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Edmonton and the Grey Cup: A brief history of hosting

WATCH ABOVE: The Grey Cup has been played in Canada 106 times. How many times do you think Edmonton has hosted the big game? Gord Steinke takes a look back.

Canada’s biggest party and one of the nation’s most-watched sporting events has returned to Edmonton.

This is the fifth time the CFL Championship will be played at Commonwealth Stadium.

72nd Grey Cup: Nov. 18, 1984

Winnipeg Blue Bomber John Bonk, with Grey Cup in his left hand, raises his right hand in jubilation along with teammate Vernon Pahl after the Blue Bombers beat Hamilton Tiger-Cats 47-17 in Edmonton on Sunday, Nov. 18, 1984, to win the 1984 Canadian Football League championship. At right of picture is CFL commissioner Doug Mitchell.
Winnipeg Blue Bomber John Bonk, with Grey Cup in his left hand, raises his right hand in jubilation along with teammate Vernon Pahl after the Blue Bombers beat Hamilton Tiger-Cats 47-17 in Edmonton on Sunday, Nov. 18, 1984, to win the 1984 Canadian Football League championship. At right of picture is CFL commissioner Doug Mitchell. The Canadian Press

The first Grey Cup ever played in Edmonton and at Commonwealth Stadium was on Nov. 18, 1984.

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It was the Winnipeg Blue Bombers versus the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The temperature at kickoff was -10.9 C with snow. A sold-out crowd of 60,081 watched as Hamilton took an early 17-3 lead. But in the end, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers crushed the Hamilton Tiger-Cats by a score of 47-17.

85th Grey Cup: Nov. 16, 1997

Toronto Argonauts quarterback and game MVP Doug Flutie poses with the Grey Cup in the team dressing room after defeating Saskatchewan Roughriders in November 1997.
Toronto Argonauts quarterback and game MVP Doug Flutie poses with the Grey Cup in the team dressing room after defeating Saskatchewan Roughriders in November 1997. Canadian Press

Edmonton would have to wait 13 years to host another Grey Cup. The football championship returned to Commonwealth Stadium on Nov. 16, 1997 but it wasn’t the league’s first choice.

The game was supposed to be held in Baltimore, Md. It would have been the first time the Grey Cup was played outside of Canada but the Stallions were relocated to Montreal and the game was moved to Edmonton. The halftime show was Trooper.

The heavily favoured Toronto Argonauts under the helm of head coach Don Matthews and quarterback Doug Flutie faced off against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. A sell-out crowd of 60,431 was in attendance. The temperature was around -10 with wind and snow. The final score was 47 to 23 Argos.

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90th Grey Cup: Nov. 24, 2002

Members of the Montreal Alouettes celebrate their Grey Cup victory over the Edmonton Eskimos in the CFL championship game in Edmonton, Sunday, November, 24, 2002.
Members of the Montreal Alouettes celebrate their Grey Cup victory over the Edmonton Eskimos in the CFL championship game in Edmonton, Sunday, November, 24, 2002. Kevin Frayer/ Canadian Press
Edmonton Eskimos quarter back Ricky Ray lets a pass go as Montreal Alouettes line back moves in during third quarter Grey Cup football action Sunday, Nov. 24, 2002 in Edmonton.
Edmonton Eskimos quarter back Ricky Ray lets a pass go as Montreal Alouettes line back moves in during third quarter Grey Cup football action Sunday, Nov. 24, 2002 in Edmonton. Kevin Frayer/ Canadian Press

The Edmonton Eskimos would finally get a chance to win the Grey Cup on home turf in 2002. The team was led by quarterback Ricky Ray and head coach Tim Higgins. A win would also be significant for the Montreal Alouettes, who hadn’t won a Grey Cup since 1977.

The game was played on Nov. 24 in front of 62, 531 fans. Shania Twain performed the halftime show.

The temperature was 2 C. It was a close battle that included a 17-yard touchdown pass to Ed Hervey with 19 seconds remaining in regulation. But in the end it wasn’t enough, and Montreal won by a score of 25 to 16.

98th Grey Cup: Nov. 28, 2010

Montreal Alouettes players including quarterback Anthony Calvillo (centre) celebrate their win in the CFL Grey Cup game Sunday November 28, 2010 in Edmonton.
Montreal Alouettes players including quarterback Anthony Calvillo (centre) celebrate their win in the CFL Grey Cup game Sunday November 28, 2010 in Edmonton. Adrian Wyld/ Canadian Press
Montreal Alouettes wide receiver Brian Bratton (left) eludes Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive back Tad Kornegay during the first quarter of the CFL Grey Cup game Sunday November 28, 2010 in Edmonton.
Montreal Alouettes wide receiver Brian Bratton (left) eludes Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive back Tad Kornegay during the first quarter of the CFL Grey Cup game Sunday November 28, 2010 in Edmonton. Adrian Wyld/ Canadian Press
Saskatchewan Roughriders fan show their team spirit during the 4th quarter of the 98th Grey Cup CFL football game between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Montreal Alouettes at Commonwealth stadium in Edmonton.
Saskatchewan Roughriders fan show their team spirit during the 4th quarter of the 98th Grey Cup CFL football game between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Montreal Alouettes at Commonwealth stadium in Edmonton. Walter Tychnowicz/ CFL

The Grey Cup game returned to Commonwealth Stadium on Nov. 28, 2010 for a rematch of the 2009 final of Montreal and Saskatchewan.

This time, attendance swelled; 68,317 were in attendance and for the first time in Edmonton the championship game was played on artificial turf. The halftime show was Bachman & Turner.

The Grey Cup featured Montreal and Saskatchewan, and the Alouettes once again beat Saskatchewan by a score of 21 to 18 to hoist the Grey Cup. The temperature hovered around -7.

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READ MORE: Calgary to host Grey Cup in 2019

WATCH BELOW:The big game is still a few days away but Grey Cup celebrations were well underway Thursday. While the Calgary Stampeders are in enemy territory, they’re keeping tradition alive. Lisa MacGregor reports.

The big game is still a few days away but Grey Cup celebrations were well underway Thursday
The big game is still a few days away but Grey Cup celebrations were well underway Thursday

Alberta will be home to back-to-back championship games. Calgary is scheduled to host the 107th Grey Cup on Nov. 24, 2019. Like Edmonton, it will also be the city’s fifth time hosting. The last time the final and the festival were in Calgary was in 2009.

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