The Spruce Meadows Story

Spruce Meadows is wholly owned and operated by the Southern Family. The dream of the Southern Family from the start was to create a unique environment of "good friendship, good commerce, and good sport". This dream has been shared from its genesis by a committed group of corporations, volunteers, media, athletes, staff, fans, and officials. Together these stakeholders have shaped the dream and built a most memorable place.\

Spruce Meadows Mission Statement Spruce Meadows is committed to being the leading venue in the world for international horse sports with a focus on the organization and hosting of show jumping tournaments of unmatched quality for junior, amateur, and professional athletes in a manner that reflects basic family values in a clean, green and welcoming environment that celebrates the horse and encourages the breeding and training of quality sport horses and the teaching and development of athletes.



"They were in abundance in the mid-seventies - lining up to dance on the grave of this daring new sport venture. Today, however, they're part of the universal chorus that sends its crescendo of praise crashing into every corner of the global show jumping community. No one has ever been able to explain conclusively just why this sport has captivated the heart and imagination of a city whose sophisticated population is approaching one million. No one counted on the magic of Spruce Meadows."

Excerpt from "The Spruce Meadows Story" written by Ken Hull

Our History

1971 Purchased Property

Southern Family purchases original property south of Calgary – a former feedlot.

"They found one site not far from where Spruce Meadows is now. It was an old farm of only 80 acres nestled into the contours of the Rocky Mountain foothills. A natural rise in the middle of this property dominated its topography." - excerpt from The Spruce Meadows Story by Ken Hull


Margaret and Ron Southern - Spruce Meadows Founders


Copithorne Ranch - now the location of Spruce Meadows


Copithorne Ranch - now the location of Spruce Meadows



1973 Riding Hall Construction

Groundbreaking and construction commences on the Riding Hall and East and West Meadows


Pictured here are Marg and Ron Southern, S.D. and Ina Southern and Chris and John Wood inspect ongoing construction of the Riding Hall and East and West Meadows 



1975 Official Opening & Founders

Official Opening


April 13th, 1975 was the Official Opening Ceremonies of Spruce Meadows.

“When asked, Nancy Southern believed the absolute picture of Spruce Meadows was always vivid in her father’s mind right from the start. Ron quickly surveyed the land and told his daughter they could build a jumping ring at the bottom of the hill, the banks of which would then provide natural seating for the fans. “He knew all along”. - excerpt from The Spruce Meadows Story by Ken Hull


Margaret and Ron Southern - Spruce Meadows Riding Hall on the property's inaugural Opening Day



Name of Spruce Meadows

Margaret Southern speaks about "Why the name Spruce Meadows?"



The Founders of Spruce Meadows

Spruce Meadows is the dream of the Southern Family, but the dream couldn't come to fruition without the help and hard work of many others. The following are some of the people, athletes and horses who were with us from the very beginning. 

 The Southern Family - (l to r) Margaret Southern, Nancy Southern, Ron Southern, Linda Southern-Heathcott


(l to r) Albert Kley, Riding Master; Ron Southern; S.D. Southern; Heinz Loewe, Breeding Master


The “Pegasus Club” - Spruce Meadows' Volunteer's Club - was also officially born this year and consisted of a gathering of friends and supporters of the Southern Family at that time. Many of these same people are still assisting with Tournaments at Spruce Meadows to this day


The Spruce Meadows Founding Stallions - Young Wolfsburg (Wodka) and Anforan



Pamela Carruthers


Pamela Carruthers - born in Edenborough, Scotland - was the founding course designer for Spruce Meadows and designed the International, All Canada and North American Rings on the property.

Ron Southern met Pamela through Hickstead's Douglas Bunn on a European tour to the famed showgrounds in the 1970s. Looking for an international inspiration for his facility, he asked if she’d be on the ground floor of creating Spruce Meadows - which, in those days, would have been very unusual for a women. Not only did she act as resident course designer for decades and set the foundation for the Spruce Meadows Derby, she also designed three rings and incorporated the natural terrain.

“What she wanted out of the All Canada Ring was to use the natural slope and the undulations of the ring itself,” said Linda Southern-Heathcott. “She felt that that would teach the riders to ride better because they would have to learn with the differences in the gallop stride if you were going slightly down an inclination or up an inclination. And that would be where the national competitions were, and then she designed the International ring, which is our historic International Ring, [and the North American Ring].”

Southern-Heathcott believed Pamela was instrumental in advancing Canadian athletes. “She provided these wonderful jumping rings, and she never built courses that were going to defeat the horses,” she said. “She built courses to encourage horses and horsemanship, and that was a really big part of Pamela. She not only brought that to the courses themselves; she brought that to our team at Spruce Meadows; she brought that to my parents. Whatever we do we had to build building blocks so that we could continue to excel and to continue to improve and continue to raise the bar to excel.”

