Rogers Centre
SkyDome[1][2]
Rogers Center logo.jpg
Toronto - ON - Rogers Centre (Nacht).jpg
Location One Blue Jays Way
Toronto, Ontario
M5V 1J1
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 (2010–2014)
AstroTurf 3D Xtreme (2015–present)
Construction cost $570 million[3][4]
($NaN in 2020 dollars[5])
Architect Rod Robbie
Structural engineer Adjeleian Allen Rubeli Ltd.[6]
Services engineer The Mitchell Partnership Inc.[7]
General Contractor EllisDon Construction
Former names SkyDome (1989–2005)
Tenants Toronto Blue Jays (MLB) (1989–present)
Toronto Argonauts (CFL) (1989–2015)[8]
Toronto Raptors (NBA) (1995–1999)
Buffalo Bills (NFL) (2008–2013) (Bills Toronto Series)
Toronto FC (MLS) (2012–present, occasional matches)
Capacity Baseball: 49,282
Canadian football: 31,074 (expandable to 52,230)[9]
American football: 54,000[10]
Soccer: 47,568
Basketball: 22,911 (expandable to 28,708)[11]
Concerts: 10,000-55,000

Rogers Centre (originally named SkyDome) is a multi-purpose stadium in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada situated just southwest of the CN Tower near the northern shore 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. Previously, the stadium served as home to the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association, and the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League played an annual game at the stadium 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, traveling carnivals, 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 SkyDome.[12][1] 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.[13] It is also the last North American major-league stadium built to accommodate both football and baseball. The stadium served as the site of both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2015 Pan American Games.[14] During the ceremonies, the site was referred to as the "Pan Am Dome" (officially as the "Pan Am Ceremonies Venue") instead of its normal name.

History[edit | edit source]

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$570 million[3] ($NaN in 2020 dollars[5]) which was paid for by the federal government, Ontario provincial government, the City of Toronto, and a large consortium of corporations.[15]

The CN Tower viewed from the Rogers Centre

Background[edit | edit source]

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 Bill Davis, the Premier of Ontario, and the poor conditions were seen by the largest TV audience ever in Canada (over 7,862,000 viewers) to that point.[16] The following day, at a rally at Toronto City Hall, tens of thousands of people who attended the game 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.[17]

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). Ultimately the Robbie/Allen concept won because it provided the largest roof opening of all the finalists, and it was the most technically sound.

Naming[edit | edit source]

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". At the press conference announcing the name, Chuck Magwood, president of the Stadium Corporation of Ontario (Stadco), the crown corporation created to run SkyDome,[18] 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."

Financing[edit | edit source]

Overhead view of Rogers Centre with the roof closed, as seen from the CN Tower

The stadium was funded by a public/private partnership, with the government paying the largest percentage of the tab. The initial cost of $150 million was greatly underestimated,[19] with the final tab coming in at C$570 million ($NaN in 2020 dollars[5]).[3] Two levels of government (Metro Toronto and Provincial) each initially contributed $30 million ($NaN in 2020 dollars[5]).[3][19][20] 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) and the Toronto Blue Jays each paid $5 million ($NaN in 2020 dollars[5]) to help fund the stadium.[20] An additional 26 other Canadian corporations (selected by invitation only) also contributed $5 million,[20] 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 2020 dollars[5]) 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,[3] 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 December 3–9, 1998).

Construction[edit | edit source]

A suspension bridge was built over the Union Station Rail Corridor next to the stadium.

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.

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

Opening[edit | edit source]

File:The audience.JPG

"The Audience" - A sculpture by Michael Snow adorning the façade on the northwest corner of Rogers Centre.

The stadium officially opened on June 3, 1989, and hosted an official grand opening show: "The Opening of SkyDome: A Celebration", that was broadcast on CBC television the following evening hosted by Brian Williams. With a crowd of over 50,000 in attendance, the event included appearances by Alan Thicke, Oscar Peterson, Andrea Martin of SCTV, impersonator André-Philippe Gagnon and rock band Glass Tiger. The roof was ceremonially "opened" by Ontario Premier David Peterson] with a laser pen. The roof's opening exposed the crowd to a downpour of rain. Despite audible chants of "close the roof", Magwood insisted that the roof remain fully open.

