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SkyDome

 

SkyDome

"SkyDome" redirects here. For other uses, see SkyDome (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with Rogers Arena, in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Rogers Centre
Former names SkyDome (1989–2005)
Location One Blue Jays Way
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5V 1J3
Coordinates

43°38′29″N 79°23′21″W / 43.64139°N 79.38917°W / 43.64139; -79.38917Coordinates: 43°38′29″N 79°23′21″W / 43.64139°N 79.38917°W / 43.64139; -79.38917

Broke ground October 3, 1986
Opened June 3, 1989
Owner Rogers Communications
Operator Rogers Stadium Limited Partnership
Surface AstroTurf (1989–2004)
FieldTurf (2005–2010)
AstroTurf GameDay Grass 3D (2010–present)
Construction cost $570 million
($NaN in 2014 dollars[1])
Architect Robbie Young + Wright
Brisbin Brook Beynon
IBI Group Architects
Structural engineer Adjeleian Allen Rubeli Ltd.[2]
Services engineer The Mitchell Partnership Inc.[3]
General contractor EllisDon Construction
Capacity Baseball: 49,282 (3,434 seats in private boxes)
Canadian football: 31,074 (expandable to 52,230)[4]
American football: 54,000[5]
Soccer: 47,568
Basketball: 22,911 (expandable to 28,708)[6]
Concerts: 10,000-55,000
Record attendance WrestleMania X8: 68,237 (March 17, 2002)
Field dimensions Left Field Line - 328 feet (100 m)
Left-Centre Power Alley - 375 feet (114 m)
Centre Field - 400 feet (122 m)
Right-Centre Power Alley - 375 feet (114 m)
Right Field Line - 328 feet (100 m)
Backstop - 60 feet (18 m)
Tenants
Toronto Blue Jays (MLB) (1989–present)
Toronto Argonauts (CFL) (1989–2017 (or earlier)[7]
Toronto Raptors (NBA) (1995–1999)
International Bowl (2007–2010)
Buffalo Bills (NFL) (2008–2017) (Bills Toronto Series)
Toronto FC (MLS) (2012-present, occasional matches)

Rogers Centre (originally known as SkyDome) is a multi-purpose stadium in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada situated next to the CN Tower near the shores of Lake Ontario. Opened in 1989 on the former Railway Lands, it is home to the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball and the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. From 2008 to 2012, the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League played at the stadium for eight games (five regular-season and three pre-season) as part of the Bills Toronto Series. While it is primarily a sports venue, it also hosts other large-scale events such as conventions, trade fairs, concerts, travelling funfairs, and monster truck shows.

The stadium was renamed "Rogers Centre" following the purchase of the stadium by Rogers Communications, which also bought the Toronto Blue Jays, in 2005, but is still colloquially referred to as the Skydome.[8] The venue was noted for being the first stadium to have a fully retractable motorized roof, as well as for the 348-room hotel attached to it, with 70 rooms overlooking the field. It is also the most recent North American major-league stadium built to accommodate both football and baseball. The stadium will be the centrepiece of the 2015 Pan American Games as the site of the opening and closing ceremonies.[9]

History

The SkyDome, called the Rogers Centre since 2005, was designed by architect Rod Robbie and structural engineer Michael Allen and was constructed by the EllisDon Construction company of London, Ontario and the Dominion Bridge Company of Lachine, Quebec. The stadium's construction lasted about two and a half years, from October 1986 to May 1989. The approximate cost of construction was C$570 million ($NaN in 2014 dollars[1]) which was paid for by the federal government, Ontario provincial government, the City of Toronto, and a large consortium of corporations.[10]


Background

The main impetus for building an enclosed sports venue came following the Grey Cup game in November 1982, held at the outdoor Exhibition Stadium. The game was played in a driving rainstorm that left most of the crowd drenched, leading the media to call it "the Rain Bowl." As many of the seats were completely exposed to the elements, thousands watched the game from the concession section. To make a bad experience even worse, the washrooms overflowed. In attendance that day was then-Ontario Premier Bill Davis, and the poor conditions were seen by the largest TV audience ever in Canada (over 7,862,000 viewers) to that point.[11] The following day, at a rally at Toronto City Hall, tens of thousands of people who were there to see the Toronto Argonauts began to chant, "We want a dome! We want a dome!"

