In its early years, Lansdowne Park was like a forerunner to today’s big box complexes, despite never having a permanent commercial establishment on the premises.

“The only organizing feature was that most of the buildings were pavilion style — they stood on their own — and they tended to have a sphere of influence that attracted a lot of little things around them,” said John Stewart, principal of Commonwealth Historic Resource Management and author of the Lansdowne Park Heritage Study released yesterday.

One of the key findings of the $35,000 study was that the structure of Lansdowne Park has been very fluid over the past century and a half. “It was kind of like a stage set where buildings popped up and were put in place. Another building was put in beside it,” said Stewart.

However, the occupants of the buildings moved even faster. Different retailers would occupy different buildings temporarily, but they would not stay longer than a season.

The buildings were designed to be as flexible as possible. For example, in the summer, a building would be used for exhibitions or farmers’ markets, while in the winter, it would be a curling rink.