Financial problems and fallout[edit | edit source]

File:SkyDomeLogo.png

The SkyDome logo (1989-2005).

The stadium would later become a thorn in the side of David Peterson's Ontario Liberal government for repeated cost overruns. After the Liberals were defeated by the NDP in the 1990 Ontario election, a review by the new Bob Rae government in October 1990 revealed that Stadco's debt meant that the Dome would have to be booked 600 days a year to turn a profit. The stadium income was only $17 million in its first year of operations, while debt service was $40 million. It was determined that the abrupt late inclusion by Stadco of a hotel and health club added an additional $112 million to the cost of the building.

As the province slipped into a recession, Rae appointed University of Toronto professor Bruce Kidd and Canadian Auto Workers President Bob White to the Stadco board to help deal with the stadium's growing debt, but the original $165 million debt had ballooned to $400 million by 1993.[3][19] Stadco became a political liability, and in March 1994, the Ontario government paid off all outstanding Stadco debts from the government treasury and sold the stadium for $151 million to a private consortium that included Labatt Breweries, the Blue Jays' owner.[19][21]

In November 1998, the stadium, which Labatt then owned as 49% of total, filed for bankruptcy protection,[22] triggered after disastrous Skybox renewal numbers. Most of the 161 Skybox tenants had signed on for 10-year leases; a marked decrease in interest in the stadium's teams and the construction of the Air Canada Centre, which hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors, resulted in few renewals for Skybox leases. That same month, the Blue Jays re-signed for an additional ten years in the facility.[19]

In April 1999, Sportsco International LP bought the stadium out of bankruptcy protection for $80 million.[21]

Purchase and renaming[edit | edit source]

File:RogersCentrelogo.JPG

The Rogers Centre logo is large enough to be seen from several kilometres away.

In November 2004, Rogers Communications, parent company of the Blue Jays, acquired SkyDome, excluding the attached SkyDome hotel which had been sold to Renaissance for a reported $31 million in 1999, from Sportsco for about $25 million – roughly 4% of the cost of construction.[21]

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.[23]

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.[24]

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.[25]

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 Alcohol and Gaming Commission 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.[26]

Improvements[edit | edit source]

Since its opening in 1989, numerous changes and improvements have been made to the facility, some of the more significant of which are:

  • 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 Template:Convert/to.
  • 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 Template:Convert/by (2005).
  • Jays Shop - Stadium Edition, was expanded to an Template:Convert/ft2 retail space along the main concourse (2007).
  • Two video boards were built into the outfield fence that each measure 10 feet by 65 feet. These boards 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 (later named the West Jet Flight Deck) in the 200 level was added following the removal of the windows of the former Windows Restaurant (2013, $2 million).[27][28]
  • In April 2014, an open-air organist's booth was installed next to the West Jet Flight Deck to provide traditional ballpark theme music during games.
  • The AstroTurf Gameday Grass was upgraded to AstroTurf Gameday Grass 3D Extreme for the 2015 season.

In February 2013, Paul Beeston, president of the Blue Jays, said that the stadium would need $250 million in renovations over the next decade to bring it up to date, including installing a natural grass playing field by 2018.[28]

Stadium features[edit | edit source]

File:Windows Restaurant in SkyDomeRogersCentre.JPG

Several restaurants have views of events. The former Windows restaurant looked onto the playing field.

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 Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ",". square feet (Expression error: Unexpected < operator. 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.[29]

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.[30] 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, home of the Tampa Bay Rays), and the only one that uses "sliding pits" instead of a complete dirt infield.

