Acadia University football field at sunset

Touchdown Atlantic 2022: How a Small-Town Stadium Hosted a CFL Season Game

Published on : 1/11/23
  • Overview 

     On July 16, 2022, Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia hosted the 2022 edition of Touchdown Atlantic — the first-ever regular-season Canadian Football League (CFL) game in Nova Scotia. 

    Initially scheduled for Halifax, the Toronto Argonauts and the Saskatchewan Rough Riders instead faced off on Acadia’s Raymond Field. The intent was to mirror game setups and operations in major urban centers such as Toronto. This included temporary stands, a tailgate area at President’s Field — including live music, food vendors and activities — Family and Party Zones, VIP sections, and half-time entertainment. The game was also televised and broadcast live by the TSN sports channel. 

    The excitement was palpable: the 10,000-ticket inventory sold-out in 24 hours in April. 

    It took three weeks of detailed work to host the CFL on Acadia University’s campus and turn Raymond Field into a stadium suited for a professional football game — the 1,750-seat venue was transformed with temporary grandstands for an additional 8,250 people. 

    This is where Sodexo comes in. 

    Sodexo Canada and Acadia University have had a facilities management partnership since 1996. Under this contract, Sodexo manages the operations and maintenance of Acadia University’s 54 buildings, as well as its energy and utilities management program. 

    This meant our team at Acadia was responsible for coordinating internal resources to provide support, utility services and operational support before, during, and after the event — from implementing a multitude of electrical services to multiple vendors for the event to responding to last-minute requests for transport and custodial services. 

    This project had a lot of moving parts, with Sodexo being involved in multiple aspects of the operation. Bringing our team into the planning session from day one played a significant role in the success of this event. 

    By the Numbers 

    • 1 University-sized football stadium 
    • 3 weeks of detailed work 
    • 8,250 additional seats 
    • 40 Sodexo team members on-site for gameday 
    • 10,800+ fans attending 


    Acadia University’s Raymond Field is the smallest venue in Canada to host a CFL regularly scheduled game. The biggest challenge was to transform the campus — both the stadium and adjacent President’s Field — to host over 10,800 fans. 

    Although Sodexo’s team at Acadia is accustomed to hosting and managing large events, such as varsity football games and large-scale convocations, Touchdown Atlantic was the largest event we have managed in our 26 years of service. 

    Some requirements for this CFL game included: 

    • Temporary stands to accommodate an additional 8,250 fans 
    • 350 portable toilets 
    • Close to 4 kilometers of temporary fencing 
    • Extensive waste management 
    • Facilities for the TSN crew 
    • Large entertainment tents 
    • Electrical requirements for tailgate festivities, TSN and additional media, Half Time entertainment, and jumbotrons 
    • Emergency muster points 
    • Green Room and VIP facilities 
    • CFL-standard locker rooms 
    • Enhanced cellular and WIFI services 

    Sodexo Campus Custodial Trades and Grounds Operations played a key role in either providing or supporting contractors for all these requirements. 


    This event was complex, with many moving pieces, multiple stakeholders, and many late scope changes with varying requirements. 

    Following the announcement and preliminary meeting in the spring of 2022, planning sessions with CFL operations were then held weekly with all stakeholders, including Acadia’s leadership, the Town of Wolfville, the RCMP, the food service provider, and Sodexo Campus Canada’s operations team. 

    For our team to understand and follow the CFL’s event protocol, taking part in the planning from the get-go was essential. We could evaluate the requests based on the scope of services and assess the logistics to execute them at an early stage. 

    Involved in the execution of the plans were all the hard trades from the facilities management we provide at Acadia: electrical for the entirety of the event, carpentry, and HVAC management for the buildings; as well as custodial services and grounds services. Our scope of work included: 

    • Temporary stands: Sodexo Trades and Grounds provided carpentry services to the subcontractor hired to build the stands. 
    • VIP areas: Sodexo provided custodial services 
    • Tailgate area on President’s Field: Sodexo Trades and Grounds provided transport for sound and stage equipment; ordered and managed all generators for food trucks, vendors, soundstage, and media needs; and provided all electrical solutions throughout the site. 
    • Waste management: Sub-contractor and Sodexo. Custodial, Trades and Grounds did the garbage pick-up for the entire venue the following day. 
    • CFL players and officials dressing rooms: Sodexo provided all custodial services 
    • TSN and media logistical requirements: Sodexo Electrical provided  electrical solutions, and supported Acadia Technology Services and the internet service provider 
    • Volunteer program: Sodexo provided custodial services, keeping the volunteer rest area at Festival Theatre clean and operational 
    • Athletics Complex requirements and setup: Sodexo provided custodial services to keep the area clean and operational. 

    On game day, 40 Sodexo employees, including multiple rotating managers, were on-site. Because we were included in the initial stages of planning, and we know the sites extensively, things followed their course. Our team supported all sub-contractors with their logistical needs on-site and was on hand to support any unforeseen circumstances. 

    Managing unforeseen circumstances 

    July 16 was an exceptionally muggy day, with temperatures reaching 38 degrees with humidex. When bottled water inventory was starting to run low in the first quarter of the game, our team came to the rescue.  

    Our grounds crew scoured the Annapolis Valley for bottled water and managed to find an estimated 10,000 bottles of water that were personally delivered to spectators, TSN and the media, and the emergency staff on-site. 


    Our reputation precedes us. With the presence of Sodexo Live! at Hamilton’s Tim Horton’s Field, the CFL is aware of Sodexo’s capabilities when it comes to large-scale events. And at Acadia University, after 26 years of services, our crew functions on autopilot. Both stakeholders knew they could rely on our team to deliver. And that is what we did. 

    The event was a tremendous success for the CFL, Acadia University, the Town of Wolfville, and the province. The planning was thorough and executed as planned and exceeded expectations.  

    The Sodexo management team at Acadia was a significant partner in the planning of this event with stakeholders and the CFL since February 2022 and played a key role in Its execution. 

    The feedback from the CFL, Acadia University, key stakeholders, and the community was exceptionally positive, as they indicated many times that we delivered and exceeded expectations on all fronts and could not have held the event without us.  

    Marcel Falkenham, Executive Director of facilities and the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre at Acadia University, says: 

    By all accounts, this event was an outstanding success for the University, the Town of Wolfville and the CFL. It simply would not have been this successful without the support and planning provided by the team at Sodexo.

    “We have a good team here, and I am so proud of our frontline employees who really stepped up to the plate, always with a smile on their faces,” says Derek Parker, general manager for Sodexo at Acadia University. “There was no panic for this event. We proved that we can do it — we can mirror what is being done in big cities. The plan worked.” 

    To learn more about facilities management services with Sodexo Campus, reach out

    To see our work in action, watch the Touchdown Atlantic recap video.