Linda Southern-Heathcott, President and CEO of Spruce Meadows, has provided an update of current and future plans to keep Spruce Meadows at the forefront of show jumping competition venues in terms of human and equine comfort and safety, and the fan experience:
Wow, what a great show jumping season we have just completed, culminating with the ‘Masters’–full stadium, fantastic sport, beautiful weather, and great atmosphere!
First, my team would like to thank you for all that you have done to help us build Spruce Meadows for the past 47 years into what it is today. We also want to thank you for your patience and support through the pandemic years.
During the pandemic, we quietly continued work on our growth plans for the venue and the sport. We used this opportunity to undertake an extensive and ambitious capital improvement program, installing new water, wastewater, and fire protection lines. Connection to city water ensures a safe and reliable water supply and a wastewater system is here to provide comfort to our visitors.
In addition, we renovated our West grandstand skyboxes for an elevated and elegant hosting experience for our corporate partners and guests.
In anticipation of our 50th Anniversary in 2025, our team has undertaken an expansive multi-year plan that will focus on improving the experience for all four of our stakeholders: the athletes, the sponsors, the media, and the fans. We are excited about the big projects in all these areas and the opportunity to continue to build the sport of show jumping for the future.
First and foremost—the footing. We have hired Green Consult Bio-engineering, an international engineering and consulting firm that has specialized in development, maintenance, and optimization of grass sports fields for the past 35 years. We have all the ingredients to be successful, and a team of agricultural engineers from the Green Consult has partnered with us to build on our existing strengths and develop steps for the future, including new equipment, seeding, and strengthening the root system in all of the competitive rings, as well as the expansion of our warmup rings for a better experience.
Spruce Meadows will continue to be dedicated to the athlete. We ran a survey and gave our athletes an opportunity to express their wishes and recommendations for events and prize money. This too will continue to be worked on and developed with further announcements to be made in 2023.
We are in the process of a significant renovation of the landscaping on the All Canada Ring. The ring is known for having a large slope and this major overhaul includes levelling it to create another premium space for both athletes and fans to enjoy top sport. In addition to the ring being levelled, its new design will feature a lake, larger warm up ring, and more.
Fan and Sponsor experience
The International Ring
Ahead of this year’s ‘Masters’ Tournament, a new video board was installed atop the iconic Clock Tower providing improved picture clarity for fans to enjoy during competition. We will be adding another clock tower and video board at the North end.
The deconstruction of the East Grandstand has begun, and we will be further redeveloping the International Ring to add additional seating with an entrance from the east side and a restaurant.
In 2020, the interiors of the West Skyboxes were completely renovated. To complement the modern elegance of the indoor spaces, the balconies of both the West and British House Skyboxes are now being upgraded with new carpet and seats.
As you will have seen at the ‘Masters’ we have a beautiful new walkway and staircase in front of the West Grandstand. We were hoping to unveil the new reserved seating with tables during this season but had to delay the project due to supply chain issues. But now the improvement of the West seating area is well underway. The bleacher seating has been removed and will be replaced with tiered table seating featuring a food and beverage table-side service option.
All of these upgrades at Spruce Meadows highlight our team’s dedication to remaining a premiere destination on a local, national, and international scale. Spruce Meadows will continue to promote Good Friendship, Good Commerce, and Good Sport in all our endeavours.
My team at Spruce Meadows and I can assure all of our fans and supporters that the next decade will be filled with great experiences and wonderful improvements that will surprise and delight our athletes, our fans, our corporate supporters and the media.
We are here to stay and will continue to lead the sport with our commitment to excellence! We look forward to being a part of Calgary’s fabric for years to come.
Thank you for coming on this journey with us!