- excerpts from "The Force that altered North American Show Jumping"  
  The Chronicle of the Horse, 2021 written by Laura Lemon



1976 A Year of Firsts


June 3, 1976

The first two tournaments were hosted at Spruce Meadows. The 'National' Tournament (called International) and the 'Masters' Tournament (one of 100 FEI sanctioned events).

The first rider to complete the Victory Ride at Spruce Meadows was Jean-Guy Mathers from Quebec. Here is an excerpt from Ken Hull's The Spruce Meadows Story ...

“A shy, young French Canadian who had just recorded the first-ever clear round in the Spruce Meadows International Ring … he directed the snaking line of ribbon winners in a “Victory Ride” before the handful of applauding officials. That rider was Jean-Guy Mathers who had left his St. Adele, Quebec home only days before for an adventure into the unknown. No one at the time would have been brazen enough to suggest that over the next number of decades, Jean-Guy’s “Victory Ride’ would be cloned many times by the greatest riders in the sport”



Nancy Southern at the first School Tours Education Program - this program continues today and is championed by the Spruce Meadows Leg Up Foundation


Spruce Meadows hosted the first Canadian Team Trial for Montreal Summer Olympic Games - seen here are Frank Selinger, Bo Mearns, John Simpson and Terrace Millar


Michel Vaillancourt (CAN) and Branch County - champions of the first Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows - officially call the Fleischmann’s Grand Prix



1977 Construction & the first 'Masters' Tournament

Construction Commences

The construction of the North Meadows Permanent Barns (A, B, C, D) is completed, bringing the stabling capacity to 250 horses


Construction is completed on the Meadowview Building


The first 'Masters' Tournament


Spruce Meadows sees their first International contingency of riders arrive at it's gates

"Veteran British Chef Ronnie Massarella remembered being approached by Marg Southern at Aachen, Germany in 1977. Great Britain had already agreed to send a team to Spruce Meadows that fall and even though he wasn't slated to coach, Marg still invited him along. Once the teams came over and returned to tell everyone what it was like, everyone was keen to get there." - excerpt from The Spruce Meadows Story by Ken Hull


In 1977, the FEI awards Spruce Meadows North America’s only outdoor C.S.I.O. - and the ‘Masters’ features the first-ever BMO Nations’ Cup.


West Germany becomes the first nation to win the BMO Nation’s Cup.  On the team were: Achaz Von Buchwaldt, Norbert Koof, Ulrich Meyer zu Bexten, Hendrix Schulze-Siehoff and Chef d’equipe Fritz Ligges




1979 History Made & Record Attendance

Eddie Macken & Carroll's Boomerang win the Rothmans Grand Prix in 1979 at the Spruce Meadows 'Masters' Tournament.  The incredible combination from Ireland stunned the crowd as they won all four events in four days - cementing their legacy in Spruce Meadows' history.


"In September of 1979, Ireland's Eddie Macken and an aging Carroll's Boomerang made a mockery of all statistics stating only an exceptional horse can finish in a medal position even 30% of the time. Among a world-class competition that included Great Britain's Malcolm Pyrah and Caroline Bradley, 1982 World Champion Norbert Hoof of Germany, Canada's John Simpson and New Zealand's Graeme Thomas, Eddie Macken and Boomerang put on a riding exhibition that will never be equaled. " - excerpt from The Spruce Meadows Story by Ken Hull




For the first time, the annual attendance at Spruce Meadows reaches 50,000 people



 

1980 Rocky Mountain Hunter Ring

Upgrades are made to the Rocky Mountain Hunter Ring (now Meadows on the Green Ring). The Canadian Pacific Club Car was acquired by Spruce Meadows and positioned on the Rocky Mountain Ring. It has since been relocated to the All Alberta Ring.



1981 Inaugural du Maurier International

The inaugural $85,000 du Maurier International – at that time, the world’s richest Grand Prix. 


"To be a part of Spruce Meadows, Wilmat Tennyson explained, "makes one feel good about yourself. That's the best way I can explain it." - excerpt from The Spruce Meadows Story by Ken Hull


The debut of the du Maurier International in 1981 was a great moment for British rider David Broome.  He and Queensway Philco claimed victory after a three horse jump-off, which included British teammate Pam Dunning. Dunning had the time, but suffered heartbreak on the final fence.

Helen and Wilmot Tennyson of du Maurier Limited with 1981 du Maurier International Champions David Broome (GBR) and Queensway Philco


Winning round by David Broome (GBR) and Queensway Philco 


Bo Mearns retired her best friend in a moving ceremony held at center ring during the 1981 'National'.


