Northern Raceways a Concert Ground?

Posted: Thursday, August 12, 2010 by •»¶hê ƒRëq»•-)•–––– in

For many years since the closing of  Northern Raceways (originally 5th Line Speedway), the rumour of this great stretch of property being a concert ground has been circulating.  Why you ask?  It's easy to understand.  This area is perfect in size for holding concerts plus it's away from the city to cause any noise problems and most of all, it has 2 access roadways to easily funnel traffic in and out.   There are a few snags however.  There are people that live near this track and the noise of stock cars pretty much angered them to the point that when talk of a concert ground surfaced years ago, they went on record as saying NO to any concert ground being built.  There was also a concern of property damage from concert goers.  Another plus if this was to become a concert area is the fact there is a campground just down the road.  It's a KOA campground and it would surely benefit from people camping there from out of town for certain events.  Of course, if you weren't a concert goer, I'm sure the concert volume would discourage you. :-)

Over the years, I have mountain biked back where this old racetrack use to hold weekly events.  I was also there in the hey day of racing at this track.   I submitted photos a few years ago to a Canadian racing publication dealing with "Ghost Race Tracks" around Canada and mentioned that this Northern Raceway track lay asleep, waiting for something to bring it to life again.   Some of those photos are below.   The grand stand is still standing being that it is a metal framing but the wood planking is rotted.  Tons of trees have grown through the grand stands but the drag strip and racing oval still remain.  Putting a huge stage in the middle of the oval with refurbished grand stands and tons of parking area along with room for food venues can easily be seen if you were to walk the area.   It's a gold mine sitting, waiting for development. 

So why has it not been developed?  It's puzzling since there is a lot of industry up in that area including our local city dump.  There are trucking firms up there and for the most part, a handful of residential homes.  Those I do believe are the key to the problem.   I do know since I was a kid, some of those homes have been bought up for businesses so it looks like one by one, houses are disappearing.  Could this be the wait?  When the houses are gone, then a concert ground be built?  I don't know.   It's prime property so almost anything would benefit.   None the less, every summer since the U.S. Castle Farms concert grounds closed, rumours have flown about this Northern Raceway track becoming a concert ground.    I personally think it would be a great thing.   Imagine giant music festivals here?  Headliners?   There's so much room that you could easily get top name acts. 

There are just no definite facts on these concert ground rumours.  This has gone on for decades really and nothing ever happens.  Each season, the trees grow bigger and the grand stands of this old raceway dissolve a little more.     Maybe, something will happen now that we see big name acts are playing our local Essar Center and the need for more space and parking come into affect.    Only time will tell.

Below are photos of the grand stands, track area and parking areas as they now are after years of being forgotten. The grandstands are huge and the old track is a 1/4 of a mile oval.   In the satellite photo from top to bottom is racetrack property.  There is actually more not shown at the bottom of the photo.  Left to right, the track property is about an inch to 2 inches on either side of the oval.  More so on one side than the other.  This is massive property for a concert ground.   Take a ride out there sometime and see what I'm talking about.  The photos don't really give you the total image of the property size.    Just think of the possibilities.. ;-)