The CPL is a league that is spread coast to coast across Canada, and it’s fitting that with such a large league, (in terms of geographical size) comes a large variety of stadiums. The CPL is still in its formative years, and that is shown by the stadium used throughout. Temporary stadiums, university stadiums, and even large CFL stadiums can all be called home by the league’s eight teams.
With that in mind, these stadiums will be ranked in two categories; firstly ranking the CFL stadiums used (something the league should avoid at all costs going forward if it can), and then the more appropriately sized venues.
The CFL Stadiums
3. IG Field – Valour FC
I really like IG Field, and I’ve ranked it very highly before as U-Sports and CFL stadium, but CPL is a different kettle of fish. At 33,00, IG Field is almost 10,000 seats bigger than the other two CFL stadiums used in the league, which only further exacerbates the issue of using oversized stadiums in the league. This means fans are very spread out over the stand they’re allocated in, making it appear even more empty than Tim Hortons Field and TD Place.
T1. Tim Hortons Field – Forge FC, TD Place Stadium – Atlético Ottawa
Tim Hortons Field and TD Place are very similar in that they both have two dominating sideline stands. They’re both around the same capacity size, and as such, are both home to some of the CPL highest attendant games, with Tim Horton’s having a record CPL attendance of 17,611, and TD Place’s attendance record being 12,064.
Like Valour, both stadiums typically use one stand most of the time, but because of their designs, the stand that is used at the respective stadiums are more packed, and create a better game day atmosphere and match day experience. Even though TD Place houses fans in the stand that can’t be seen on the TV, you can always hear a good atmosphere at the ground.
The Size Appropriate Stadiums
5. York Lions Stadium – York United
As the name suggests, York Lions Stadium is the home of the University of York Lions football team. The stadium was recently renovated with its running track removed, and 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, however, they don’t match York United’s own colour scheme.
On the other side, there are some lime green seats scattered along the opposite touchline, and (facing the camera) there is a small temporary stand on the right-hand side. The stadium doesn’t have many other features, however, and does come across as a bit bare bones compared to other CPL stadiums, but it does own its simplistic and modern design pretty well.
4. Willoughby Community Park Stadium – Vancouver FC
A stadium pretty much ordered on the internet, Willoughby Community Park Stadium was built just in time for the season, but despite having to be hastily built does look good for the job. Perhaps the biggest drawback though is the lack of any covered seating, no escape from the summer heat or the potential for lower mainland rain in the spring and fall will make the match day experience a bit of a challenge.
S. 2 Ep. 17 – Can Canada Hold Herdman – FC13 Podcast
3. ATCO Field – Cavalry FC
Also used for equestrian sports, ATCO Field is one of the most unique-looking stadiums in the league. It features one grandstand that looks a lot like a traditional soccer stand from the United Kingdom. Meanwhile at the goal ends, one of the stands has the fans seated high up on a stand that is right next to a building that looks like a house, and on the other side, fans are able to watch atop a grass hill. Fans can sit down on said hill, and even sit by some tables, giving ATCO Field a very unique experience, and helping to generate a great game day for the Calgary faithful!
2. Wanderers Ground – HFX Wanderers
The Wanderers Ground is arguably the most iconic stadium in the CPL. This is somewhat surprising given that the stadium is set up to only be a temporary solution whilst the club look for a more permanent home. While they wait, the Wanderers have wasted no time in making their temporary home a fortress, boasting one of the best home records in the CPL’s young history.
Like ATCO, it has a very unique design with all the stands at the stadium being different from each other. Highlights include the (from the TV camera side) right-hand stand that houses the Wanderers’ most vocal fans from a vantage point, and the opposite side where fans can enjoy a game sitting at a table like at ATCO Field, all the while there’s room at either end for fans to stand up to enjoy a game. Wanderers Ground won’t be around forever, but while it’s here, I don’t doubt that the Halifax faithful will continue to do a great job bringing life, colour, and atmosphere to the stadium.
1. Starlight Stadium – Pacific FC
Home of the 2021 CPL champions, the 6,000-capacity Starlight Stadium has been used for Canadian rugby games, a CWNT match, and if not for the COVID-19 pandemic, a CMNT match. The stadium itself has a beautiful purple colour scheme to tie in with its main tenant, and like most CPL stadiums, it has a lot of unique stands, including an impressive stand by the goal complete with a white maple leaf pattern with the seats.
The main stand runs along the sideline, but has three separate sections which show where the stand has been expanded. The stand also includes “PFC” in white within the purple colour to once again give a clear sense of identity. There is also a small seated section at the other goal end, which is where you’ll often find the team’s most passionate supporters. Starlight Stadium, I find, is a really nice stadium aesthetically with its use of purple and large goal end stand, and with talks of even more expansion, it could go on to look even better.
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