(Feb. 20, 2004) -- It's hard to believe, but Air Canada Centre, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey club and the Toronto Raptors basketball club, is celebrating its fifth anniversary. In just five years, Air Canada Centre has hosted more than 13.5 million fans at 1350 events including NHL hockey, NBA basketball, Canadian lacrosse, high-profile concerts and conventions.
Since opening in February 1999, Air Canada Centre quickly established itself as one of the premier sports and entertainment venues in North America. The building has been recognized with 10 industry awards ranging from Facility of the Year by the Canadian Concert Industry to Tourism Toronto's Jeff Adams Access Award of Excellence for the building's accessibility to people with physical disabilities.
"At Air Canada Centre, we're very proud of reaching this key milestone. It's a milestone we could not have hit without the support of our loyal fans and the city of Toronto," said Bob Hunter, senior vice-president and general manager of Air Canada Centre. "The last five years have been very successful. From the Leafs and Raptors to the Rolling Stones, Air Canada Centre has brought some of the best sports and entertainment events in the world to Toronto. We look forward to the next five years."
Considered one of the city's most architecturally fascinating structures, Air Canada Centre was built on the site of the original Canada Post Delivery Building, which was originally designed in the 1930s. Air Canada Centre still retains the postal building's historic east and south walls and was given a commendation by Heritage Toronto for its heritage display in the Galleria.
In recognition of its fifth anniversary, Air Canada Centre will recognize the 5000th fan entering the building at Friday's Raptors home game against the New Jersey Nets and at Saturday's Leafs home game against the Montreal Canadiens with a special Air Canada Centre gift pack.