"Without Spruce Meadows it is unlikely that Bo and The Flying Nun would have ever crossed the mountains in search of competition. Spruce Meadows brought fame to that pairing, but both gave all of it back in goodwill and honest effort. It is just unfortunate that Spruce Meadows didn't come a decade earlier for Bo and The Flying Nun. No one will ever know just how exceptional they really were." - excerpt from The Spruce Meadows Story by Ken Hull


1982 Introduction of New Tournaments

Spruce Meadows expands its tournament list to four: 'National', Jumping Calgary (later called 'Canada One'), Junior (later called 'North American') and the 'Masters'.




1983 Spruce Meadows introduces Equi-Fair

Inaugural Spruce Meadows Equi-Fair (originally called Equitana - North America).


In 1983 legendary Canadian sports broadcaster Johnny Esaw put together a documentary on the Spruce Meadows 'Masters'. Esaw recognized what a special place Spruce Meadows was going to be and wanted the world to know.


Top international athletes weren't the only celebrities visiting Spruce Meadows. In 1983 American actor Kirk Douglas stopped by while in town filming “Draw!”.



1984 Big Ben

The first year Big Ben, piloted by Canada's Ian Millar, competed at Spruce Meadows



Inaugural Breeds for the World exhibition which featured booths highlighting the merits of different breeds of horses


Spruce Meadows Riding Master Albert Kley wins the 1984 Texaco Derby


1985 10th Anniversary Celebrated

Actor Cary Grant pays a visit to Spruce Meadows


The North American Ring is unveiled in the West Complex of Spruce Meadows


The Spruce Meadows Prairie Dogs are introduced for the first time


The Inaugural Evening of the Horse at the 'Masters'


Spruce Meadows introduces North America's first professional show jumping team - Team Spruce Meadows (TSM)


1986 Crowning of a World Champion

Gail Greenough, a former junior rider at Spruce Meadows, becomes the youngest and first rider ever to defy all odds finishing with zero faults to win the gold medal at the 1986 World Show Jumping Championships. She was the only woman and the only North American to capture the world title.


The inaugural Festival of Nations at the ‘Masters’


Great Britain’s John Whitaker and the great Milton win the du Maurier International



1987 $1 million in annual prize money awarded

The great American Beezie Madden (nee Patton) visits Spruce Meadows for the first time.


Canada's Ian Millar & Big Ben defeat Germany's Ludger Beerbaum & Wiener Domspatz in a jump off to win the 1987 du Maurier International for the first time.



1988 Our first Royal Visit

Royal visit of Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. 


Spruce Meadows hosts ABC Sports for the 1988 Winter Olympics.



1989 Construction continues

West Grandstand and Skyboxes are built


1990 A Royal Occasion

A Royal Visit | June 29, 1990

"The inaugural presentation of the Queen Elizabeth II Cup on June 29, 1990 represented an astounding coup for Spruce Meadows since Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II presided over all ceremonies. A Royal Visit to Canada is a lofty event during which even a minute of the Queen's time is as precious as any crown jewel. For her to agree to attend a presentation that had neither political nor nationally induced overtones, was virtually unheard of." - excerpt from The Spruce Meadows Story by Ken Hull


Royal visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Cup


Family of the Horse bronzes were commissioned - one was dedicated to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Spruce Meadows and the other was gifted to the City of Calgary and is located in front of Calgary City Hall.


The Inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Cup



1991 First Changing Fortunes Round Table

Inaugural Changing Fortunes Round Table was introduced. Topic: Canada - The Netherlands. Keynote speakers were: Pierre Everaert, President Royal Ahold N.V. and The Honourable Peter Lougheed, former Premier, Province of Alberta.


1992 Gallery on the Green Congress Hall

Official opening of the Gallery on the Green Congress Hall and Meadows on the Green Ring. The photo below is of all the staff and volunteers in attendance at the Grand Opening. 



1993 Nick Skelton (GBR) & Everest Dollar Girl

Great Britain’s Nick Skelton joins Ian Millar (CAN) and John Whitaker (GBR) as 2-time winners of the du Maurier International.



1994 Big Ben's Retirement Tour at Spruce Meadows

Ian Millar's famous mount Big Ben on his retirement tour at Spruce Meadows:

"With more than forty Grand Prix victories and two World Cup Finals, Big Ben rose to be ranked among the three best horses in the world. It was at Spruce Meadows, however, that this horse with the winning character stood far taller than his massive 17.3 hands frame." - excerpt from The Spruce Meadows Story by Ken Hull



Unveiling of the Spruce Meadows Production and Edit Suite - the first Sony Digital post production facility in Canada.


Bicycle Jump added to Spruce Meadows Championship Collection from the World Equestrian Games in The Hague, The Netherlands



1995 20th Anniversary Celebrated

Construction is completed on the Equi-Plex.



1996 Olympic Dreams come True

Spruce Meadows President & CEO, Linda Heathcott, named to the Canadian Team and competes at the Atlanta Summer Olympic Games.


