marvel, the Rogers Centre is home to Major League Baseball's only Canadian franchise, the Toronto Blue Jays. Opening in 1989,
it was the first stadium with a retractable roof allowing
any sport to be played indoors or outdoors, rain or shine. The idea
to build a new
stadium in Toronto began in 1923, but it was 63 years
later when construction actually started. In the early
1970s Toronto began trying to lure a major league baseball team to
the city, first trying to get the San Francisco Giants to relocate.
They were unable to lure the Giants and sought to get MLB to expand
to Toronto. In 1976 the city was awarded a major
league franchise, the Toronto Blue Jays, who began
playing in 1977. However, the city did not have a new stadium
for the team to play at forcing the Blue Jays to play at
Exhibition Stadium (primary a football stadium, but retrofitted
to house baseball) for 12 seasons.
In 1983 sites for a new domed stadium were
proposed. A site west of the CN Tower in downtown
Toronto was chosen and groundbreaking ceremonies for the domed stadium
were held on October 3, 1986. The stadium would be more than just a
dome, it would feature a retractable roof and would be home to
baseball, football and many other
events. Naming the stadium was
way the public was able to participate in part of the stadium
process as over 12,879 fans
submitted a large variety of suggestions to name the stadium
including names such as Alfresco Stadium,
Railway Place and the Zipper Dome. The name
chosen for the stadium was announced on May 11, 1987, SkyDome. For
more than 15 years the stadium was known as SkyDome before being
renamed. In February 2005, Rogers
Communications bought the stadium for $25 million and renamed SkyDome,
the Rogers Centre.
Opening ceremonies at the SkyDome took place on
June 3, 1989. Over 60,000 people watched the dome open for the first
time. Two days later the Blue Jays made their debut at the on June 5, 1989 when 51,000 fans filled the stadium. The retractable roof
consists of four independent panels.
When the roof opens three of the four panels, two barrel shaped and
one quarter dome, maneuver where they stack over the
fourth panel at the north end of the stadium. Weighing over 21
million pounds, it takes 20 minutes for the roof to open or close.
The Rogers Centre has five levels of seats that extend from right centerfield
to homeplate and to left centerfield. All of the lower level seats
are moveable and can form a football gridiron, as the Jays share the
stadium with the Toronto Argonauts (CFL). The pitchers mound is
raised and lowered hydraulically, when the field is not in the
The Rogers Centre has many other unique features
other than its retractable roof.
The Rogers Centre Renaissance Hotel is part of the stadium. It has 350 rooms, 70
that overlook the playing field. In
centerfield is the 110 ft. wide by 33 ft. high HD video/scoreboard. After the 2004 season, the
Astroturf was removed and replaced with Fieldturf. The
Blue Jays have had success at the Rogers Centre,
winning the 1992 and 1993 World Series. They also
attracted four million fans a season during this
time. With it's roof open on a sunny afternoon and
it's location in downtown Toronto alongside the CN
Tower, the Rogers Centre is a great place to spend
an afternoon watching baseball.
In the future Blue Jays fans may see baseball played
on a grass field at the Rogers Centre. The team is
currently researching and analyzing the possibility
of installing a grass field in 2018. This is
dependent on several factors, including the
Argonauts moving out of the Rogers Centre.