Seven months later, in June 1983, Premier Davis formally announced that a three-person committee would look into the feasibility of building a domed stadium at Exhibition Place. The committee consisted of Paul Godfrey, Larry Grossman and former Ontario Hydro chairman Hugh Macaulay.[12]

The committee examined various projects, including a large indoor stadium at Exhibition Place with an air-supported dome, similar to BC Place in Vancouver. In 1985, an international design competition was launched to design a new stadium, along with selection of a site. Some of the proposed sites included Exhibition Place, Downsview Airport, and York University. The final site was located at the base of the CN Tower not far from Union Station, a major railway and transit hub. The Railway Lands were a major Canadian National Railway rail switching yard encompassing the CNR Spadina Roundhouse (the desolate downtown lands were part of a master plan for revitalizing the area which includes CityPlace). The price would be $150 million. Ultimately the Robbie/Allen concept won because it provided the largest roof opening of all the finalists, and it was the most technically sound.

Stadium construction

Construction was done by lead contractor EllisDon. Several factors complicated the construction: The lands housed a functioning water pumping station that needed to be relocated, the soil was contaminated from a century of industrial use, railway buildings needed to be torn down or moved, and the site was rich with archaeological finds. One of the most complex issues was moving the John St. pumping station across the street to its new home south of the stadium. Foundations to the stadium were being poured even as the facility (located in the infield area) continued to function, as construction on its new location had yet to be completed.

Because the stadium was the first of its kind in the world, the architects and engineers kept the design simple (by using a sturdy dome shape) and used proven technologies to move the roof. It was important that the design would work and be reliable as to avoid the various problems that plagued Montreal's Olympic Stadium. The 31-storey high roof consists of four panels; one (on the North end) is fixed in place and the other three are moved by electrically driven 'train' engines, that run on high strength railway rails. The roof, which takes 20 minutes to open, was made out of steel trusses covered by corrugated steel cladding, which in turn is covered by a single-ply PVC membrane.

Because of its location south of major railway corridor, new pedestrian connections had to be built; the infrastructure was part of the reason for the high cost of the stadium. The SkyWalk is a (1/2 km – est.) enclosed walkway that leads from the base of the CN Tower and via a bridge connects to Union Station (and is part of the PATH network). The John Street bridge was built to provide North/South passage over the rail tracks, linking Front Street with the stadium.

Stadium financing

The stadium was funded by a public/private partnership, with the government paying the largest percentage of the tab. The initial cost was greatly underestimated, with the final tab coming in at C$570 million ($NaN in 2014 dollars[1]). All three levels of government (Metro Toronto, Provincial, Federal) initially contributed $30 million ($NaN in 2014 dollars[1]). This does not include the actual value of the land the stadium sits on (as it was part of a deal with the Crown agency – CN Rail). Canada's three main breweries (Labatt's, Molson, and Carling O'Keefe) each paid $5 million ($NaN in 2014 dollars[1]) to help fund the stadium. In addition, 28 Canadian corporations (selected by invitation ) also contributed $5 million, for which they received one of the 161 Skyboxes with four parking spaces (for ten years, with an opportunity for renewal) and a 99 year exclusive option on stadium advertising. Skyboxes initially leased for $150,000 up to $225,000 ($NaN to $NaN in 2014 dollars[1]) a year in 1989 – plus the cost of tickets for all events.

The then unusual financing structure created controversy. First of all, there was no public tender for supplies and equipment. Secondly, companies that paid the $5 million fee, such as Coca-Cola, TSN and the CIBC, received 100% stadium exclusivity, including advertising rights, for the life of their contract that could be extended up to 99 years. Third, the contracts were not put up for bid, meaning that there was some doubt the contracts were made at a market rate: Pepsi stated at the time that had they known the terms of the contract they would have paid far more than $5 million for the rights. Local media like NOW Magazine called the amount charged to the companies "scandalously low" (Now Dec 3-9, 1998).

