It’s hard to imagine the Toronto skyline without it.
Rogers Centre, the home of the Blue Jays, Argos, and the scene of thousands of unforgettable concerts and events, turns 25 today.
When it opened on June 3, 1989, it was called the Skydome and it was the world’s first domed stadium with a fully retractable roof.
The woman who won the contest to name the stadium, Kellie Watson, is still enjoying her prize of free lifetime entry to the stadium, despite the name change.
Over the years, she’s had front-row seats to the Rolling Stones, Backstreet Boys, Elton John and Justin Bieber, and for the Blue Jays World Series victory.
Skydome was officially opened with a lavish televised celebration hosted by Alan Thicke and Andrea Martin.
In an effort to showcase the technological marvel, the retractable roof was opened briefly, but it was raining in Toronto that night and thousands in the sold-out crowd got wet.
The Blue Jays played their first game in the Skydome two days later and lost to the Milwaukee Brewers. The price of a ticket back then in the 224A level was $18 compared to today’s $81.25. A seat in the 527 level in 1989 cost $12 and today it’s $17.25.
The 2014 Jays will celebrate the 25th anniversary of that first game on Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Former Jays pitcher Jimmy Key will throw out the first pitch to former catcher Ernie Whitt.
10 factoids about Rogers Centre when it opened in 1989
Architect: Rod Robbie
Builder: EllisDon Construction Co. of London, Ont., and Dominion Bridge Co. of Lachine, Que.
Construction start and finish date: October 1986 and May 1989
Stadium seats: 50,000 seats for baseball; 52,000 for football and 8,000 to 60,000 for concerts (using the SkyTent)
Skydome includes: 350-room hotel, health club and broadcasting centre
Retractable roof: Skydome was the first stadium to have a retractable roof crafted by structural engineer Michael Allen
Building construction cost: $243.7 million budget but final construction cost estimated at $650 million including interest charges.
Blue Jays first Skydome game: June 5, 1989
1989 vs. 2014 Jays ticket prices: for 224A level: $18 vs. $81.25
1989 vs. 2014 price of a beer: $3.50/$10.50
1989 vs. 2014 price of a hot dog: $6.50/$10-12.50
With files from CityNews
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