Though details aren't final, it looks like Canad Inns Stadium, the former home to International League and Northern League baseball in Winnipeg, will be torn down to make way for a Target store.
Mayor Sam Katz -- who, by the way, owns the Winnipeg Goldeyes (independent; American Association) and brought an independent Northern League team to Canad Inns Stadium in the first place -- is set to announce the sale of the stadium site to a property-management company Cadillac Fairview and Winnipeg-based land developer Shindico. After that, a mixed-use development is slated for the site, best known as the home of the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers, with a Target store tentatively slated as the anchor target.
Once the demolition of Canad Inns Stadium starts -- sometime after the current Blue Bombers season ends October 13 and the team makes the move to a new stadium on the University of Manitoba campus -- it will mark the end of a sporting era in Winnipeg. Canad Inns Stadium and Winnipeg Arena were the center of sports in the city, with the stadium hosting pro baseball and football and the arena hosting WHA hockey in its glory days. Now both the NHL and the current Goldeyes team play in downtown facilities. As a baseball venue, Canad Inns Stadium -- the former Winnipeg Stadium -- was always lacking, with a diamond awkwardly placed on a CFL playing field and a grandstand installed in the northwest corner of the stadium, meaning bases were laid out north-to-south and east-to-west during the last time a ball team took up residency there.
Still, baseball was envisioned as being a big part of the Winnipeg Stadium offerings from the very beginning. It opened in 1953 and was built originally for use for CFL football and minor-league baseball: the affiliated Winnipeg Goldeyes of the original Northern League played there in 1953-1964. The original stadium configuration was slightly different then, with the grandstand located at the southwest corner (it was later torn down for Blue Bombers clubhouses). After the Northern League moved out of the market, Winnipeg officials worked to bring in another affiliated team when the Buffalo Bisons (Class AAA; International League) fled War Memorial Stadium under some nasty circumstances in June 1970 and took up refuge in Winnipeg for the rest of the 1970 season and the entire 1971 season. The Whips were actually a success at the box office but not overall financially; high travel costs (the closest IL team was Toledo) doomed the franchise. The Whips moved to Virginia and became the Peninsula Whips.
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