The Civic Stadium was first opened in 1930. The stadium was originally built to host the British Empire Games which was Canada's first major international athletic event held in August of 1930. The Stadium held approximately two thousand seats when it was first built and was managed by the Culture and Recreation Board.
If you were too young to cheer on the Bills at Buffalo’s War Memorial Stadium, than the home to Hamilton’s CFL team may be your best chance to experience a bit of what made the “Rockpile” unique.
Hamilton’s Ivor Wynne Stadium is a “working man’s stadium, for a working man’s team serving a working man’s city.” Just like War Memorial, Ivor Wynne is shoehorned in a blue-collar, residential neighborhood. On game day, fans and homeowners share the streets while tailgating before the Ti-Cats take the field.
The stadium was first opened in 1930 as an arena of the British Empire Games. In 1950, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats became the first permanent tenants of the stadium. The field played host to the Grey Cup in 1972 and 1996. Its current capacity is 29,600.
Although the stadium as undergone many changes over the years, it has remained true to the original vision of an outdoor stadium. In fact, it is one of the few stadiums of its kind in North American and a significant historical and cultural landmark in Canada.
In 1950, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats became the permanent tenants of the Civic Stadium. However, the professional CFL team discovered there were many inadequacies with the stadium which included insufficient availability of seats for the games. Therefore, the City of Hamilton approved Ivor Wynne's proposal to install additional spectator bleachers on the north side of the Stadium. Construction of this project was completed in 1959 and approximately 15,000 new seats were added, radically increasing the stadium's capacity. Other renovations included the installation of washroom facilities which were desperately needed
In 1970, the Civic Stadium was renamed Ivor Wynne Stadium in honor of Ivor Wynne. The name change commemorated all of his accomplishments which had improved McMaster and the City of Hamilton. Some of his more notable deeds were the development of a Physical Education course and a Physical Education complex at McMaster University. Unfortunately, it was in the same year that the newly named Ivor Wynne Stadium was beginning to show its age.
Ivor Wynne Stadium was beginning to be an embarrassment for the league. The disrepair of the stadium was seen by American television audiences, and resulted in poor morale and suggestions that the Canadian Football League (CFL) was a “bush” or minor league. As a result, American television stations covering Canadian Football games refused to air games played in Hamilton. The stations felt broadcasting Hamilton games sent a message to American audiences that the Canadian Football League was not a professional athletic organization. Even the classic match-ups between the Toronto Argo's and the Hamilton Tiger Cats were not broadcast until renovations to the stadium were completed. Visiting teams issued criticisms about the stadium. They complained that there was not enough room to conduct half-time discussions, nor were there enough showers. The visiting teams also complained that there was no place to conduct media interviews. The complaints from the American media and visiting teams were acknowledged by the CFL, which prompted the city to discuss ways of improving the stadium.
A number of fans living the area have decorated thier homes to support the Ti-cats