The stadium was completed two months late, having been planned to open for the first regular season Toronto Blue Jays game in 1989.

SkyDome opening

The stadium officially opened on June 3, 1989, and hosted an official grand opening show: "The Opening of SkyDome: A Celebration". It was broadcast on CBC television the following evening hosted by Brian Williams. With a crowd of over 50,000 in attendance, it was the first test of the new facility. The event was a showcase of Canadian talent, and included performances from a wide variety of acts. The celebrities consisted of Alan Thicke, Oscar Peterson, Andrea Martin of SCTV, impersonator André-Philippe Gagnon and rock band Glass Tiger. The roof was opened by the Premier of the Province, David Peterson, who pointed a laser pen at the ceiling to officially 'open' it. The roof opened, exposing the crowd to a downpour of rain. This while a crowd of famous Canadians sang a song on stage that was written specifically for the opening, with the lyrics: "Open up, Open up the Dome". Yet as the crowd got increasingly wet, they could be heard chanting "Close the roof". But Stadco president Chuck Magwood insisted that the roof fully open. And once open, a group of civilian skydivers flew into the now soaked stadium often skidding across the concrete floor to the cheers of the audience. By the time the roof had opened, most of the crowd had sought refuge in the concourse areas and beneath the overhangs of the various parts of the structure.

The event was broken down into the following acts:

The Opening of SkyDome – A Celebration

  • Act I – "Prelude to Forever" – "Oscar Peterson will perform this original composition with the Toronto Symphony."
  • Act II – A Tribute to the Builders of SkyDome – "An Olympic-style entrance of those who represent the thousands of people responsible for the building of SkyDome."
  • Act III – The Way We Were – "Featuring Theresa Pitt, the lead in Toronto’s company of Cats (the musical)."
  • Act IV – "We are Toronto" – "From a small settlement and a few hundred settlers, Toronto has become a true window to the world. The people of Toronto representing sixty-eight nations will celebrate the Opening of SkyDome in their native costumes."
  • Act V – "Open up the Dome" – "Liberty Silver and Tommy Ambrose will perform this very special celebration number and will be joined by our 3,500 volunteer performers."
  • Act VI – "Open up the Dome" Finale – "Our host Alan Thicke will re-introduce the performers and will join in a final celebration of the Opening of SkyDome."

Financial problems and fallout


The stadium would later become a thorn in the side of David Peterson's Ontario Liberal government for its overspending in the venture. The Ontario Liberal Party was defeated by the Ontario New Democratic Party in the 1990 Ontario election. A review by the new Bob Rae government in October 1990 revealed that the stadium was so in debt that it would have to be booked 600 days a year to turn a profit. The stadium had only made $17 million in its first year of operations, while servicing the debt was costing $40 million. It was determined that the abrupt late inclusion by Stadco of a luxurious hotel and health club added an additional $112 million to the cost of the building.

As the province slipped into a recession, Bob Rae appointed University of Toronto professor Bruce Kidd and Bob White (then president of the Canadian Auto Workers) to the Stadco board to help deal with the stadium's growing debt. But by this time it was too late to reverse the costs. The completed stadium started life with a $165 million debt that ballooned to $400 million by 1993. The stadium became a huge liability to the Government of Ontario, and as the economy soured, so did public support for the so-called "white elephant". In March 1994, Bob Rae's Ontario NDP government paid off all outstanding debts from the government treasury and sold the stadium for the massively discounted price of $151 million to a private consortium (including Labatt's parent company – Interbrew).

In November 1998, the stadium filed for bankruptcy protection. One of the main reasons was that most of the Skybox contracts were up for renewal. Most of the 161 Skybox tenants had signed on for 10 year leases; this oversight in business planning, and a marked decrease in interest in the stadium's two sports teams, resulted in a massive decrease in the amount companies were willing to pay for a Skybox. In addition, the Air Canada Centre was under construction just down the road, and selling highly desired boxes for the civic favourite Toronto Maple Leafs and new upstart Toronto Raptors, who originally played in the SkyDome since their establishment in 1995. Many companies could not justify owning box suites at both stadiums. That same month, the Blue Jays re-signed on for an additional ten years in the facility.