The use of natural grass was long thought unfeasible 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, including low temperatures and drainage. As of the 2015 season, they are one of two teams to have never played a home game on grass at their main stadium (the Tampa Bay Rays played some home games in 2007 and 2008 at Champion Stadium in Walt Disney World).[31][32][33] However, the Blue Jays have long expressed a desire to play on natural grass, and plans are currently in place to install a grass field in 2018 to allow enough time for research and growing of the sod.[34] Installing grass would include digging up the floor, adding a drainage system, and installing 30 cm (1 foot) of dirt. In order to reconfigure Rogers Centre to accommodate a grass field, it will be locked permanently into its baseball configuration; the lower stands that currently roll into position for football will be permanently fixed in position for baseball.[35][36][37] The plan became more definite when Rogers renewed the Argonauts' lease through 2017, but ruled out any further extensions; in May 2015, it was announced that the Argos would move to BMO Field for the 2016 season.[38][39][40] The Blue Jays subsequently confirmed that the Argonauts' early departure would not accelerate their own plans to install grass in 2018, on account of logistical considerations, but it may allow the team to install a dirt infield for the 2016 season.[41]

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.[42] The Renaissance Toronto Hotel is also located within Rogers Centre, with 70 rooms overlooking the field.[43]

Over $5 million of artwork was commissioned in 1989 ($Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character "[". million in Template:Currentyear dollars):

  • 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.[44]

Seating capacity[edit | edit source]

Football[edit | edit source]

Rogers Centre video board[edit | edit source]

File:Rogers Centre video board.JPG

Rogers Centre video board.

The Rogers Centre video board is 33 feet (0 m) high and 110 feet (0 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 (0 m) long by 4 feet (0 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 (0 m) wide by nearly 10 feet (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[edit | edit source]

Sports[edit | edit source]

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 planned and 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 1997.[46]

In 1994, then-part owner of the SkyDome Labatt considered purchasing a National Football League and a Major League Soccer team to play at the stadium.[47]

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.[48] On June 8, 2005 an international soccer friendly between Serbia and Italy took place, ending in a 1–1 draw.[48]

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.[49]

File:Toronto Argonauts vs. Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Rogers Centre, October 27 2005.jpg

Toronto Argonauts vs. Hamilton Tiger-Cats, October 27, 2005

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, so beginning the Bills Toronto Series; the first of these regular-season games took place on December 7 of the 2008 NFL season versus the Miami Dolphins.[50] 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.

Games in the first round of the 2009 World Baseball Classic were played at the Rogers Centre.[51]

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 July 21, 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.

For the 2015 Pan American Games, the Rogers Centre was used for the opening and closing ceremonies.

Concerts[edit | edit source]

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).[52] 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.[53]

Soon after its opening, the stadium became a popular venue for large-scale rock concerts and is the largest indoor concert venue in Toronto.[54] Artists have included Bruce Springsteen, U2 with two concerts in 2009, as well as their concert in 2011, all part of their 360° Tour.[55][56][57] Bon Jovi performed two sellout shows on July 20 and 21, 2010 at the Rogers Centre as part of The Circle Tour.[58]

The Rolling Stones played two sold out concerts at the stadium. December 4, 1989 Steel Wheels Tour and on September 26, 2005 during their highest grossing tour A Bigger Bang Tour. The Rogers Centre has been a venue for large electronic dance music events. During 2013, notable events included two back to back sold out shows on Swedish House Mafia's farewell tour, One Last Tour and Sensation's first Canadian event. One of the more notable concerts, as shown in the documentary Truth or Dare, was Madonna's 1990 Blond Ambition World Tour show.[59] 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[edit | edit source]

Rogers Centre contains Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ",".Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ",".Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ",". (Expression error: Unexpected < operator. 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. It hosted a round of the AMA Supercross Championship from 2008 to 2014.[60] Disney on Ice, Monster Jam 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.[61]

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.[62]

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, the former also having the main Ticketmaster outlet (ticket centre) for eastern Canada, located at the south end of the building beside Gate 9.[63][64][65]

In addition, 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.[42] On non-event days, there are daily tours of the Rogers Centre.

Attendance records[edit | edit source]

File:Braves-Jays1999.jpg

Atlanta Braves vs. Toronto Blue Jays in the SkyDome on July 19, 1999.

