More than 100 years after its founding, Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) continues to host the prestigious Queen’s Plate, and is the largest horse racing and wagering operator in Canada. Originally named the Ontario Jockey Club, the organization was founded in 1881 to improve the quality of horse racing in Toronto.
The recent re-branding was executed by Concrete, a creative agency based in Toronto. WEG unveiled a plan to expand the 684 acre site into a range of entertainment experiences with expanded entertainment, food and dining, recreation, hotel and shopping. The revitalized brand identity now reflects more diverse offerings and audiences, and seamlessly combines various lines of the racing business into one brand.
Concrete describes the solution to the new brand identity as “a shift in positioning and supporting tag line that alludes the organization’s heritage, while suggesting a broader offering.” Visually, the new branding pays homage to the history of Woodbine and horse racing with the inclusion of a racetrack, ‘W’ and star, which is commonly seen on the jerseys of jockeys. By removing the literal horse featrued in some versions of the previous the logo, the icon provides greater flexibility for use in future Woodbine venues.
The original Woodbine Race Course was built in 1874 staging both standardbred and thoroughbred races, the organization’s first racetrack of its kind in North America. The Queen’s Plate, founded in 1860, is North America’s oldest continuously run horse race. It was held for the first time at Woodbine on July 1, 1881. In 1956 a modern facility called the “New Woodbine” was built, featuring a one-mile oval dirt track, turf course, ponds and scenic waterfalls. The Old Woodbine was renovated and renamed the Greenwood Raceway in 1963, hosting races until its closing in 1993. All operations moved to New Woodbine the year following the closure of Greenwood Raceway, and the old stadium was demolished and transformed into Woodbine Park.