Edmontonians say emotional goodbye to the Coliseum

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Edmontonians say emotional goodbye to the Coliseum

For years, Carol Bailey sat in the same seat while watching the Edmonton Oilers play at Northlands Coliseum.

From her plastic chair, she watched Wayne Gretzky lead her favourite NHL team to Stanley Cup victory after Stanley Cup victory in the late 1980s and early 1990s. 

"It's just a whole pile of memories, good times," said Bailey, who took her seat in the building — which used to be known as Rexall Place — for the last time on Sunday. 

With the Oilers now playing at Rogers Place (the new arena which took over hosting duties for many of the other major events coming to the city) the Coliseum is set to close at the end of the month. 

Final farewell

To offer the public the chance to say a final farewell, Northlands opened up the facility on Sunday, partnering with the Candora Society to host a multicultural round dance. 

Tim Reid, the president and CEO of Northlands, which operated the venue, said its "the perfect way to end things." 

Saying goodbye is tough, but engaging in cultural and spiritual reflection is fitting, he said.

"It's been such an emotional weekend with everybody coming out and telling their stories and sitting in their old seats and telling me their favourite memories of the building," Reid said. 

The Coliseum was built in 1974 as the Oilers' home rink. Over the years, it has hosted other major events, including concerts and rodeo shows. 

Once the building and surrounding land revert back to the city, the 44-year-old Coliseum could be demolished. 

Mayor Don Iveson has previously told reporters the Coliseum could be saved if there was interest from a private investor to revitalize the building. Otherwise, keeping the building open is not "the economically viable option," Iveson said.