History of Percival-Molson Memorial Stadium
A look a the life of the man for whom the Alouettes’ home is named. A brave soldier who served Canada and died for his country, Molson was an avid sportsman who played football, hockey, ran track and more.
Percival Molson Memorial Stadium,
1915-1919: The beginning
Originally built for McGill’s student athletes, the stadium was constructed on the grounds of MacDonald Park on Montreal’s Mount Royal
A period of heavy use for the stadium, during this era Percival Molson was host to a Grey Cup and many a packed house for McGill Redmen football games before the Alouettes moved here from Delorimier Stadium.
Perhaps the first golden era for Percival Molson Stadium, this era saw the likes of Sam “The Rifle” Etcheverry and “Prince” Hal Patteron star in front of packed audiences of 25,000-plus with bleachers all the way down to the sidelines. The stadium was also host to a visit from none other than Princess Elizabeth, who went on shortly after to become Queen Elizabeth II.
Perhaps the highlight of the 1960s was a visit from the NFL’s Chicago Bears as the Alouettes hosted a CFL-NFL exhibition. The Als left Percival Molson Stadium for the brand new Autostade in the late 60s.
Despite a lack of CFL football played there for the vast majority of the 70s, Percival Molson Stadium had its fair share of glory during a great era for the city. When Montreal hosted the 1976 Olympic Summer Games, Molson Stadium hosted field hockey and became the first Olympic venue ever with artificual turf.
Following the glory days of the Alouettes in the 1950s-60s and the Olympics in the 1970s, Percival Molson Stadium slowly fell into disrepair despite a few highlights like an early-80s The Police concert and some highly successful seasons for the McGill Redmen. By the time the Als moved in for a 1997 playoff game, a tree was growing through the north-side stands and the stadium was almost beyond saving. Convinced of its potential, however, the Alouettes moved in permanently the following year and the rest, as they say, is history.
2000-2010 & the future
The Alouettes once again made Percival Molson Stadium their permanent home in 1998 and have, along with McGill University and all three levels of government, invested millions of dollars in renovating and expanding the building into the crown jewel of Canadian stadiums.