Peter Charles (IRL) and La Ina are the only combination to go double clear in the 1996 du Maurier International



1997 Nations' Cup Series Final

Spruce Meadows named as host venue for the inaugural Nations’ Cup Series Final



1998 British House is completed

British House completed adding six skyboxes and two additional banquet venues to Spruce Meadows. Officially opened by the British High Commissioner, Sir Anthony and Lady Veronica Goodenough, on September 13,1998, the facility is a tribute to the cooperation, commitment and historical ties between Britain and Spruce Meadows.




1999 Introduction of Name the Foal

Spruce Meadows introduces Name the Foal


Completion of the West Complex comprised of the North American, All Alberta, and Rocky Mountain Rings. All Alberta Ring refurbished



2000 First Million Dollar Grand Prix

First Million dollar Grand Prix in the world held at the “Masters” tournament and won by Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) and Gandini Lianos


Completion of the covered International Ring Warm-up Facility and Re/Max Family Centre


Two athletes, Canada’s Ian Millar and Great Britain’s Michael Whitaker, surpass the $1 million mark in lifetime earnings at Spruce Meadows

2001 Beatification Project Commences

Some of the improvements include:

  • Jumps added to Spruce Meadows collection from the Sydney Summer Olympic Games
  • Meadows on the Green Sand Ring refurbishment
  • Time Faults Pub is completed


Inaugural International Christmas Market at Spruce Meadows. The event was held over one weekend only and was held in the Equi-Plex only.


2002 Voted #1 Outdoor Show Jumping Venue in the World

Spruce Meadows is voted Best Event - Show Jumping Outdoor for the first time



The Train Station located on the All Alberta Ring is completed.


Totem Poles were carved and installed at Spruce Meadows



Spruce Meadows is presented a rare 35 million year old Mesohippus for Spruce Meadows Collection




2003 Host of the FEI Children's International Jumping Final

Spruce Meadows hosts the FEI Children’s International Jumping Final for the first time 


Construction and improvements continue at Spruce Meadows with the addition of the Meadowgreen Building and permanent restrooms adjacent to the Meadows on the Green Ring



2004 Spruce Meadows defends it's title

Spruce Meadows defends it's title and is voted #1 Outdoor Show Jumping Venue

2005 30th Anniversary & New Clock Tower on the Scene

Spruce Meadows Celebrates our 30th Anniversary


The new Clock Tower is constructed on the International Ring; Southwest Grandstand is constructed and Husky Centennial Flag Park is completed



Record rain fall and flooding at Spruce Meadows and the City of Calgary

In June 2005, Calgary experienced the largest amount of rainfall in its history. A record 248 millimetres of rain – three times June's monthly average – fell on the city in three large rainstorms: June 6-8, June 18-19 and June 26-28, generating record high water levels.
https://floodstory.com/


2006 New President named at Spruce Meadows

Linda Southern-Heathcott is named the new President and C.E.O. of Spruce Meadows


3-metre high Rolex Clock installed into the Clock Tower



Ron and Marg Southern are inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame together with Olympic figure skater Elvis Stojko, wheelchair marathoner Rick Hansen, squash star Jonathon Power, late golf legend Moe Norman, National rowing coach Al Morrow, and synchronized swimming coach Julie Sauva.


Team Canada wins its first Spruce Meadows BMO Nations’ Cup


The Spruce Meadows Horizons Pavilion is unveiled


International Christmas Market at Spruce Meadows – increased to two weekends

Spruce Meadows hosts the FEI Children’s World Jumping Final once again

Spruce Meadows Television introduces HD Edit Suite 

2007 Spruce Meadows named a Superbrand

Spruce Meadows named a Canadian Superbrand

The worlds of commerce, sport and media have each changed dramatically since the 1970s. At the time the first Spruce Meadows tournaments were being conceived and organized, the FEI (Federation Equestre Internationale–the world's governing body for equestrian sports) was sanctioning 130 official international jumping events annually. These events were primarily organized in Europe, which represented nearly half of its member nations. Today, the FEI sanctions 730 international jumping events annually throughout its 130-member-nation domain.

Canadian Superbrand Volume 2


30 addition acres purchased surrounding Spruce Meadows to bring total property size to 360 acres in total:

  • 200 acres: pasture
  • 160 acres: tournament grounds


Nick Skelton wins the ATCO Electric Circuit (Six Bars) three consecutive years with his horse Russel


The historic Clock Tower is refurbished and relocated to the Rocky Mountain Ring

A new pond is added at the front entrance to Spruce Meadows

2008 Jump Collection Expands

Jumps added to Spruce Meadows Championship Collection from the Bejing Summer Olympic Games


Ashlee Bond and Cadett 77 take their first win in the International Ring at the Spruce Meadows "North American" Tournament.