In late 1998, Sportsco International LP bought the stadium out of bankruptcy protection for $85 million.

Purchase and renaming

In 2005, Rogers Communications, parent company of the Blue Jays, acquired SkyDome from Sportsco for about $25 million – about 4% of the cost of construction.

On February 2, 2005, Ted Rogers, President and CEO of Rogers Communications, announced a three-year corporate contract to change the name of SkyDome to the Rogers Centre. After the purchase Rogers refurbished the stadium by, among other things, replacing the Jumbotron with a Daktronics video display, and erecting other new monitors, including several built into the outfield wall. They also installed a new FieldTurf artificial playing surface.[13]

In May 2005, the Toronto Argonauts agreed to three five-year leases at Rogers Centre, which could see the Argonauts playing out of Rogers Centre up to and including 2019. The team has the option to leave at the end of each of the three lease agreements. [14]

In November 2005, Rogers Centre received a complete makeover to "open" the 100 Level concourse to the playing field and convert 43 luxury boxes to "party suites." This required some seats to be removed, which lowered overall capacity. [15]

In April 2006, the Rogers Centre became one of the first buildings of its size to adopt a completely smoke-free policy in Canada, anticipating an act of provincial legislature that required all Ontario public places to go smoke-free by June 1, 2006.

Alcohol was not available to patrons of the Rogers Centre on April 7, 2009, as the province of Ontario imposed the first of a three-day alcohol suspension at the stadium, for "infractions (that) took place at certain past events," according to the press release.[16]

Improvements

Since its opening in 1989, numerous changes and improvements have been made to the facility. The below list summarizes some of the more significant improvements:

  • Exterior roof lighting, which can be programmed for themes and/or events.
  • The Blue Jays clubhouse was substantially renovated, including a larger training room, an open concept lounge and personal lockers. In total, the clubhouse expanded from 12,000 square feet (1,100 m2) to 24,000 square feet (2,200 m2).
  • Main level concourse expansion, making the space brighter, more fan-friendly with expanded wheelchair seating.
  • The FieldTurf was upgraded to AstroTurf Gameday Grass (2010).
  • The main video board was upgraded from a JumboTron to a modern Daktronics video board, measuring 33 feet (10 m) by 110 feet (2005).
  • In 2007, Rogers Centre unveiled an expanded Jays Shop - Stadium Edition, an 8,000-square-foot (740 m2) retail space along the main concourse.
  • Two screens were built into the outfield fence that each measure 10 feet by 65 feet. These screens provide player stats, out-of-town scores and other information related to the game and league.
  • A continuous, ribbon-style video board was installed on the facing of the 300 Level, providing stats and scores.
  • Installation of 150 new 42-inch flat-screen video monitors in the main and second level concourses, bringing the number of stadium monitors to around 300.
  • Upgrade of the entire field lighting system in a two-month conversion process with all 840 of the 2,000-watt bowl lights replaced.
  • A centre-field porch in the 200 level was added in 2013 following the removal of Windows Restaurant's windows.

Etymology

The name "SkyDome" was chosen as part of a province-wide "name the stadium" contest in 1987. Sponsored by the Toronto Sun, ballots were offered for people to submit their suggested name, with lifetime seats behind home plate to all events at the stadium (including concerts) as the prize. Over 150,000 entries were received with 12,897 different names. The selection committee narrowed it down to four choices: "Towerdome", "Harbourdome", "SkyDome", and simply "the Dome". The judges' final selection was SkyDome. Premier David Peterson drew the prize-winning entry of Kellie Watson from a lottery barrel containing the over-2,000 entries that had proposed "SkyDome". In the press conference announcing the name, Chuck Magwood (president of the Stadium Corporation of Ontario) commented: "The sky is a huge part of the whole roof process. The name has a sense of the infinite and that's what this is all about."

