A year in the life of the Butterdome

You're familiar with its golden-hued walls, but the Butterdome is so much more than just a building; it facilitates community.



YouAlberta is written by students for students.

Jeremy (he/him) is in his final year of a MA in Communications and Technology (MACT) at the U of A. When he's not writing a paper or reading a book, you can find him on some of Edmonton's river valley trails, or trying to get sendy on his skis.

It's one of the most noticeable and iconic buildings on the U of A North Campus, where students, staff and community members meet, exercise and take part in events. I'm, of course, writing about our beloved golden-hued Butterdome (officially named the Universiade Pavilion, but everyone is forgiven if we never refer to it by that), anchoring the west side of North Campus. In honour of the 40th birthday of this facility (it was constructed in 1983 for the Universiade Games), I reached out to Campus Community Recreation to find out a bit more about all the events that take place there throughout the year. So here's a year in the life of the Butterdome, choc-full of exciting events (maybe you'll even find one to put in your calendar).

September: President's Address

Every year, the President welcomes new and returning students and kicks off the academic year with an address. With a 5,500-seat capacity, the Butterdome is the perfect place to make sure everyone who wants to experience this event in person can join.

Bonus mention: Careers Day/Foire d’emploi

Want to meet local, national and international employers looking to hire students, postdoctoral fellows, and alumni? This is the place for you. Find it this year on Wednesday, Sept. 27, from 12 - 4:30 p.m. in the Butterdome.

October: Open House

For many of us, it might've been our first experience getting to know the U of A North Campus as prospective students. With thousands of attendees checking out dozens of exhibitors and the huge slate of presentations and tours, it's a really exciting day for students and families and an unparalleled chance to explore what the U of A has to offer. The 2023 edition will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 14.


November: Bar None

On a lighter note, it's the U of A's biggest party, hosted by the Agriculture Club (with proceeds donated to STARS Air Ambulance). Now an annual tradition for over 75 years, it's made its home in the Butterdome.

December: Craft Sale

Celebrating small/independent artisans and picking up some unique holiday gifts for your list at the same time? Yes, please! You can explore a handmade marketplace that features the works of over 220 artists, artisans, makers and designers from coast to coast. There is also a Spring Craft Sale in May.

January: Intramural Sports

Can January in Edmonton be dark and cold? Yes. Is participating in sports with friends or making new friends while getting active a good time? Also yes. The mission of intramural sports at the U of A is to improve student life through sport, and luckily, the Butterdome is a fantastic venue to make this happen when it's a little unpleasant to be recreating outdoors.

February: Spring Hiring Fair/Foire d'emploi du printemps

This year (2024), the Spring Hiring Fair will be held at the Butterdome on Tuesday, February 6, from 12 - 4:30 p.m.: mark your calendars! Whether you're looking to start a career post-graduation or you want to explore summer job and internship opportunities, it's the place to meet with employers.

Bonus mention: Running Room Indoor Games

Competition is a core part of Athletics. For hundreds of elementary, junior, and senior high school students from across Alberta, these games offer a fun chance to compete when it's too cold for outdoor events.

March: Athletics Alberta Provincial Championships

Athletics Alberta is the provincial governing body for track and field, cross country and road running, and the Butterdome is a purpose-built athletics facility. Put the two together, and you get an event with hundreds of athletes from across the province and a celebration of athletic achievement.

April: Final Exams

Where else can you have a maybe-I-should-have-studied-more experience with 2,643 other U of A students? Nowhere. Writing a final exam in the Butterdome (which is filled with 2,644 desks, in turn, filled with 2,644 slightly stressed students) is definitely a right of passage.

May through July: Green & Gold Summer Camps

While the U of A is entering a quiet time between academic years, the Butterdome hosts athletics camps for children aged 6-17. These are fun and memorable times filled with sport-specific and general athletic development for attendees.

August: Residence Orientation Kickoff

The academic year is right around the corner, and students are trickling back to campus (some have never left if they took spring or summer term courses). Students moving into (or back into) Residence are invited to attend this event to make new friends, connect with resources and develop their personal and academic support networks.