On-Deck circle by the International Hitching Ring is completed


2009 Introduction of Eyes on the Wetlands Education Program

Spruce Meadows introduces Eyes on the Wetlands Education Program–a revitalization of the School Tours Program to include education on the environment and the history of the horse. 


Mario Deslauriers, rides to victory in the ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup at the Spruce Meadows 'North American' Tournament. The title was taken from Eric Lamaze, the 2007 and 2008 winner of this event.

 

2010 Numerous improvements to Spruce Meadows are begun or completed

Spruce Meadows is awarded Top Venue by the North American Riders Group (NARG)


Numerous Construction projects were either started or completed in 2010.

Began rejuvenation of International Plaza in the spring and complete for the Masters

Paving of Lot #8


Construction of North Meadows Tournament Office completed


Completed construction of Lunging Rings, Chinook Sand Ring and FEI Vet Clinic


New videoboard is installed in the International Ring Clock Tower


Acquired jumps from the Word Equestrian Games in Kentucky


Pablo Barrios jumps clear to win the 2010 Nexen Cup Derby at the Spruce Meadows 'National' Tournament.  The win was Barrios' first ever win at Spruce Meadows.

 

Germany's Celle Stallions were the guest performers at the 'Masters'

2011 Eric Lamaze and the World are shocked to hear about the loss of Hickstead

Awarded Top Venue by the North American Riders Group (N.A.R.G.)


Completion of renovations to the All Canada Ring, Paddock Park and the International Plaza



Completed construction of Chinook Jumping Ring


Acquired jumps from the Pan Am Games in Brazil


RCMP Musical Ride guest performers at the “Masters”


Eric Lamaze’s horse Hickstead dies in Verona, Italy 


Interview with Eric Lamaze on CBC about the loss of Hickstead and his hopes for the upcoming Olympics


Temporary memorial set up at Spruce Meadows for fans to write sympathy messages for Eric


Inaugural Christmas Lights at Spruce Meadows. Sponsors: ATCO Group, Bennett Jones, Scotiabank




2012 Celebration of the Diamond Jubilee

Spruce Meadows commemorates Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee – Queen of Canada

The year 2012 marked the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II being the 60th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II on 6 February 1952. The only diamond jubilee celebration for any of Elizabeth's predecessors was in 1897, for the 60th anniversary of the accession of Queen Victoria.



Awarded Top Venue by the North American Riders Group (NARG)


On the cusp of the London Olympics, Daniel Bluman and his horse Sancha LS La Silla, capped off their pre-Olympic competition by taking first in the Akita Drilling Cup at the Spruce Meadows 'North American' Tournament. 


Celle Stallions guest performers at the “Masters”


Jumps acquired from the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games 


New statue dedicated to Hickstead is presented to Eric Lamaze at the ‘Masters’. Hickstead’s ashes are given to Spruce Meadows for final resting place.


2013 It's Time–Rolex Grand Slam announced

April 26, 2013 - Spruce Meadows announces that it will join with two other iconic venues in the sport and create the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. Using the occasion of the FEI Rolex World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden, representatives from the 3 world-leading venues joined with Rolex to announce and unveil the exciting new concept for international show jumping.






Awarded Top Venue by the North American Riders Group (NARG)


July - The flood of June 2013 was the largest flood in Calgary since 1932. The costliest natural disaster in Canadian history, the flood of 2013 damaged or destroyed many homes and businesses as well as vital portions of the city’s infrastructure. In the absence of electricity, social media became a powerful tool to disperse information and bring Calgarians together. Spruce Meadows was spared the severe damage sustained by flooding in various other areas throughout Southern Alberta.


September - CP is announced as new 2014 title sponsor of the International Grand Prix with a $1.5 million dollar purse


Work on South Pavilion begins and is completed by the ‘Masters’. Officially opened as ‘Canada House'


Germany’s State Stud guest performers at the “Masters”


Christmas Market added an additional weekend for a total of 3 weekends.


2014 Canadian Sweep at the 'Masters'

Awarded Top Venue by the North American Riders Group (NARG)



Construction started on ‘Founders Plaza’


Horses Jump to give a Leg Up program launched with 20 fiberglass horses designed by various Alberta-based charities


‘National’ tournament is officially presented by Rolex


Spruce Meadows welcomes the First Responders from Calgary and area for the first time and presented a Water Rescue Unit to the Foothills Fire Department with the help of ATB Financial, ATCO Gas, AKITA Drilling, ATCO Pipelines, Chrysler Canada, Red Arrow, ATCO Structures, and Southland Transportation


Snow-tember event before the beginning of the ‘Masters’. An estimated 500,000 trees across the city were damaged or destroyed as branches and tree trunks snapped under the weight of the heavy, wet snow. The falling branches brought down power lines, cutting electricity to 74,000 homes and businesses.  This snow event happened the day before the launch of the 'Masters' and through herculean efforts of the Spruce Meadows Staff, visiting grooms and riders, the Lord Strathcona's Horse, and many more the 2014 'Masters' began the next day on schedule.   