Stadium features

The venue was the first major team sports stadium in North America with a functional, fully retractable roof (Montreal's Olympic Stadium also had a retractable roof, but due to operational issues, it was replaced with a permanent roof). The roof is composed of four panels and covers an area of 345,000 square feet (32,100 m2). The two middle panels slide laterally to stack over the north semi-circular panel, and then the south semi-circular panel rotates around the stadium and nests inside the stack. It takes 20 minutes for the roof to open or close.[17]

Even though the retractable roof would in theory permit the use of natural grass, in practice it is not feasible since the stadium was designed as a closed structure with a roof that opens, and as such the interior was not intended or built to deal with weather. The original AstroTurf installation was replaced with FieldTurf from 2005 to 2010. The FieldTurf took about 40 hours to remove for events such as concerts or trade shows, as it used 1,400 trays that needed to be stacked and transported off the field. Prior to the 2010 baseball season, to reduce the amount of time required to convert the playing field, a new, roll-based version of AstroTurf was installed. Similar to FieldTurf, the current installation uses a sand and rubber-based infill within the synthetic fibres.[18] The Rogers Centre is one of two remaining venues in Major League Baseball using artificial turf (the other one is Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida), and the only one that uses "sliding pits" instead of a complete dirt infield.

There are a total of 5,700 club seats and 161 luxury suites at the Rogers Centre. The complex had a Hard Rock Café restaurant until December 2009 when the restaurant closed after its lease expired.[19] The Renaissance Toronto Hotel is also located within Rogers Centre, with 70 rooms overlooking the field.[20]

Over $5 million of artwork was commissioned in 1989:

  • The Audience – by Michael Snow is a collection of larger than life depictions of fans located above the northeast and northwest entrances. Painted gold, the sculptures show fans in various acts of celebration.
  • A Tribute to Baseball – by Lutz Haufschild – located above the Southeast and Southwest entrances of Gate 5.
  • The Art of the Possible – by Mimi Gellman – located inside along the north side of the concourse on Level 100. The glass and steel sculpture incorporates the signatures of 2,000 builders of SkyDome, and is a tribute to their work. Some of the artifacts found during excavation such as musket balls and pottery have also been included. The brightly illuminated sculpture became an issue to baseball players when the stadium first opened. The bright lights were considered a distraction to batters.
  • Salmon Run – by Susan Schelle, located outside by the South East entrance in Bobbie Rosenfeld Park; it is a large fountain that has various stainless steel salmon cutouts.
  • Spiral Fountain – by Judith Schwarz.[21]

Seating capacity

Baseball

  • 50,516 (1989–1998)[22]
  • 45,100 (1999–2002)[22]
  • 50,516 (2003–2004)[22]
  • 50,598 (2005–2006)[22]
  • 48,900 (2007)[23]
  • 49,539 (2008–2010)[24]
  • 49,260 (2011–2012)[25]
  • 49,282 (2013–present)[26]

Football

Rogers Centre video board

The Rogers Centre video board is 33 feet (10 m) high and 110 feet (34 m) across. The panel is made up of modular LED units that can be replaced unit by unit, and can be repaired immediately should it be damaged during an event. Originally, this screen was a Sony JumboTron, but since has been replaced. There are also two ribbon boards made up of LED that run along the East and West sides of the stadium interior. They are each 434 feet (132 m) long by 3.5 feet (1.1 m) high. In addition, there are two video boards that make up parts of the left and right outfield walls while in baseball mode. These are 65 feet (20 m) wide by nearly 10 feet (3.0 m) high.

The video board and the stadium played host to several serial television events, including the series finales for Cheers and Star Trek: The Next Generation, along with live coverage of the funeral of Princess Diana.