  • World Wrestling Federation's WrestleMania X8 attracted the largest ever paid crowd to SkyDome. The March 17, 2002, event gathered 68,237 fans. WrestleMania VI held the previous record of 67,678 on April 1, 1990.
  • Major League Baseball: The 1991 All-Star Game on July 9 attracted 52,383 spectators.
  • Billy Graham Mission Ontario Youth Rally: This meeting, on June 10, 1995, is conceivably the most attended event in the SkyDome's history. The attendance of 72,500 was boosted by performances by several Christian music groups, and by extensive seating on the field. As well, there were multitudes outside — by some accounts over 30,000, watching the event on screens around the stadium.[66]
  • Toronto Blue Jays: A crowd of 52,268 attended game five of the 1992 World Series, which Toronto lost 7–2 to the Atlanta Braves. The smallest crowd for a Jays game occurred in April 2010, when 10,314 watched Toronto win 8–1 against the Kansas City Royals.[67]
  • Canadian Football League: 54,088 packed SkyDome to watch the 1989 Grey Cup Game between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
  • Toronto Argonauts: The 1991 Eastern Division Final played against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers drew a crowd of 50,386. The smallest crowd for an Argonauts game occurred on July 13, 2001, when 11,041 people watched Toronto lose 30–16 against Winnipeg[68]
  • National Football League: 55,799 fans filled the Rogers Centre to see the Buffalo Bills defeat the Dallas Cowboys 9–7 in an American Bowl exhibition game on August 12, 1995.[69]
  • Toronto Raptors: A March 24, 1996, game against the Chicago Bulls drew a crowd of 36,131. For this game, the basketball venue was reconfigured to accommodate more fans due to the popularity of the visiting team, which basketball superstar Michael Jordan played for during this time. The expansion Raptors handed the record-setting Bulls one of their ten defeats that season, winning 109–108.
  • Soccer: A July 31, 2004, soccer game between Celtic F.C. and A.S. Roma drew 50,158.
  • Mixed martial arts: UFC 129 sold 55,000 tickets for the highest single-day event gate in the stadium's history and set new world records for the sport.[70]

Timeline[edit | edit source]

  • 1986 – October 3 – The SkyDome's ground is broken.
  • 1987 – June 2 – Dress rehearsal for opening ceremony, family/friends of volunteer performers invited to attend. First unofficial "wave" performed at the SkyDome.
  • 1987 – June 3 – The stadium is named "SkyDome".
  • 1989 – June 3 – The SkyDome officially opens, hosting a live opening night gala.
  • 1989 – June 5 – The SkyDome plays host to its first Blue Jays game. The Jays lose 5–3 to the Milwaukee Brewers.
  • 1989 – June 5 – Fred McGriff hits the first home run ever at the SkyDome.
  • 1989 – June 7 – John Cerutti records the first Blue Jays win at the SkyDome, beating the Brewers 4–2.
  • 1989 – June 8 – Rod Stewart performs the first concert at the SkyDome.
  • 1989 – July 12 – The stadium plays host to its first Argos game.
  • 1989 – Jose Canseco hits a home run into the fifth deck of the SkyDome, off Toronto Blue Jays' pitcher Mike Flanagan. It is an estimated 480-foot shot, although one journalist estimated it to be at least 500 feet.[71]
  • 1989 – The Saskatchewan Roughriders defeat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 43–40 in the 77th Grey Cup.
  • 1990 – The MLB single season attendance record is broken with 58 sellouts and a season total crowd of 3,885,284.
  • 1991 – July 9 – It is the host of the MLB All-Star Game.
  • 1992 – The Calgary Stampeders defeat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 24–10 in the 80th Grey Cup.
  • 1992 – The first World Series game outside the United States is played at SkyDome, as the Blue Jays host the Atlanta Braves in game three of the 1992 World Series.
  • 1993 – October 23 – The Blue Jays win their second straight World Series championship when Toronto outfielder Joe Carter hits a walk-off home run against Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Mitch Williams.
  • 1995 – June 22 – During a game against the Milwaukee Brewers, two acoustic panels fall off the inner ceiling in the seventh inning, injuring seven fans. The game is not stopped.[72]
  • 1995 – July 9 – A worker dies when installing lights for a computer show (falling 25 feet (7 meters)).
  • 1998 – November – Several dignitaries, including Prime Minister of Canada Jean Chrétien, honour the visiting South African president Nelson Mandela.
  • 1998 – November – The SkyDome files for a bankruptcy protection.
  • 1998 – The SkyDome is purchased out of bankruptcy by Sportsco.
  • 2001 – April 12 – A scheduled Blue Jays' game against the Kansas City Royals is cancelled due to the retractable roof jamming during a test run, damaging the roof and sending debris crashing to the field below.[73]
  • 2001 – August 3 – The retractable roof is ordered closed in the third inning of a Toronto Blue Jays' game against the Baltimore Orioles at the request of home plate umpire Tim Welke, as a swarm of thousands of aphids descends on SkyDome.[74]
  • 2002 – March 17 – WrestleMania X8 sets the SkyDome attendance record of 68,237.
  • 2005 – February 2 – Rogers Communications buys the stadium and renames it Rogers Centre.
  • 2007 – November 25 – The Rogers Centre plays host to the 95th Grey Cup, the first in Toronto in 15 years. The Saskatchewan Roughriders defeat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 23–19 in the game.
  • 2008 – August 14 – The Rogers Centre plays host to a pre-season National Football League game between the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers, the first of a five-year lease deal that sees the Bills playing occasional home games in Toronto.
  • 2011 – April 30 – The Rogers Centre holds the first UFC event, UFC 129, the first to be held in a stadium, and it signifies UFC 129 as the biggest MMA event in North America at that time.
  • 2011 – June 25 – The Rogers Centre successfully holds the first International Indian Film Academy Awards event in North America.
  • 2012 – November 25 – The Toronto Argonauts defeat the Calgary Stampeders in the 100th Grey Cup 35–22. Johnny Reid headlined a special Kick-Off Show, and half time performers include internationally renowned Canadian singers Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen, Marianas Trench, and Gordon Lightfoot.
  • 2015 – July 10 – The Rogers Centre holds the opening ceremonies of the 2015 Pan American Games.