Sweeping renovations are made to the Spruce Meadows Shop in the Riding Hall. Grand opening occurs at the beginning of the ‘Masters’ tournament


RCMP Musical Ride guest performers at the 'Masters'


Canada sweeps weekend at the 'Masters' BMO Nations’ Cup and CP International Grand Prix (Ian Miller)


Jumps added to Championship inventory from the WEG Normandy


CP International, presented by Rolex, aired on NBC for first time to more than 85 million homes



2015 40 Anniversary Celebrations & Grand Slam Win

Spruce Meadows Celebrates it's 40th Anniversary Year


April 1: 40th Anniversary Commemorative Poster unveiled at the Anniversary Launch Party held in the Equi-Plex and Riding Hall



Awarded Top Venue by the North American Riders Group (NARG)


‘Pan American’ tournament is officially presented by Rolex


Launch of the Spruce Meadows Leg Up Foundation and the second return of the Horses Jump to give a Leg Up program back for another year with 20 fiberglass horses designed by various Alberta-based charities


June 2 – Founders Plaza Dedication: Founders' statue unveiled at the ‘National’ Tournament


Introduction of Spruce Meadows Run Series


Construction completed on ‘Founders Plaza for the ‘Masters’


Scott Brash and Hello Sanctos make history by being the first to win the Rolex Grand Prix of Show Jumping at Spruce Meadows. By winning the $1.5 Million CP International, presented by Rolex at Spruce Meadows, the rider took home the competition’s winning prize of $500,000 Canadian Dollars (the equivalent of about €350,000). He was then awarded an additional bonus of €1 million for winning all three events in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.



Hanoverian State Stud Horses guest performers at the “Masters”


2016 Spruce Meadows experiences tremendous loss

January 6, 2016 – passing of Spruce Meadows Riding Master Albert Kley (1943-2016). Celebration of Life held in Congress Hall on January 15.

KLEY, Albert
January 8, 1943 – Nassenheide, Germany
January 6, 2016 – Calgary, Alberta 

It is with heavy hearts that we are left to face the sudden passing of Albert Kley. With family by his side, Albert passed away on the evening of January 6, 2016 at the age of 72. A remarkable husband, father, grandfather, mentor, friend and horseman, Albert will be sorely missed. Albert was born in Nassenheide, Germany and grew up in the farming community of Holtrup. From an early age, Albert's passion for the horse was evident - exchanging chores with a local farmer every day after school for the opportunity to ride. Albert's mother worked tirelessly to enable Albert to attend the Landreitschule Hoya (State Riding School in Hoya). There, Albert acquired the fundamental skills of horsemanship that brought him many successes in his show jumping career and that he, in turn, would pass on to generations of students. Albert's life and career in Canada began in 1971 when he was selected to come to Calgary to introduce the Hanoverian horse to the small, but enthusiastic, show jumping community at St. George's Stables and subsequently, to assist the Southern family in the planning and creation of Spruce Meadows. Speaking no English, only the language of horsemanship, Albert began a grand adventure that would take him across Canada and around the world. This journey included sharing his love of the horse with royal audiences, heads of state, school children, cowboys, corporate audiences, and anyone who came through the stable. His one-year contract, never officially extended, lasted more than 40 years. Albert had a profound impact on all those he met. His influence on the sport of show jumping, and the community at large, was monumental. Albert was instrumental in the creation and building of Spruce Meadows and a major contributor to its international legacy. Albert was the consummate horseman. As a rider, Albert's resume included more than 50 Grand Prix titles around the world. His achievements were recognized by the German Equestrian Federation with its highest honor, the Goldenes Reitabzeichen (Gold Badge of Achievement in Show jumping). As a coach and trainer, Albert developed generations of horses and riders that represented Canada proudly and successfully at the Olympic Games, major championships and, of course, at Spruce Meadows itself. Albert's teachings will continue through the thousands of lives he touched and knew during his courageous life and accomplished career. Albert was a man of simple pleasures. His friends, his farm, good food, a cold beer, his horses and his family all brought about a twinkle in his eye and his infectious signature smile. Albert's greatest pleasure came from his family. His sweetheart and loving wife of 41 years Judy, son Stevie, and his cherished grandchildren Ella and James were the light of his life. Albert is survived by his wife Judy; son Steven; daughter-in-law Ashley; grandchildren Ella and James; sister Annette; and extended family members in both Western Canada and Germany. 