Stadium usage

Sports

Besides baseball and Canadian football, Rogers Centre was the original home of the National Basketball Association's Toronto Raptors, who played at the venue from November 1995 to February 1999, while the Air Canada Centre was being built. It proved to be somewhat problematic as a basketball venue, even considering that it was only a temporary facility. For instance, many seats that were theoretically in line with the court were so far away that fans needed binoculars to see the action. Other seats were so badly obstructed that fans sitting there could only watch the game on the replay boards.

For most games, Rogers Centre seated 22,900 people. However, the Raptors sometimes opened the upper level when popular opponents came to town, expanding capacity to 29,000.

Rogers Centre has also hosted exhibition soccer, cricket, Gaelic football, Hurling, Australian rules football, tennis and four NCAA International Bowl games. The 1992 World Series and 1993 World Series were played at Rogers Centre. The World Wrestling Federation (since renamed World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)) hosted WrestleMania VI and WrestleMania X8 at Rogers Centre in 1990 and 2002. As well, the WWF/WWE held its largest crowd for Monday Night Raw in February 1999.[28]

On May 31, 1997, the venue hosted a post Olympic track and field event that pitted Olympic track champions Donovan Bailey and Michael Johnson, in a 150m race that was billed as a competition for the title of the "World's Fastest Man". Bailey won the race, completing it in a time of 15 seconds and winning the $1.5 million prize. Johnson pulled up lame at the 110m mark claiming a quadriceps injury.

Soccer matches have been regularly held in recent years; they had been rarely played at the venue when its AstroTurf surface had been in place.[29] On June 8, 2005, an international soccer friendly between Serbia-Montenegro and Italy took place, ending in a 1–1 draw.[29]

Rogers Centre is the site of several major high school and collegiate sporting competitions Prentice Cup for baseball and, from 1989 to 2003, the Vanier Cup championship of Canadian Interuniversity Sport football (then SkyDome). Since 2008, the Rogers Centre is the host of the Greater Toronto high school's Metro Bowl.[30]

In January 2007, Rogers Centre played host to the first ever International Bowl, an NCAA college football game between Western Michigan University and the University of Cincinnati. In 2008, Rutgers played Ball State in the second International Bowl. The University at Buffalo Bulls and the University of Connecticut Huskies played in the third International Bowl on January 3, 2009. In November 2007, it hosted the 95th Grey Cup, its first since 1992 and third all-time. It was also the venue for the 43rd Vanier Cup on Friday November 23, just two days before Grey Cup Sunday. It was the 16th Vanier Cup hosted at SkyDome/Rogers Centre, returning after a three-year absence in which it was hosted by Hamilton, Ontario (2004 and 2005) and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (2006). It was the 56th Grey Cup hosted by the city of Toronto since the championship's inception in 1909, and the 40th Vanier Cup hosted by the Toronto since that championship's inception in 1965.

The National Football League's Buffalo Bills announced its intentions to play five "home" games (and three pre-season games) in Rogers Centre in October 2007; the first of these regular-season games took place on December 7 of the 2008 NFL season versus the Miami Dolphins.[31] It marked the first time an NFL team has established a "home" stadium outside the United States. The Bills played a preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Rogers Centre on August 14, 2008. (See Bills Toronto Series for more information regarding this.)

In 2007, Bruce Power, Canada's largest private nuclear operating company, struck a deal with the Toronto Blue Jays that would allow the energy producing company to power the Rogers Centre with emissions-free electricity.

Games in the first round of the 2009 World Baseball Classic were played at the Rogers Centre.[32]

On July 16, 2010, the stadium hosted a friendly soccer match between England's Manchester United F.C. and Scotland's Celtic F.C. Manchester United F.C. defeated Celtic F.C. with a score of 3–1. On 21 July 2012, the stadium hosted the friendly between Toronto FC and Liverpool F.C., a match that finished in a 1–1 draw.

On April 30, 2011, Ultimate Fighting Championship hosted their first event in Ontario's history, UFC 129. Originally set up for 42,000 seats, the event sold out on the first day of ticket sales. Changes were made to accommodate another 13,000 seats. Fans responded bringing the total seat sales to 55,000 — breaking previous UFC records.

By the 2015 Pan American Games, the Rogers Centre will be used for the opening and closing ceremonies.

