The story of a national hall of fame devoted entirely to Canada’s sporting history started with the efforts of one man, Harry Price. In 1947, as chairman of the Sports Committee for the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), he traveled across the country trying to enlist support to build a museum dedicated to Canadian athletes past and present; a place to celebrate the many achievements by Canadian athletes in the world of sports. Eight years later it was announced that the Stanley Barracks at the CNE ground would be home for Canada Sports Hall of Fame. The opening ceremonies took place on August 24, 1955 and featured the symbolic lighting of a flame that became the central image for Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame’s logo.
When the Hockey Hall of Fame came on the scene in 1957, the two Halls joined forces and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame relocated to the Administration Building/Press Building on CNE grounds. The two organizations co-habited this facility until the Hockey Hall of Fame moved in 1993 to its new location in Brookfield Place, downtown, Toronto, ON. After the Hockey Hall of Fame moved, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame closed and the prized collection of sport stories and artefacts was put in storage at the Stanley Barracks.
In 2008, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Board of Governors launched a national bid process to rejuvenate and grow Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame – to find a new home. Nine cities bid on this opportunity and Calgary was declared the successful city. Only a few months later, all three levels of government committed to fund the construction of a 40,000 square foot facility that would be built on the west side of Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.
The new Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame building will open July 1, 2011 – offering 44,000 square feet of space dedicated to preserving and celebrating Canada’s impressive and inspiring sport history. Inside the new building, visitors will be able to visit 11 exhibit galleries representing 58 sports, experience more than 50 interactive visitor experiences, watch 10-minute feature highlighting great sport moments in the 120-seat Riddell Family Theatre, and learn about Canada’s sporting traditions and artefact, video and photo collections in the Education and Resource Centre. School programs will be developed for local schools, outreach initiatives will be developed for Canadian communities, and community access programs will be initiated to ensure all citizens can experience this national treasure.