Portal:Canadian/Selected panoramic picture/Layout Template:Wideimage

Facts and figures[edit | edit source]

File:Rogers Centre open and closed.jpg

Left: Rogers Centre with roof closed
Right: Rogers Centre with roof opened

File:Rogers Centre May 2011.jpg

Evening baseball game in action from a bird's eye view

Stadium-related[edit | edit source]

File:Skydome seats rotate.jpg

The field level seating rotates on tracks to reconfigure for football and baseball.

  • The stadium roof has a patent, preventing its design from being easily copied: U.S. Patent #4676033. The patent was officially filed on May 1, 1986 and published June 30, 1987, to dome designers, architect Rod Robbie and structural engineer Michael Allen.[75]
  • To accommodate American fans, the United States dollar is accepted throughout the stadium.[76]
  • The original mascot of the stadium was a turtle by the name of Domer. Domer has not been widely used since the mid-90s, although he did make a return on June 6, 2014, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Rogers Centre.
  • 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 Template:Convert/haTemplate:Convert/test/Aoff.
  • 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$570 million[3] (C$NaN in 2020 dollars[5]). 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 2020 dollars[5]).
  • 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.[77] This is due to the Rogers Centre being aligned to Toronto's grid that was laid out when the city was primarily rural; its grid north is approximately 18.5° west of true north.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 SkyDome, now Rogers Centre, turns 25. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (June 3, 2014).
  2. Anderson, M.E.. The Skydome a/k/a Rogers Centre, turns 25. Sporting News. Retrieved on November 19, 2014.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 You win some, you lose some. CBC News (February 9, 2011). Retrieved on December 27, 2013.
  4. Inside the venue: Toronto's Rogers Centre. ESPN (April 29, 2011). Retrieved on December 28, 2013.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Canadian inflation numbers based on data available from Consumer Price Index, by province (monthly) (Canada) Statistics Canada. Retrieved August 21, 2011 and Consumer Price Index, historical summary Statistics Canada. Retrieved December 7, 2010
  6. Adjeleian Allen Rubeli - Skydome. Adjeleian Allen Rubeli Ltd. (January 29, 2006). Retrieved on August 10, 2012.
  7. Rogers Centre (PDF). The Mitchell Partnership. Retrieved on August 10, 2012.
  8. TSN. tsn.ca. Retrieved on September 20, 2013.
  9. 2007 Grey Cup game sold out. Canadian Football League. Retrieved on November 20, 2007.
  10. McKelvin's Kickoff Return TD Helps Bills Down Steelers 24-21 In Rogers Centre Exhibition - CityNews. Citynews.ca (August 14, 2008). Retrieved on February 23, 2011.
  11. SkyDome. Basketball.ballparks.com. Retrieved on February 23, 2011.
  12. Goodbye SkyDome, hello Rogers Centre. CBC Sports (February 2, 2005). Retrieved on May 28, 2015.
  13. John Ewen. Power Ranking All 30 MLB Stadiums. Bleacher Report.
  14. Rogers Centre Among Venues Proposed for 2015 Pan Am Games. Biz Bash Toronto (November 7, 2009). Retrieved on November 7, 2009.
  15. Romell, Rick. "Tax money for stadium site backed". Milwaukee Sentinel May 16, 1989: 1-6.
