Air Canada Centre is built on the site of the Canada Post Delivery Building and still retains the east and south walls, setting the context for this 665,000 square foot facility.
A conservation program was implemented during construction of the original building facade. Stonework, bas-relief plans, and historic window profiles were restored.
The roof is 40 feet above the existing facades, and has a profile designed to be flat, giving the appearance of a hangar. This allows for better acoustics inside and a prominent city presence outside without blocking the view of other landmark buildings.
Architects: Brisbin Brook, Beynon Architects, well known for other projects such as: GM Place, Vancouver; Metro Hall, Toronto; Metropolitan Life Building, Toronto; and the World Trade Centre, Ottawa.
Contractors: PCL Constructors Eastern Inc., Canada's largest general contractor, constructed the arena and office tower.
Economic Stimulus: Air Canada Centre's existence over the first ten years of operation is estimated to result in an economic benefit of $2.4 billion.
The construction was motivation for other downtown development associated with the Railway Lands East. Approximately $13 million in public infrastructure was built ahead of schedule due to private financing made available in conjunction with the project. Projects include the Bay West Teamway, Union Plaza, the Galleria, and Bremner Boulevard. No public funding was used.
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment has the most valuable portfolio of corporate partners in Canadian professional sports including companies such as BMO, Molson and Coca-Cola. Their 50 Blue-Chip partners are broken down into three categories: Platinum, Gold and Silver.
July, 1993 Brisbin, Brook, Beynon selected to design new facility as part of the original NBA expansion bid.
October 11, 1994 Raptors announce pursuit of alternative site. Original Bay/Dundas site set aside.
December 21, 1994 Raptors announce selection of 40 Bay Street site. Letter of intent signed with Canada Post Corporation.
February 24, 1995 Raptors announce arena-naming partnership with Air Canada. Ford previously announced as a building partner for new arena.
March 8, 1995 Raptors and Canada Post Corporation sign binding agreement for the purchase and sale of the land at 40 Bay Street.
September 26, 1996 Raptors announce financing for Air Canada Centre.
December 5, 1996 Raptors close on land deal at Air Canada Centre.
December 16, 1996 City of Toronto issues permit for demolition of Postal Delivery Building at 40 Bay Street.
February 3, 1997 Raptors announce plans to proceed alone with Air Canada Centre site.
February 4, 1997 Master Building Permit application made with City of Toronto.
February 5, 1997 40 Bay Street becomes a live construction site. Demolition work begins on the Postal Delivery Building.
February 11, 1997 Shoring and Excavation Partial Permit granted by City of Toronto for Air Canada Centre.
March 12, 1997 Official groundbreaking ceremony.
April 28, 1997 First concrete pour.
July 4, 1997 Site excavation complete.
July 14, 1997 Main concourse concrete pour.
July 21, 1997 First raker poured for seating tiers.
August 5, 1997 V.I.P. tour of the construction site.
October 23, 1997 Air Canada Centre's hockey credentials launched at the Hockey Hall of Fame, Toronto.
November 17, 1997 First pre-cast seating tiers poured.
November 26, 1997 Galleria roof work begins.
December 11, 1997 Master building permit received from City of Toronto.
December 12, 1997 Completion of the concrete work. Concrete topping off celebration and barbecue with construction workers.
January 2, 1998 Installation of steel roof trusses begins.
January 7, 1998 Robert (Bob) Hunter named vice president and general manager for Air Canada Centre.
February 12, 1998 Maple Leaf Gardens announce purchase of Toronto Raptors and Air Canada Centre. Teams announce that there will be revisions to the original design to better accommodate NHL hockey. Opening date of February 1999 still attainable.
March 10, 1998 Maple Leaf Gardens Board approves Richard Peddie as president and chief executive officer to head up transition team.
April 22, 1998 Maple Leafs close deal to purchase the Toronto Raptors/ Air Canada Centre; work begins on $50 million renovation to upgrade building that is now 55 percent complete.
June 11, 1998 Air Canada Centre launches aggressive Executive Suite campaign.
July 21, 1998 Air Canada Centre officials announce public infrastructure program that benefits city.
July 29, 1998 First series of family entertainment events announced, including WCW, Sesame Street Live's 1-2-3 Imagine! Show, Chrysler Stars on Ice and the Harlem Globetrotters.
