of Mount Royal, at the corner of University and Pine Avenue. The stadium, anticipated to cost $100,000, was to be financed by the sale of rock excavated during construction, and subsequent gate receipts. The Stadium was largely completed by about 1916, with a capacity of 7,676 in a single concrete grandstand on the field's north side. A 440 yard (400 meter) track was also included in the grounds. Unfortunately, intercollegiate football play had been suspended for the war, and the stadium sat empty for the duration.

On July 4th, 1917, Captain Percival Molson, a McGill alumnus who had been instrumental in getting the stadium plan approved, was killed fighting in France. His will bequeathed $75,000 to McGill to help defray the cost of construction. When the stadium was officially opened on October 25, 1919, it was only natural to name it in honour of this fallen hero. (It is not, as many people believe, an early attempt at corporate advertising, as seen in the Molson Centre.)

The stadium proved an immediate success, and became the home of the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association football team, the predecessor of the Alouettes/Concordes. By the 1930s, the stadium's capacity was becoming inadequate, and it began a gradual expansion, which included building a south grandstand, and heightening the north stand. These projects brought the capacity to a figure of around 16,500 by the early 1960s. In spite of all construction and expansion, Molson only held the Grey Cup once, in 1931, between Montreal and Regina. (Montreal won 22-0.) The 1957 CFL All Star game was also played at the stadium.

By the 1950s McGill football was enjoying record crowds. An overflow crowd of 19,386 came out to one 1950 game. The Alouettes, formed in 1946, were also enjoying large capacity crowds, as they consistently won eastern finals. In 1951, the stadium was used to receive HRH Princess Elizabeth, and was filled to capacity quite easily.

The 1960s saw Molson Stadium begin a slow decay. The Alouettes moved to the newly constructed Autostade in 1968, and intercollegiate crowds began to drop dramatically. What saved the stadium was the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. Although the stands were beginning to crumble, the stadium was selected as the field hockey venue, and was outfitted with an Astroturf surface in 1975 in preparation. Capacity was increased to 20,000 with temporary additions. Once the Olympics were over, the north stands were largely neglected, and quickly fell in to a poor state of repair.

Prior to the 1988 season, it became urgent to replace the old Astroturf carpet. At the end of its lifespan, it was becoming a nightmare for players, and there was talk of temporarily moving the team to another location. Fortunately, a new Astroturf-8 rug was installed, and the team stayed put.

Attempts were made at the same time to repair the damaged sections, at a cost of $100,000 (CDN) for each section. Money quickly ran out, however, and the north stand continued its decay to the point where portions of its north-east structure were condemned. The south-east corner of the stadium was recently demolished to make room for a new sports complex; the south-west corner may also face the wrecker's ball to expand the Montreal Neurological Hospital. The portions of the north stand above street level are also slated for demolition, as part of an agreement with the City of Montreal

Currently, the capacity of Molson Stadium stands at 14,761. With the demolition of parts of the north and south stands, it will likely be decreased to somewhere in the neighbourhood of 8,000 by the year 2000. It will, however, continue to be used as the home of the Redmen football team well into the next century. It is also used for intramural sport, cross country skiing, the McGill Summer Sports Camp, and is rented for concerts and other athletic events. It affords fans with a scenic view of Montreal from atop Mount Royal, and also gives superb football sightlines.

Source: Compiled and written by Ian Speers, 1997

The Montreal Alouettes have played their home games at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium since 1998. Now in its 92nd year of operation, it is named in memory of Captain Percival Molson, a McGill University athlete and member of the renowned Molson family. A soldier, he died in World War I and bequeathed $75,000 towards the construction of a stadium.

Overlooking the Montreal skyline from atop Mount Royal, Molson Stadium remains one of the most scenic places in Canada to watch a spectator event. Construction on the stadium began in July 1914 on an area known as “Macdonald Park,” named after William Macdonald, a benefactor who almost single-handedly financed parts of the university. Macdonald Park was to be known as "a playground for McGill students." Molson Stadium soon became the home of the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association (M.A.A.A.) football team, the predecessor of the Montreal Alouettes. By the 1930s, the stadium's seating capacity had become inadequate and a gradual expansion began. The seating arrangements were entirely restructured and the first outdoor stadium lighting system in Canada was installed, as was a public address system. The innovations were not only technological; Major D. Stuart Forbes, the director of athletics at the time, even once brought in a flock of grazing sheep in an attempt to improve the grass.

