The Ontario University Athletics is the largest and most trophy-laden conference in Canadian collegiate sports. Not only has the OUA combined for nineteen Vainer Cups, but Canadian football’s biggest prize, the Grey Cup, has been won a combined five times by both the University of Toronto and Queens University. With prestige and history comes characters and identity. The OUA has a wide abundance of stadiums to look at, and with eleven stadiums to choose from, this will by far be the most extensive ranking list in this U Sports series.
11. Warrior Field – Waterloo Warriors
Opened in 2009, Warrior Field is home to the Waterloo Warriors and has a capacity of 5,700 with 1,700 of that coming from its one grandstand 1,700. Its one stand is colourless and relies on white bench seating, giving the stand an unfortunate lifeless character look. Its endzones lack any distinction, opting to keep them the same colour as the playing turf. But there is at least no running track, giving Warrior fans a close view of the action!
10. MNP Park – Carleton Ravens
One of two U Sport football teams to apply their trade in Ottawa. MNP Park uses a simplistic bench seating design which gives its 3,044 main stands a rather barebones look, although there is some red as well used in the stand that gives it a little bit of colour. The stadium’s best feature is its all-black endzones with the monicker ”Ravens” written across which is a rather cool and intimidating feature.
9. Gee-Gees Field – Ottawa Gee-Gees
Opened in 2013, Gee-Gees field is scenically located right next to Ottawa’s famous Rideau river. It has a 3,400 capacity, due largely to its one stand that stretches the length of the sideline. The stand itself however isn’t all that inspiring with its use of colourless bench seating, but the smaller part of the end of the stand does give it a unique look. The Gee-Gee colours incorporated into the endzone also look great, it’s just unfortunate though that they had to edge off the end corners of the endzone.
8. University of Windsor Stadium – Windsor Lancers
The smallest stadium on the list. U of Windsor stadium, the 2000 seated capacity stadium was opened in 2005 and has been home of the Lancers ever since. The stadium has one small stand that stretches across most of the sideline and makes use of the Lancers’ blue and gold colours to give the seats some colour and tie into the team identity. The colour of the running track around the stadium also ties into the colour scheme, and the blue-coloured endzones give the small and somewhat minimalist stadium a smart finish.
7. York Lions Stadium – York Lions
Home of the York Lions, the Canadian Premier Leagues York United. York Stadium was recently renovated with its running track removed, a new playing surface and boasts a 4,000 capacity. Its one stand is very modern looking in its design and features all red seats which are striking to look at. The stadium doesn’t have many other features though, but whether its the CPL or U Sports, it does own its simplistic and modern design pretty well!
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6. Alumni Stadium – Guelph Gryphons
The home of the Guelph Gryphons, and the temporary home of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2013, Alumni Stadium has a 4,100 capacity and what its one stand lacks in colour, it makes up for it with its sheer size. The best feature for sure is the red and black checkered pattern in the endzone which is completely unique to Alumni Field. While the running track is a default red colour, it is possible to give Alumni Field a pass as it corresponds with red being a Gryphons colour.
5. University Stadium – Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks
Waterloo’s other team, the Golden Hawks have called University Stadium home since 1957 and the sixty-five-year-old stadium is going strong. The main stand uses Golden Hawk colours of purple and gold to give the stand life and clear team identity. Meanwhile, the running track is all black which while not a team colour looks great in contrast to the rest of the stadium. The endzones are the colour of the playing surface, although the white colour for ”Laurier” across the scoring zone does look good.
4. Ron Joyce Stadium – McMaster Marauders
Opened in 2008 with a capacity of 6,000, Ron Joyce Stadium is a compact stadium that doesn’t have a running track that allows it to be more intimate and be on top of the action. The single stand combines grey bench seats with maroon seats that tie in with the Marauders colour scheme. This is emulated in the endzones with the use of red as well, which must help to elevate the Ron Joyce into a Stadium that couldn’t be mistaken for anywhere but the home of the Marauders.
3. Varsity Stadium – Toronto Varsity Blues
The current Varsity Stadium was built in 2007 and it preceded one of Canadian Football’s most iconic stadiums. The first Varsity Stadium hosted the Grey Cup an unprecedented thirty times and twenty-one Vanier Cup finals. The new stadium has a capacity of 5,000 and features one big stand that lacks any blue, but that’s not where this stadium shines. The stadium uses the colour blue in a great manner, the running track is a combination of light and dark blue which goes perfectly together along with a bit of white that is also incorporated. The endzones are dark blue in colour as well which completes the great use of blue across Varsity Stadium. To top it all off, the stadium offers a great view of Toronto’s skyline, including the famous CN Tower.
2. Western Alumni Stadium – Western Mustangs
A few years ago, the Mustangs home stadium would’ve ranked much lower on this list with its generic-looking running track and barebones stand. But thanks to recent renovations, Western Alumni Stadium is now a fantastic stadium that is fitting for the 2021 Vanier Cup champions. The running track is now all dark purple which looks absolutely stunning. It’s a slightly different shade than the purple used in the endzone, which provides a great contrast as well and allows both purple elements to stand out. The stadium has an 8,000 capacity, and the increased use of colour has even helped the rather plain-looking stands also look more vibrant as a result. To top it off, the use of yellow on the stadium to mark out the soccer lines looks really smart and doesn’t make the playing surface look too confusing despite it having to accommodate two sports.
1. Richardson Memorial Stadium – Queen’s Golden Gaels
Like Toronto, this isn’t the first version of Richardson Memorial Stadium that the Golden Gaels have played at. Their stadium was rebuilt in time for the 2016 season, and the 8,000 seater stadium is very deserving of the number two spot. Richardson Memorial Stadium has three stands, which is very unique in the OUA and all three stands have their unique features. The endzone stand is all red and is connected to both sideline stands giving fans easy access around the stadium. Both sideline stands utilize yellow and blue colours, making this one of the vibrant and most easily identifiable stadiums in all of Canadian Football. The use of yellow, blue and red in the endzones just completes the colour scheme and gives the stadium a very strong aesthetic.
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