August 6, 1998 First public walk-through of incomplete building.
August 10, 1998 BOSE announced as official acoustic supplier.
August 10, 1998 Air Canada Centre officials announce a daily spending rate of $500,000 on construction costs.
August 12, 1998 The very first season seat holder checks out his new seats at Air Canada Centre.
August 27, 1998 Air Canada Centre's new management team officially announced.
September 3, 1998 Robin Brudner named vice president in charge of legal affairs.
September 10, 1998 IBM Canada Ltd. signs a six-year agreement as official partner of Air Canada Centre.
September 10, 1998 Molson and Maple Leafs sign long-term deal through 2004.
October 22, 1998 New corporate apparel line for event staff unveiled.
November 5, 1998 Air Canada Centre announces that the Sony LED Jumbotron will make its Canadian debut in the new arena; installation is valued at $4.2 million.
December 3, 1998 Pizza Pizza announces five-year partnership deal.
December 10, 1998 Mr. Sub announces a five-year partnership deal.
December 16, 1998 Public Art pieces unveiled at Air Canada Centre; media availability with artists John McEwen, sculptor of the steel conical work titled Search Light, Star Light, Spot Light, and Micah Lexier, sculptor of Wins, Losses and Ties, a hanging sculpture the chronicles the Leafs' 67-year history.
December 28, 1998 First ice at Air Canada Centre, now measuring 2 cm gets painted.
January 5, 1999 First ever Maple Leafs practice on fresh ice at Air Canada Centre.
January 13, 1999 Sears Canada acquires title sponsorship to new theatre at Air Canada Centre.
January 26, 1999 New playing organ installed. This one features digital capabilities, an array of digital samplers, sound modules, keyboards and effects.
February 8, 1999 Air Canada Centre officials announce the building's barrier-free access programs; tour with disabled media conducted.
February 10, 1999 Executive chef, Brad Long and Garth Essery, director of food and beverage operations join Tom Anselmi, vice president and project manager in presenting the new food and beverage program. Called a Munch and Mingle with Brad Long, media are invited to sample from the many menus presented.
February 11, 1999 Molson officially opens new on-site brewery brewing two craft beers, Toronto's Own and Molson Amber Ale. Brewery is named Lord Stanley's Mug.
February 14, 1999 First public open house. Everyone is invited to Toronto's newest sports and entertainment venue to take a sneak peek.
February 16, 1999 Maple Leaf Alumnae Lounge officially opened. On hand for opening ceremony are: Bob Baun, Pat Boutette, Ron Ellis, Stewart Gavin, Darryl Sittler, Tiger Williams, Norm Ullman, Nick Kypreos and Red Kelly.
February 18, 1999 Inaugural Charity Premier Gala held on the event floor of the yet unveiled building. The charity dinner, dance and auction raises in excess of $200,000.
February 19, 1999 Official dedication and unveiling of the cornerstone at Air Canada Centre.
FIRST HOCKEY GAME - February 20, 1999: Air Canada Centre opens with a game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens. Toronto wins 3-2 in overtime.
FIRST BASKETBALL GAME - February 21, 1999: Air Canada Centre's second official opening game. This time the Toronto Raptors take on Canadian rival team, the Vancouver Grizzlies. The Raptors win 112-87.
FIRST CONCERT - February 22, 1999: Canada's own, The Tragically Hip, perform the first concert at Air Canada Centre. The concert is a sell out.
February 25, 1999 The Rolling Stones play the first sellout at Air Canada Centre.
September 17, 1999 Celine Dion performs at the largest concert ever held at Air Canada Centre. Attendance is 22,109.
February 6, 2000 50th Annual NHL All-Star Game held at Air Canada Centre.
November 5, 2002 Air Canada Centre welcomes its 10-millionth guest as the Leafs host the Tampa Bay Lightning.
September 13, 2004 World Cup of Hockey Final game featuring Canada vs. Finland.
September 2005 U2 plays to four sold-out concerts at Air Canada Centre.
October 11, 2008 Air Canada Centre welcomes its 25-millionth guest as the Leafs host the Montreal Canadiens.
February 21 & 22, 2009 Air Canada Centre celebrates its 10th Anniversary as the Leafs host the Vancouver Canucks and the Raptors host the New York Knicks, respectively.
Fall 2009 Air Canada Centre plans to unveil Maple Leaf Square expansion.