A south grandstand was constructed and the north side was heightened, so that by the early 1960s capacity had increased to approximately 19,500. McGill football games attracted large crowds during those years, with a record crowd of 19,386 attending a game in 1950. The Alouettes, formed in 1946, were a force in the CFL, enjoying capacity crowds from 1947-1967. The all-time attendance record at Molson Stadium is 26,191 for a 27-21 Montreal victory over Hamilton on Sept. 12, 1959.

With the advent of television and improved roads in the 1960s, the Alouettes moved to the newly constructed Autostade in 1968. Intercollegiate crowds at McGill began dropping significantly during the same period, and Molson Stadium slowly fell into disrepair. The stadium received a facelift in the 70s with a government-sponsored upgrade, including the installation of artificial turf in 1975. This allowed the stadium to be used as a venue for field hockey during the 1976 Summer Olympics, marking the first time artificial turf was used in an Olympic Games. Stadium capacity was temporarily increased to over 20,000 to accommodate Olympic crowds.

In the spring of 1998, with the stadium once again showing its age and its north stands in complete disrepair, the Alouettes undertook renovations that reconfigured stadium capacity to 17,317 fans. Temporary end zone bleachers were installed in the spring of 1999, increasing the seating capacity of Percival Molson Stadium to 19,461 and then to 19,601 for the 2001 season. That figure was increased to 20,002 for the 2002 campaign and to 20,202 for 2003.

After years of interim and partial repair, the Alouettes, working with McGill, undertook a comprehensive, multi-year renovation project which will ultimately yield an upper-deck of approximately 4,000 seats to the stadium's south stands, as well as luxury boxes and premium seating. Phase I of the plan, funded by $13.3 million in federal, provincial and municipal contributions, was completed in 2003 and included the replacement of the stadium's 13-year-old artificial surface with a next-generation, multi-sport "infill" turf. Areas under both the north and south grandstands were completely renovated, including work to dressing rooms, showers, and officials' rooms. As well, there were major additions to the number and quality of stadium concessions and washrooms. Finally, new lighting and improved stadium access roads were installed.

As part of the arrangement, the city of Montreal acquired rights to use McGill's facilities, including the stadium and new stairs and a pathway leading to the summit of Mount Royal was built.

Heading into the 2007 season, the Alouettes have sold out 71 consecutive games at Percival Molson Stadium. The team is currently working actively on phase II of the expansion project which would raise the stadium capacity to approximately 25,000 seats.

A Brief History of Percival Molson Memorial Stadium

The Montreal Alouettes have played their home games at Percival Molson Stadium since 1998. Named in memory of Captain Percival Molson, a McGill University athlete and member of the renowned Molson family, he died in World War I and bequeathed $75,000 towards the construction of a stadium.

Overlooking the Montreal skyline from atop Mount Royal, Percival Molson Stadium remains one of the most scenic places in Canada to watch a spectator event.

Construction on the stadium began in July 1914 on an area known as “Macdonald Park,” named after William Macdonald, a benefactor who almost single-handedly financed parts of the university. Macdonald Park was to be known as "a playground for McGill students."

Once built, Percival Molson Stadium quickly became the home of the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association (MAAA) football team, the predecessor of the Montreal Alouettes.

The first stages of growth...
By the 1930s, the stadium's seating capacity had become inadequate and a gradual expansion began. The seating arrangements were entirely restructured and the first outdoor stadium lighting system in Canada was installed, as was a public address system.

The innovations were not only technological; Major D. Stuart Forbes, the director of athletics at the time, even once brought in a flock of grazing sheep in an attempt to improve the grass.

A south grandstand was constructed and the north side was heightened, so that by the early 1960s capacity had increased to approximately 19,500. McGill football games attracted large crowds during those years, with a record crowd of 19,386 attending a game in 1950.

The Alouettes, formed in 1946, were a force in the CFL, enjoying capacity crowds from 1947-1967. The all-time attendance record at Percival Molson Stadium is 26,191 for a 27-21 Montreal victory over Hamilton on Sept. 12, 1959.