January 21, 2016 – passing of Spruce Meadows Founder Ronald D. Southern (1930-2016). Funeral Service held in Riding Hall on January 28.


SOUTHERN, Ronald Donald
C.C., C.B.E., A.O.E., B.Sc., LL.D July 25, 1930 – January 21, 2016

It is with sadness we announce the passing of Ron Southern on January 21 in Calgary. He lived an extraordinary life building and accomplishing what very few can dream of. He is survived by his loving wife Margaret (nee Visser) and his two daughters whom he adored; Nancy (Jonathan Asselin) and Linda (Tom Heathcott) and grandchildren Kelly Koss-Brix (Brian), Kyle Koss, Ben Asselin, Patrick Heathcott, Ronald Heathcott and Charlie Heathcott. Ron is also survived by a number of nieces, nephews and cousins. Born Ronald Donald Southern on July 25, 1930 in Calgary, Alberta, Ron was predeceased by his parents Ina and Donald Southern. Ron lived in Calgary but traveled the world extensively his entire adult life. He was a proud Canadian and loved his Alberta roots. As a young man he was a gifted athlete who loved sports and played hockey, football and basketball. Ron left Calgary after graduating from Crescent Heights High School to attend the University of Alberta. He completed his Bachelor of Science from the Faculty of Medicine in 1953.While still in high school, he founded Alberta Trailer Co. in 1947 with his father Samuel Donald. Starting with five people the enterprise today - ATCO Group - has grown to more than 8,000 employees worldwide. Ron was a self-made businessman who became a respected giant of Canadian commerce. His success included gas and electrical utility companies, midstream, drilling, pipelines, logistics, manufacturing, workforce housing sales, leasing, maintenance and operations. ATCO Ltd. and Canadian Utilities Limited, which ATCO acquired and repatriated in 1980, have done business in more than 100 countries around the world primarily through its Structures and Logistics businesses that provide workforce housing and other infrastructure solutions. The firms' utilities businesses operate in Canada, Australia the United Kingdom, and Mexico. Ron and his wife Margaret of sixty-one years were the vision and driving force behind the creation, construction and operations of Spruce Meadows, which is widely recognized as the leading show jumping facility in the world. Since opening in 1975, Spruce Meadows has hosted athletes from more than 60 nations and attracted 10.2 million fans. In addition to acting as Chairman of the Board of ATCO, Canadian Utilities and AKITA Drilling Ltd. for decades, Ron actively enjoyed his time on the Boards of Directors of a number of Canada's most prestigious companies including: Canadian Pacific Limited, Chrysler Canada, Imasco, Lafarge Canada, Royal and Sun Alliance (RSA), Trimac, Pacific Western Airlines, Canadian Pacific Airlines, Canadian Airlines, Xerox Canada, Mercantile Bank, Canadian Export Development Corporation, Southam Inc., Crown Zellerback, and Fletcher Challenge. Numerous awards were bestowed upon Ron for his remarkable efforts, achievements and contributions including: Companion of the Order of Canada 2007, Alberta Order of Excellence 2012, The Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal 2002, The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal 2012 and The Canadian Forces Medallion for Distinguished Service 2013. A lifelong sportsman, Ron was recognized as the Calgary Booster Club Sportsman of the Year in 1986. He was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 1992, and the Canada Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.In 2013 he was named honorary chief of the Tsuu T'ina Nation and given the name Chief Sorrel Horse. Ron was also recognized as an Internationalist. In 1990 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II bestowed on him a member of the Order of the British Empire for his services to Anglo–Canadian relations and in 1995 he was promoted to the level of Commander of the Order of the British Empire. The Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands inducted him into the Order of Orange-Nassau in 2006 and honoured him with the Holland Trade Award in 1985 in recognition of his substantial contributions to the Dutch Foreign economic relations. Ron received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Alberta in 1991 and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Calgary in 1976.In 2007 he was inducted into the Canadian Manufacturing Hall of Fame. In 1996 Ron was recognized by the Financial Post as the CEO of the Year in Canada. In 1990 the University of Manitoba recognized him as the International Distinguished Entrepreneur and in 1986 the University of Alberta recognized Ron as the Businessman of the Year. Ron traveled the world and met most of the business leaders in those countries as well as many of the political leaders of the 20th century. He took a great interest in the people and the cultures where he visited and his vast memory could recall the most extraordinary details. He cherished his many years on the Trilateral Commission. He valued education, reading newspapers, and loved books. Most weeks he would devour at least two or three on a variety of subjects from military biographies and autobiographies to mysteries, outer space, national and international leaders, but his greatest reading enjoyment and inspiration came from books by and about Winston Churchill. He collected these and never tired of Winston Churchill quotations, speeches and proclamations. Ron was a proud Royalist and was delighted when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II came to Spruce Meadows in 1990 to inaugurate the Queen Elizabeth II Cup. This spawned a relationship that took Ron to Buckingham Palace on numerous occasions as a guest. At various times it allowed for the opportunity to introduce his daughters and grandchildren to Her Majesty. Ron lived a life full of adventure. He was loved, respected and admired by many and will be in our hearts forever. 