Concerts

The stadium has several concert configurations, including smaller Theatre (capacity 5,000 to 7,000) and Concert Hall (formerly SkyTent; capacity 10,000 to 25,000).[33] Due to the design of the stadium and building materials used, the acoustics have been known to be rather poor, and the loudness/quality can vary greatly around the stadium. Its popularity with artists and fans has diminished over the years, with most stadium concerts taking place at the Air Canada Centre, since it opened. The SkyTent, a group of acoustical curtain sails that is hoisted on rigging above the floor, is used to help reduce sound distortion and improve sound quality by dampening reverberations around the stadium.[34]

Soon after its opening, the stadium became a popular venue for large-scale rock concerts and is the largest indoor concert venue in Toronto.[35] Artists have included Bruce Springsteen, U2 with two concerts in 2009, as well as their concert in 2011, all part of their 360° Tour.[36][37][38] Bon Jovi performed two sellout shows on July 20 and 21, 2010 at the Rogers Centre as part of The Circle Tour.[39]

The Rolling Stones played a sold out concert at the stadium on September 26,2005 during their highest grossing tour A Bigger Bang Tour.

One of the more notable concerts, as shown in the documentary Truth or Dare, was Madonna's 1990 Blond Ambition World Tour show.[40] The touring show had become extremely controversial, due to the risqué visuals and performances. When the concert arrived in Toronto, police were alerted that the show might violate local obscenity laws. The police were on site for the concert and threatened charges without changes. The show went on as planned, however, without any legal action taken. Later, she performed 2 concerts at the stadium again during The Girlie Show World Tour in 1993.

Other uses

Rogers Centre contains 143,000 sq ft (13,300 m2) of exhibition space, allowing it to host a variety of events year-round.

It is home to several annual auto shows, with the Canadian International AutoShow in February and Importfest in October. Disney on Ice, Monster Jam, Supercross and circuses have also used the venue. The Opening Ceremonies of the XVI International AIDS Conference were held at Rogers Centre on August 13, 2006.[41]

It has also hosted many public speakers, including appearances by the Dalai Lama, Christian Evangelist Billy Graham, Nelson Mandela, and J. K. Rowling, for a book reading.[42]

In addition to being a venue that hosts sports, concerts and other events, the Rogers Centre also houses the head offices of a number of businesses. The Toronto Blue Jays have its office headquarters located in the building and until 2008, the Toronto Argonauts did as well. It is also the home of the head offices of Ticketmaster Canada and Zuffa Canada.[43][44][45]

Rogers Centre is the home of the main Ticketmaster outlet (ticket centre) for eastern Canada, located at the south end of the building beside Gate 9. As well, the building contains the Toronto Renaissance Hotel, a Premier Fitness/Health Club, a Rogers Plus store, (formerly) a Hard Rock Cafe, and Windows Restaurant. Starting in 2006, the Hard Rock Cafe only opened when there was a performance in the building, and closed altogether in 2009.[19] On non-event days, there are daily tours of the Rogers Centre.

Attendance records

Timeline

Panoramic view of Blue Jays game with open roof.
100th Grey Cup.

Facts and figures

Baseball firsts

First game

Date: June 5, 1989[55]

Final score: Milwaukee Brewers 5, Toronto Blue Jays 3

Umpires: Rocky Roe (home), Mike Reilly (first base), Rich Garcia (second base), Dale Scott (third base)

Managers: Cito Gaston (Blue Jays), Tom Trebelhorn (Brewers)

Starting pitchers: Jimmy Key (Blue Jays), Don August (Brewers)

Attendance: 48,378[55]

Batting

Batter: Paul Molitor, Brewers[55]

Blue Jays Batter: Junior Félix

Hit: Paul Molitor, Brewers (double)[55]

Run: Paul Molitor, Brewers

Blue Jays Run: George Bell

RBI: Gary Sheffield, Brewers

Blue Jays RBI: Fred McGriff

Single: Kelly Gruber, Blue Jays

Double: Paul Molitor, Brewers

Triple: Jay Buhner, Mariners (June 18, 1989)[55]

