Richardson Stadium, then ... and now

Queen's Journal from 1922.

Reconstruction of Queen's Journal page by Larry Harris.

At the opening of the new George Richardson Memorial Stadium on Oct. 8, 1921, a bronze tablet was unveiled by George Richardson’s friends, “those who knew him best,” reported the Journal, “his former comrades in the field of sport and in the field of war.” A second tablet was commissioned by the university to commemorate the stadium’s opening, the gift of James Armstrong Richardson, and the memory of his brother George.

In 1971, the two bronze tablets moved to the site of the new Richardson Stadium, joined by a third, presented by Mrs. James Armstrong Richardson. The three plaques were then set into the
base of the stadium’s scoreboard.

As part of the 2014–2016 revitalization project of Richardson Stadium, the bronze tablets denoting the stadium’s history were also restored and stabilized. The two oldest tablets, cast in bronze 95 years ago, needed to be treated with special care. one of them was severely warped and needed to be straightened, carefully, in a hydraulic press. The concrete and adhesives that had held the tablets in place for decades were carefully chipped away. The original bolt hangers were removed and replaced with new fasteners. A water sandblast removed the oxide patinas, revealing the clean, raw bronze beneath. The plaques were then force-dried. A prime coating, followed by several colour coats, was applied before the border and lettering were machined. Finally, multiple clear protective coatings were applied to the rejuvenated tablets to maintain their newfound lustre for years to come.

The three bronze tablets are now on display in a place of pride at the entrance to the revitalized George Richardson Memorial Stadium.

On Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, the revitalized Richardson Stadium was opened to fans for the first time, as the Queen’s Gaels football team hosted the Western Mustangs – the feature event in a weekend-long celebration of athletics and community.

“The new Richardson Stadium is a state-of-the-art facility that will benefit not only student-athletes, but the Queen’s and Kingston communities as a whole,” said Principal Woolf. “This exceptional stadium would not have been possible without the generous support of countless donors, particularly Stu and Kim Lang and the Richardson family. Richardson Stadium will offer an entirely new experience for fans of a wide range of sports, and I’m thrilled to see this tremendous venue open during Queen’s 175th anniversary celebrations.”

  • Mary Ann Spencer, Elder in Residence at the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre

    Photo by Bernard Clark

Revitalization plans began in March 2014 with the announcement of a $10-million pledge to the project from Queen’s alumni Stu and Kim Lang. That announcement was followed by news of a $5-million contribution from the Richardson Foundation. Other donors came forward, bringing the total amount raised to more than $17 million, with the university contributing $3 million for infrastructure support.

The construction of the stadium was a priority within Queen’s Initiative Campaign that concluded this year. It is one of a number of efforts undertaken to enhance the university’s athletics and recreation facilities to promote the health and wellness of all students.

  • The Gaels salute the home crowd before their first game in the new stadium.

    Photo by Bernard Clark

See more photos from the stadium opening on Flickr.

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