With the advent of television and improved roads in the 1960s, the Alouettes moved to the newly constructed Autostade in 1968. Intercollegiate crowds at McGill began dropping significantly during the same period, and Percival Molson Stadium slowly fell into disrepair.

The Olympic Summer Games
The stadium received a facelift in the 70s with a government-sponsored upgrade, including the installation of artificial turf in 1975 so that the stadium could be used as a field hockey venue as part of the 1976 Olympic Summer Games, marking the first time artificial turf was used in an Olympic Games.

Stadium capacity was temporarily increased to over 20,000 to accommodate Olympic crowds.

The return of the Alouettes
In the spring of 1998, with the stadium once again showing its age and its north stands in complete disrepair, the Alouettes undertook renovations that reconfigured stadium capacity to 17,317.

Temporary end zone bleachers were installed in the spring of 1999, increasing the seating capacity to 19,461 and then to 19,601 for the 2001 season. That figure was increased to 20,002 for the 2002 campaign and to 20,202 for 2003.

Expansion 2003-2010
Following years of interim and partial repair, the Alouettes, working with McGill, undertook a comprehensive, multi-year renovation project.

Phase I of the plan, funded by $13.3 million in federal, provincial and municipal contributions, was completed in 2003 and included the replacement of the stadium's 13-year-old artificial surface with a next-generation, multi-sport "infill" turf.

Areas under both the north and south grandstands were completely renovated, including work to dressing rooms, showers, and officials' rooms. As well, there were major additions to the number and quality of stadium concessions and washrooms. Finally, new lighting and improved stadium access roads were installed.

As part of the arrangement, the city of Montreal acquired rights to use McGill's facilities, including the stadium and new stairs and a pathway leading to the summit of Mount Royal was built.

In spring 2009, the Alouettes announced that Percival Molson Stadium will be expanded to 25,000 seats in time for the 2010 season.

By PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun Writer
November 3, 1997

MONTREAL -- The Alouettes proved you can go home again.

The Als returned to decrepit Molson Stadium - which had not played host to a CFL game in 25 years but may become the club's permanent home again as early as next season - and used the occasion to keep their playoff hopes alive.

The Als beat the B.C. Lions 45-35 in the East semifinal, delighting a crowd of 16,257. The paid attendance was the Als' highest of the season.

With the Big Owe occupied by a U2 concert, the crowd yesterday revelled in the great outdoors. It wasn't quite Sunday Bloody Sunday, but the battle left both teams wounded.

"The crowd was very supportive, it was just a fun atmosphere," said an emotional Mike Soles, the Als fullback who played university football for McGill at Molson Stadium. "I don't know if people felt at home, but it was just a neat environment and I don't think I'm the only person who felt that."

Soles scored a touchdown, but it was his running mate Mike Pringle who really keyed the Montreal attack. Pringle rushed for a CFL playoff-record 264 yards. He also contributed three touchdowns, two on long rambles.

Capitaine Percival Molson

Born in Cacouna, Quebec on August 14, 1880, Percy Molson developed into one of Canada's most outstanding all-around athletes. At the age of 16 he played on the 1896 Stanley Championship Montreal Victorias. He graduated from McGill in 1901 with a B.A. and captained the hockey team in 1902-03, starred in track, racquet sports and football. He won the Individual Trophy as the School's best "all-around" athlete for three consecutive years, a feat unmatched in McGill sports history. Percy earned every athletic honour the university offered and set a world record in the long jump at the American Athletics Meet in 1900.

Molson was renowned for his sportsmanship and earned the unique distinction of never having been penalized in any sport for unfair tactics. In one particular hockey game versus Queen's, Molson was penalized for what was perceived by the referee as an illegal body check on George Richardson, Captain of the Golden Gaels. However, Richardson protested that he had been checked fairly and the referee agreed to cancel the penalty. Later in the game, Molson was given credit for a goal but he admitted to the referee that the puck had gone off his arm and the goal was disallowed.

After graduation, Molson became the youngest member to serve on the McGill Board of Governors, chairing its Finance and Stadium Committees. He was severely wounded overseas in the Battle of Sanctuary Wood on June 2, 1916 and received the Military Cross for gallantry and distinguished conduct in action. He insisted on returning to action and was killed by a direct hit from a trench mortar on the outskirts of Avion near Vimy Ridge, France on July 5, 1916. In his will was a $75,000 bequest towards the construction of a McGill football stadium, which was dedicated in 1919 as Percival Molson Memorial Stadium. Captain Percival Molson was inducted to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1963 and to the McGill Sports Hall of Game in 1996.

