Over a staggering thirty nine million people have watched in excess of two thousand and six hundred events at the famous Air Canada Centre in Toronto. The arena is without a doubt one of the most visited and most famous indoor venues not only in North America but worldwide.
Apart from being home to professional sports teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Raptors, the Air Canada Centre has also provided the stage for some of the biggest names in music history to perform. It will not be any different this year. Not only will you get to see some pulsating sports action, you will also get the chance to attend concerts by some big name stars. If you want to be a part of the festivities, then book your Air Canada Centre tickets now.
The Land’s Ownership
The site where the Air Canada Centre stands today used to be occupied by the building of Canada Post’s Toronto Postal Delivery. For a short while, the building was given to the Department of National Defence for the purpose of war storage in the year 1941. Canada Post received the premises back in the year 1946.
In the first part of the 1990s real estate developers Trizec and Bramalea Ltd reached an agreement with Canada Post to take ownership of the area. They wanted to convert the land into a residential, office and retail space spanning two and a half million square foot. The project hit financial difficulties and as a result the building’s ownership was returned to Canada Post in the year 1993. A year later, the Raptors stepped in and bought it from Canada Post.
The Construction Begins
The groundbreaking ceremony for the Air Canada Centre was held on March 12, 1997. John Bitove, the founder of the Toronto Raptors and his consortium that owned the Raptors were responsible for getting the construction started. While the construction was being carried out, the partially completed facility was bought by MLSE. They had plans of building an arena for the Toronto Maple Leafs so that the hockey team could be moved out of the Maple Leaf Gardens.
Major design changes had to be made to the design of the Air Canada Centre since the original design was basketball specific. The original budget was for two hundred and seventeen million dollars but MLSE expanded it to two hundred and sixty five million. All the changes also caused several delays and the Raptors had to pay one million dollars on two separate occasions to the NBA because of their failure to start construction work on the new venue on time.
The Air Canada Centre opened its doors for the public for the first time on February 19, 1999. The very next day, it hosted its first sporting event. The Maple Leafs took on the Montreal Canadiens and won the clash 3-2. The first basketball encounter at the Air Canada Centre was played on February 21, 1999 between the Raptors and the Grizzlies. The Raptors opened their account in their new home by winning the game 102-87. The Tragically Hip have became the first musical act to play at the venue when they took to the stage on December 31, 1999.
The Main Features
The Air Canada Centre spans over a whopping 665,000 square foot of space. It seating capacity varies according to the event taking place. The seating capacity for basketball games is 19, 800 while it is 18, 800 for hockey games. A full house concert can play host to 19,800 fans too. For theatrical events, the capacity of the Air Canada Centre is reduced to 5, 200.
The Air Canada Centre has one thousand and twenty club seats, sixty five executive suites, thirty two theatre suites and sixteen loge suites. Apart from basketball, hockey and concerts, the venue also hosts events such as family shows, lacrosse, skating events, political and corporate event and circuses.
The venue has a top of the line sound system that cost in excess of one million dollars. A new scoreboard was installed at the arena in the year 2008 for eight million dollars. It measures 10 feet in height and 17 feet wide. The new scoreboard is around four times bigger than the previous one.
The Accessibility Options
The Air Canada Centre is extremely user friendly. One percent of its seats are reserved for people with disabilities and their companions. All the washrooms for the public are also accessible by wheelchair and there are also urinals at low heights for people who cannot get out of their chairs. Even the service counters for beverages and food are lowered to reach accessible service heights.
Famous Artists at the Air Canada Centre
There isn’t a busier indoor arena in Canada than the Air Canada Centre. In 2016, it made it to the ninth spot on the list of the world’s busiest music venues. Famous musical acts like The Rolling Stones, Cher, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Bruce Springsteen, Kiss, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Dixie Chicks, Pearl Jam, U2, Bob Dylan, Elton John, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Linkin Park, Madonna, Metallica, Depeche Mode, Beyonce, the late George Michael and Lady Gaga are just a few famous names that have performed at the Air Canada Centre over the years. Bon Jovi holds the record for performing seventeen times at the arena, the most by any other artist. He was also the first artist to be inducted into the Air Canada Centre Hall of Fame.
Air Canada Centre Concert Tickets
The Toronto Raptors and Maple Leafs will play at the Air Canada Centre this year that is a given. Like always, the year will also see some of the biggest names from the music fraternity make their way to the arena.
Stars like Justin Timberlake, Rod Stewart, Bon Jovi, Shania Twain, the Eagles, Shakira, Demi Lovato, Harry Styles and Sam Smith will all come to perform at the venue. Not only that, but Elton John will also be making his way to the arena as part of his farewell tour. In fact, he will kick off the Canadian leg of the road trip by performing back to back shows there in September of 2018. There is so much in store for you if music is your thing. All you have to do is book your Air Canada Centre concert tickets and watch your favorite star light up this world famous arena, live.