Home run: Fred McGriff, Blue Jays (June 5, 1989)

Grand slam: Terry Steinbach, Athletics (July 16, 1989)[55]

Blue Jays grand slam: Glenallen Hill (September 1, 1989)

Inside-the-park home run: Rance Mulliniks, Blue Jays (July 11, 1991)[55]

Stolen base: Fred McGriff, Blue Jays (June 5, 1989)

Sacrifice hit: Robin Yount, Brewers (June 5, 1989)

Sacrifice fly: Robin Yount, Brewers (June 5, 1989)

Cycle: George Brett, Royals (July 25, 1990)[55]

Blue Jays cycle: Jeff Frye (August 17, 2001)

Pitching

Win: Don August

Blue Jays Win: John Cerutti (June 7, 1989)

Loss: Jimmy Key

Opposing Loss: Chris Bosio, Brewers (June 7, 1989)

Shutout: Bert Blyleven, Angels (July 18, 1989)

Blue Jays Shutout: John Cerutti (August 2, 1989)

Save: Dan Plesac, Brewers (June 5, 1989)

Blue Jays Save: David Wells (June 9, 1989)

Hit by pitch: Tony Fossas hit Lloyd Moseby, Brewers (June 7, 1989)[55]

Wild pitch: Jimmy Key, Blue Jays (June 5, 1989)[56]

Balk: Tony Fossas, Brewers (June 7, 1989)[55]

No-hitter: Dave Stewart, Athletics (June 29, 1990)[55]

Stadium related

  • The stadium roof has a patent, preventing its design from being easily copied: U.S. Patent #05167097. The patent was officially registered on December 1, 1992, to dome designers, architect Rod Robbie and structural engineer Michael Allen.
  • To accommodate American fans, United States currency is accepted throughout the stadium.[57]
  • The original mascot of the stadium was a turtle by the name of Domer.
  • When the retractable roof is open, people standing on the observation deck of the nearby CN Tower can look down on the field.
  • 50 million people have visited SkyDome/Rogers Centre.
  • When the roof is open, 91% of the seats and 100% of the field is open to the sky, covering an area of 3.2 hectares (8 acres).
  • The roof weighs 11,000 tons, and is held together by 250,000 bolts.
  • The stadium's inward-looking hotel rooms have regular two-way windows, yielding instances of what some could consider indecent exposure. When SkyDome first opened, a couple engaging in sexual intercourse was televised on the scoreboard Jumbotron during a baseball game. Days later, a man was caught masturbating during a game in full view of the packed stands. The man, later tracked down by a Sports Illustrated reporter, calmly said, "I thought they were one-way windows." Patrons now have to sign contracts stipulating that they will not perform any lewd acts within view of the stadium.
  • When the stadium first opened, the Toronto Transit Commission was worried about the challenge of moving the large crowds. As a way to streamline the entry to the subway and to encourage public transit use to the stadium, all tickets for the first 30 days also worked as a Metropass.
  • The stadium corporation has been requested to help in the planning of other venues from the U.S., Netherlands, England, Australia, New Zealand, to Singapore, China and Germany (Source Rogers Centre Press release).
  • It was the most expensive stadium in both the CFL and Major League Baseball, constructed at a price of C$570 million (C$NaN in 2014 dollars[1]). This record was passed by the New Yankee Stadium at a cost of US$1.5 billion. If Montreal's Olympic Stadium (which used to be the home field of the Expos, only used for CFL playoff games since the late 2000s) were counted, it would take the title, with a 1976 cost of C$1.6 billion (C$NaN in 2014 dollars[1]).
  • Because of the orientation of the baseball playing field at Rogers Centre, when a player is at bat, the direction he is facing looks farther to the west than at any other Major League Baseball park.[58]

See also

References

External links

Official websites

  • Stadium site on bluejays.com
  • Official site
  • Bills Toronto Series

Multimedia

  • CBC archives – How the roof works with the architect 1989
  • Google satellite image
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