In 2018, the CFL announced that a team called the Atlantic Schooners would hopefully be added to the league, becoming its tenth member and making the CFL truly a coast-to-coast league. In 2019, to help gather momentum and an appetite for professional football in the area, the CFL’s Touchdown Atlantic event returned for the first since 2013 and a crowd of over 10,000 came out to watch a game between the Toronto Argonauts and Montreal Alouettes.
It’s been a rough road since then, questions over stadium funding have been the biggest hurdle so far for getting the Schooners off the ground and at this point, it remains to be seen if the Schooners will ever even play a down. But that’s not to say, however, there is no culture or history of football in Atlantic Canada. There are five teams playing in the Atlantic University Sports (AUS) conference within the U Sports Football programme. Each has its own unique stadium and just like with the RSEQ Stadiums earlier, it’s time to rank the stadiums in the AUS conference.
5 – Raymond Field, Acadia Axemen
We start off with Raymond Field, home of the Acadia Axemen. Raymond Field has two seated stands with one stand being significantly bigger than the other, but despite being able to seat more fans (3,000) than most other AUS stadiums, the Stadium is let down by the barebones and lifeless look of its stands. Its red-coloured end zones help to give it some colour, and its standard-looking running track also happens the team’s colour which does help. It would be nice though for a program that has won two Vanier Cups and fifteen Jewett trophies to have some more character and uniqueness to it, that said, its a still a great place to watch collegiate football.
4 – Coulter Field, Bishop’s Gaiters
The newest addition to the AUS, Bishop’s is based in Sherbrooke Quebec and moved over from the RSEQ to AUS in 2016 and has competed in the Atlantic ever since. Coulter Field has a capacity of 2,200, with there being one stand for the fans to sit in. The stand itself has a barebones design, using uncoloured bench seats, but that’s not to say the stadium is completely lacking colour. The end zones are strikingly purple to go along with the Gaiters colours, helping to make the stadium stand out and have its own Bishop’s Gaiters identity.
3 – Alumni Field, Mount Allison Mounties
Commonly known as MacAulay Field, Alumni Field was opened in 1900 and the 2,500 capacity venue has been home to New Brunswick outfit The Mount Allison Mounties since 1955. The Stadium has one stand, but fans also have the unique opportunity to watch games from a cafeteria that is built along the opposite sideline, allowing fans to watch the Mounties with a sit-down meal and drink, or on the grass between the cafeteria and playing field. The turf itself has great use of colour, it features red end zones with the team’s name also incorporated into the design to create a very colourful and distinct scoring zone. This is also complemented by the use of red, white and yellow lines on the green playing turf. The seats in the stand are also draped in the team colours, and with its scoreboard and floodlights, Alumni Field may be small, but it’s a stadium the Mounties can be proud of.
2 – Huskies Stadium, Saint Mary’s Huskies
Home of the first-ever CFL Touchdown Atlantic in 2005, Huskies Stadium is surrounded by Saint Marys University buildings on all sides and plays a big part in the stadium’s overall look. Huskies stadium has been expanded to over 11,000 in past but currently has 2,000 permanent seats split across two small stands on either sideline. The most striking feature the stadium has is its light blue running track. While not a colour associated with the Huskies, the running track creates a vibrant colour contrast with both the turf and the maroon end zone. The stadium also gets extra points for its ability to be expanded with the use of temporary stands. In 2020, prior to the CFL season cancellation, the stadium was set to host a Touchdown Atlantic game, and time will tell if it will get that chance again in the near future.
1 – StFX Stadium, St. Francis Xavier X-Men
Coming in at number one is the largest stadium in the AUS with a permanent capacity of 4,000, StFX Stadium. Commonly known as Oland Stadium, the Stadium’s most glaring feature is its bright yellow running track around the stadium which aesthetically just looks amazing, and the use of yellow in the turfs centre logo helps to complete the look of yellow and give it a dramatical eye-catching appeal. The end zones have a blue look with the team name pained in white, giving the field an overall very colourful and unique design that immediately tells teams they’re playing the X-Men. In 2018, a new grandstand was open which featured blue seats to match the end zones, cemented StFX Stadium as one of the easily recognizable venues in all of U Sports Football.