  16. Canadian Football League, Canada.
  17. Miller, David (October 7, 1984). Battle Is On for Right to Build Our Domed Stadium. Toronto Star. pg A1, A13.
  18. http://business.highbeam.com/416338/article-1G1-30127808/skydome-then-and-now
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 Neil deMause. DOME TO NOWHERE.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 ROGERS CENTRE HISTORY. Toronto Blue Jays. Retrieved on December 28, 2013.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Rogers buys SkyDome for $25 million. The Sports Network (November 29, 2004). Retrieved on December 28, 2013.
  22. SkyDome seeks bankruptcy protection. CBC News (November 26, 1998). Retrieved on December 28, 2013.
  23. "Goodbye Skydome, Hello Rogers Centre", CBC News, February 2, 2005. Retrieved on June 13, 2008. 
  24. Girard, Daniel. "Toronto Argonauts May Soon Be Homeless", February 8, 2012. Retrieved on February 8, 2012. 
  25. Template:Cite press release
  26. Template:Cite press release
  27. Windows Restaurant at Rogers Centre gets $2M renovation. Sportsnet (March 30, 2013). Retrieved on January 6, 2014.
  28. 28.0 28.1 $250-Million Renovations Coming To Rogers Centre. theScore Inc.. Retrieved on January 6, 2014.
  29. Rogers Centre - Facts. Rogerscentre.com. Rogers Stadium Limited Partnership. Retrieved on November 19, 2011.
  30. Lott, John. "Blue Jays Hoping to Gain Some Level Footing", February 3, 2010. Retrieved on February 8, 2010.  [dead link]
  31. Associated Press (May 17, 2007). Young's two-run homer helps D-Rays stop Rangers' rally. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved on July 19, 2014.
  32. Associated Press (April 24, 2008). Balanced Rays complete three-game sweep of Blue Jays at Disney. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved on July 19, 2014.
  33. Ballparks of Baseball. Champion Stadium, Spring Training ballpark of the Atlanta Braves. Retrieved on July 19, 2014.
  34. Kennedy, Brendan. "Blue Jays pave way for grass at the Rogers Centre", April 24, 2014. 
  35. Maloney, Tom. "Jays turf Argos in favour of grass playing surface at Rogers Centre", September 9, 2013. Retrieved on November 7, 2013. 
  36. Perkins, Dave (February 9, 2012). Perkins: Argos turfed if Toronto Blue Jays put grass in Rogers Centre. Toronto Star. Retrieved on January 12, 2014.
  37. Griffin, Richard (February 1, 2014). Jays president Beeston insists ‘baseball should be played on grass’: Griffin. Toronto Star. Retrieved on February 1, 2014.
  38. "Bell Canada and Kilmer Group to acquire Argonauts", Toronto Argonauts, May 20, 2015. Retrieved on May 20, 2015. 
  39. Argonauts announce sale, move to BMO Field. Retrieved on May 20, 2015.
  40. "Bell, Larry Tanenbaum to purchase Argonauts", Toronto Star, May 19, 2015. Retrieved on May 20, 2015. 
  41. http://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/mlb/blue-jays-mulling-installation-of-dirt-infield/
  42. 42.0 42.1 Edwards, Peter. "Hard Times Shut Down Hard Rock at the Dome", June 17, 2009. Retrieved on February 23, 2011. 
  43. Renaissance Toronto Hotel Downtown hotel room amenities and highlights. Marriott International (July 1, 2005). Retrieved on March 22, 2008.
  44. History. Rogers Centre. Retrieved on August 10, 2012.
  45. 2011, 2013 Gold Cup. Bigsoccer.com. Retrieved on August 10, 2012.