MONTREAL CFL TEAM NEEDS LARGER VENUE
September 16, 1999
Copyright 1999 MediaVentures

Montreal's CFL Alouettes are selling out the 19,485-seat Molson Stadium, but say they need up to 5,000 more seats to accommodate their fans and put the team into profitability. Officials say they could sell out the venue for the rest of the season and still lose CAN$1 million. The team is also hoping to increase corporate sponsorship by 25% next year on top of the CAN$2 million it already takes in.

To help with the problem, engineers are reviewing the stadium to see if more seats can be added. The cost is expected to range from CAN$2 million to $10 million. Once the price is known, the team, which has already lost CAN$5 million in three years, will try to determine how to fund the expansion. Some of the money could come from McGill University which owns the venue.

ALOUETTES CONSIDER TAYLOR FIELD AS MODEL FOR MOLSON STADIUM EXPANSION
October 21, 1999
Copyright 1999 MediaVentures

As the CFL Alouettes consider possible improvements to Molson Stadium, they are using Regina's Taylor Field as a model. The 27,732-seat venue got 7,000 new seats and 250 club seats as part of a 1976 expansion. The club seats sell for $75 per season. Comparatively, Molson Stadium has 19,248 seats and uses tents to create its premium-priced space. The Alouettes are recording sell-out crowds and believe they could benefit with more space and better premium seating, including up to 16 luxury suites. The venue is owned by McGill University.

No plans are in place for an upgrade, but team officials hope to build corporate support for the idea in hopes of future improvements. The cost of improvements is estimated at up to CAN$10 million.

MONTREAL PUTS FUNDING PLAN TOGETHER
March 12, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Montreal, Quebec - Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay has announced that funding has been found for Molson Stadium improvements for the 2010 season.

The long-awaited project will cost C$29.355 million, of which the Quebec government will kick in C$19.331 million. The city of Montreal will invest C$4 million with the remaining expenditure coming from Alouettes owner Robert Wetenhall, who will dip into his pocket to come up with the roughly C$6 million remaining.

By the time it's completed, the facility will have a seating capacity of 25,000, an increase over the 20,202 seats it now has, but still leaving it the league's smallest stadium. Eighteen new private loges will also be constructed.

Most of the new seats - about 3,800 - will come on the south side, where 11 rows will disappear to facilitate the construction of a second tier. A section will be added in the northeast corner. And there'll be about 1,500 permanent seats in the east end zone, replacing temporary bleachers. The stadium's video board will be moved slightly.

When the Als organization first announced these plans in June 2005, the cost was pegged at C$27 million and was expected to come from the three levels of government, with an additional $4 million in private money. The team hoped to begin construction in 2006 and complete it by June 2007.

Ottawa already sank C$4 million into Phase 1 of the project, completed for the 2004 season. The province and city also contributed C$4 million each under the federal infrastructure program, with Wetenhall committing the remaining C$500,000.

Alouettes president Larry Smith said staying at Molson was the most prudent solution. He said a new stadium, with 30,000 or 35,000 seats, would have cost between C$150 million and C$250 million.

"When you look at history," he concluded, "I don't know how many people in 1997 gave us a chance of surviving - let alone one year or five years. And now here we are, going into our second decade." (Montreal Gazette)

Baltimore CFLers / Baltimore Stallions / Montreal Alouettes III

Memorial
Stadium

Memorial Stadium

1994-1995
 
Olympic
Stadium

Olympic Stadium

1996-1997
 
Percival Molson
Memorial Stadium

Percival Molson Memorial Stadium

1997-Present
Regular Season
Olympic
Stadium

Olympic Stadium

1998-Present
Playoffs

Montreal Alouettes / Montreal Concordes

Delorimier
Stadium

Delorimier Stadium

1946-1953
Percival Molson
Memorial Stadium

Percival Molson Memorial Stadium

1954-1967

Autostade
Autostade

1968-1971
Percival Molson
Memorial Stadium

Percival Molson Memorial Stadium

1972
Autostade
Autostade

1973-1976
Olympic Stadium
Olympic Stadium

1977-1986


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