Last night I took my mom to the Flo Rida/Pitbull concert and before you ask yourself, what is a mother doing at a Pitbull concert let’s just say I felt like a minority (age wise). Anyways I have never been to Ricoh Coliseum for a concert or a Marlies game, I have occasionally stepped into the complex to see a horse show during the CNE or the Royal Winter Fair, but for the most part I see concerts at either the Molson Amphitheatre or the ACC. So last night was a treat.
Now Ricoh Coliseum is hidden if you’re walking on the Ex grounds because it was built into the Direct Energy Centre. Therefore, the façade part that was facing south can only be seen when you are in the Direct Energy Building. If you want to see the exterior you either have to go to exhibition loop to look at it or drive on the Gardiner Expressway. When looking at it from the Gardiner you have to think of what it looked it like before all the condo’s and the highway blocked it. The structure is amazing as well with two beautiful towers and hemi-circle windows above the entrance. Even when you go inside the building via the Direct Energy Centre the building is well incorporated into the modern complex, which for me is sometimes a hit or miss. Also from really old pictures you can see a sign that vertically spelled coliseum (just like old movie theatres).
The Construction of the Coliseum was a joint effort with CNE and the Royal Agricultural Fair. Phase one was finished in 1922 and was considered the largest structure in North America (but then again how many buildings in Toronto have boasted to that). When World War Two came around the CNE grounds closed down and the coliseum was used as a training base by the Royal Canadian Air Force.
When I went into the arena there were a few things I noticed. They have these beautiful old wooden doors that I believe may have part of the old building before it was attached to the Direct Energy Complex. It has a Smoke’s and vendors similar to that of the ACC. When you walk in the arena its very small not as large as the ACC it has one main bowl of seating and private box seating right above. Therefore it is very intimate, and seats around 8,200 people. Around the whole arena there are Blue Maple Leafs and where the very first Maple Leaf is it says Making Leafs since 1927.
In 2003 after renovations the new arena was opened as part of the Direct Energy Complex and today it is home to concerts, the Marlies and equestrian show. Also with the new addition it added Ricoh to the name, which prior to that was known just as Coliseum.
The CNE grounds has so much history to it and Ricoh Coliseum is just one part of that history. From a training ground during WWII to hosting concerts by Pitbull and Fall Out Boy, the history this concert hall has gone through is amazing and it is so sad the structure is blocked by condos and the highway and the Direct Energy Complex, because look at the picture of it with the grass – is that not just beautiful…regardless it is