  46. WrestleMania — The Venues and Attendance of Every WrestleMania. About.com. Retrieved on February 3, 2008.
  47. Peddie, Richard (2013). Dream Job. HarperCollins. 
  48. 48.0 48.1 YouTube (June 8, 2005). Italy vs. Serbia (highlights). Retrieved on June 30, 2015.
  49. Grossman, David. "Metro Bowl to Have a U.S. Flavour", November 7, 2008. Retrieved on February 23, 2011. 
  50. "Bills Have Deal in Place for Toronto Games", January 30, 2008. Retrieved on January 30, 2008. 
  51. Rogers Centre to host WBC games in '09. Sportsnet (July 31, 2008). Retrieved on February 23, 2011.
  52. Theatre Concert. Rogers Centre. Retrieved on August 10, 2012.
  53. The Rogers Centre: One Blue Jay Way, Toronto, Ontario. Glass Steel and Stone. Retrieved on August 10, 2012.
  54. Rayner, Ben. "Deadmau5 Leaves Em’ Raving", November 6, 2011. Retrieved on August 10, 2010. 
  55. Harper, Kate (September 16, 2009). Rogers Centre Dome Opening For U2's Toronto Shows. Chart Communications Inc.. Retrieved on October 2, 2009.
  56. "Dome Open for 2nd Concert in History as 60K Fans Rock Out with U2", CTVglobemedia, September 17, 2009. Retrieved on October 2, 2010. 
  57. U2 360° TOUR: 2009: Toronto Thursday, September 17, 2009. U2 A De-Lux Excursion (2009). Retrieved on October 2, 2010.
  58. Template:Cite press release
  59. Template:Cite press release
  60. 2015 AMA Supercross media guide
  61. In the Community. Rogers Centre. Retrieved on August 10, 2012.
  62. Wagner, Vit. "Atwood Lends Voice to World Book Night", March 5, 2011. Retrieved on August 13, 2011. 
  63. Ticketmaster Canada Ltd.: Company Overview. Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved on July 15, 2009.
  64. Ticketmaster Canada Privacy Policy. Ticketmaster Canada (March 3, 2009). Retrieved on July 15, 2009.
  65. Deibert, Dave. "UFC Opening Canadian Office in Toronto", May 25, 2010. Retrieved on April 4, 2013. 
  66. Hollinger, Herb (June 10, 1995). Graham recuperation won't derail Southern Baptist Convention date. Baptist Press. Retrieved on January 15, 2010.
  67. Canadian Press (April 19, 2010). Jays pound Royals in front of smallest-ever crowd at Dome. TSN. Retrieved on April 19, 2010.
  68. "Bombers finally win in SkyDome", Cbc.ca, July 13, 2001. Retrieved on February 23, 2011. 
  69. 1995 Buffalo Bills. Retrieved on April 23, 2011.
  70. UFC 129 Sold Out, Shatters Records With 55,000 Tickets. Yahoo! Sports (February 12, 2011). Retrieved on February 14, 2011.
  71. Kepner, Tyler. "A Room With a View in Toronto", March 8, 2009. Retrieved on August 10, 2012. 
  72. Associated Press. "Skydome is Falling! Skydome is Falling!", June 23, 1995, pp. B1, B5. Retrieved on April 4, 2013. 
  73. "SkyDome Roof Shreds", CBC News, April 12, 2001. Retrieved on April 4, 2013. 
  74. Associated Press. "Blue Jays Work the Bugs Out", August 4, 2001. Retrieved on April 4, 2013. 
  75. United States Patent 4,676,033. USPTO.gov. Retrieved on April 14, 2015.
  76. Visitor Information. Rogers Centre. Retrieved on February 23, 2011.
  77. Robinson, Craig. Ballpark Orientation: Direction the Batter is Facing at all MLB Parks. Flip Flop Fly Ball. Bloomsbury.

External links[edit | edit source]

Official websites[edit | edit source]

Multimedia[edit | edit source]

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