‘North American’ tournament is officially presented by Rolex



Construction completed on International Ring Terrace for the ‘Masters’


Jumps added to Championship inventory from the Summer Olympics in Rio


CP International prize money jumps from a posted $2 million total prize money to $3 million just prior to the event. The winner, Scott Brash (GBR), took home a check of $1 million.


2017 Celebrating Canada's 150th Anniversary

December 16, 2017 – CP executive Hunter Harrison passes away. He was inducted into the Spruce Meadows Hall of Fame in 2008 for his contributions to Spruce Meadows.


Canada’s 150th Anniversary 

In celebration of Canada's 150th birthday, Spruce Meadows set out to introduce a number of new initiatives for the year.


Lunch & Learn–with Leslie Howard


Corn Maze


Concert at the Meadows


Movies at the Meadows–Spruce Meadows hosts outdoor movie nights during the summer for the whole family. 


150 Seconds with some of the best in our Sport 






2018 New Farrier Shop is finally realized & Introduction of Canadian Professional Soccer to Calgary

May 17, 2018

Spruce Meadows announced it's newest Canadian Professional Soccer Team to the Canadian Premiere League. Cavalry FC will call ATCO Field at Spruce Meadows home base and draws it's name and logo from a combination of the long history of the horse at Spruce Meadows and Calgary's soccer history with the "Callies" or Caledonians. The club is wholly owned by Spruce Meadows Sports & Entertainment.


"With professional soccer returning to the Alberta foothills, the Club’s identity needs to reflect Calgary’s collective spirit and willingness to confront any obstacle, and any challenge.


The club’s home venue has been selected, a venue known for champions; having produced Olympians, World Cup and Pan American Gold Medalists, all of whom have proudly worn the Maple Leaf. The venue is deeply rooted in family values and great sporting tradition. It’s iconic grass stadiums are associated with the world’s best horsepower and a famous military regiment. That venue is Spruce Meadows.


Calgary is a city made up of extraordinary people, with an extraordinary history… it is now time for us to shape the future of soccer.


Calgary, this team is for you.
Time to marshal the troops and mount a charge.
Cavalry FC has arrived at Spruce Meadows. Ride with us.." 

- excerpt from Cavalry FC website



September 4, 2018

The longtime dream of a Farrier Shop at Spruce Meadows was finally realized. The Marg Southern Farrier Shop officially opens at Spruce Meadows.


2019 First Home Soccer Match & Finals Contenders

January 30, 2019 

Construction begins on the new grandstand on, newly named, ATCO Field at Spruce Meadows

 


April 12, 2019 

Cavalry FC plays their first home match on ATCO Field at Spruce Meadows



First Goal scored by Jordan Antonio Brown


November 2019

Cavalry FC plays in the Finals of the Canadian Premier Leagues Inaugural Year

2020 Spruce Meadows Celebrates our 45th Anniversary

Plans were underway for numerous celebrations for the 45th Anniversary Year of Spruce Meadows, but plans were thwarted because of COVID-19. For the first time in our history, Spruce Meadows tournaments were cancelled for the year.


However, Spruce Meadows took the time to undertake some projects while the property was closed to make improvements.


Water and Sewer lines connected to the City of Calgary lines

Spruce Meadows was completely under construction from the spring of 2020 to the winter of 2021. Roadways were removed, trenches were unearthed and fire hydrants installed on the property for the first time in our history. 



West Skyboxes renovated

The West Skybox décor and fixtures were renovated from top to bottom. 



2021 Spruce Meadows receives a National Interest Exemption to hold the September Series of Tournaments

Construction and Improvements continue in 2021


ATCO Field at Spruce Meadows is completely cleared, laser leveled, drainage amended and re-sodded  



Five new state-of-the-art stadium lights are installed on ATCO Field at Spruce Meadows



Work on the new Main Entrance to Spruce Meadows and the traffic circle on Spruce Meadows Way begins


National Interest Exemption Granted

The 2021 'National', 'Masters', and 'North American' tournaments were approved at the Provincial and Federal government levels as a protected (bubbled) event and all three of these tournaments were hosted in the later part of August and the beginning of September.

Our Partners

Understanding the importance of teamwork

From the start, it was vital for Spruce Meadows to create a unique environment of "good friendship, good commerce and good sport". From its genesis, a loyal group of volunteers, media, athletes, staff, fans, officials and a completely committed group of corporations have made this a reality. The Team Spruce Meadows family of sponsors is part of this unique environment 365 days of the year.

Become a partner