Rogers Centre | History

As the only sports and entertainment venue of its size and design in Canada, Rogers Centre has hosted some of the greatest music, sport, trade and community events of our time.

Rock stars, entertainers, athletes, religious figures and inspirational leaders have all delighted audiences under the dome.

Rogers Centre is one of the most dynamic and versatile entertainment centres in the world. No other venue has the diversity of events that Rogers Centre hosts on an annual basis across over 200 event days. Since its spectacular opening on June 3, 1989, Rogers Centre has achieved the highest honours in the stadium entertainment industry and currently is a leader in the fight for corporate environmental responsibility.Formerly known as SkyDome, the venue was renamed
Rogers Centre on February 2, 2005.

Structurally, Rogers Centre remains the same today as it was when it opened in 1989 with the exception of several key cosmetic changes over the last few years. Widened concourses, updated and upgraded suites, new video and broadcast technology were just some of the areas touched during an extensive $20 million rejuvenation project.

One of the unique features of Rogers Centre is that it can be transformed to meet the needs of any event by converting between two primary modes; baseball and football. The 100 level seats sit on a railway track system that allows them to rotate between each mode within extensive $20 million rejuvenation project.

In addition, Rogers Centre's fully retractable roof allows the venue to be an open-air facility with the ability to close pending weather conditions. This innovative roof function ensures that no event needs to be cancelled due to inclement weather. The roof system features a series of three moveable panels and one stationary panel which takes 25 minutes to open or close fully. The roof weighs 11,000 tons and covers an area of 339,343 square feet. The highest point stands 282 feet above field level.

Architects Rod Robbie and Michael Allen designed the building patenting its retractable roof system. Preparation of the site began in April 1986, with groundbreaking taking place in October of that same year. The last exterior concrete was poured in November 1988 and the first test of the moveable roof panels was performed in January 1989. More than 10,000 person-years of employment were created with the construction of Rogers Centre.

Rogers Centre is home to impressive technology including the video and ribbon boards located in the north end and around the circumference of the 300 Level. Purchased in 2005 from Daktronics, the screen is one of the industry's leading with PROSTAR® VIDEOPLUS which uses state of the art LED technology. Measuring 110 feet wide by 33 feet high, the video board is capable of projecting 4.3 trillion colours.

The Toronto Blue Jays have seen significant changes to their playing surface for the start of the 2016 season. After extensive offseason research a decision was made to retrofit the field from its original state (four separate concrete pits filled with dirt forming Home, 1st, 2nd and 3rd base) to an all dirt infield.

The new dirt infield allows for greater material depth which ensures the best quality infield surface and one that is more consistent with the rest of Major League Baseball. The infield, now approximately 12,000 square feet in area, is made up of five distinct layers starting with the under fill, the existing sand and gravel base below the concrete floor. A 2" layer of pea gravel is above that which provides an area for excess water to go. Above the pea gravel is a 4" layer of sub-angular sand, which is an important part of the moisture management system. The remaining 6" is filled with baseball dirt which is a product that is processed specifically for baseball fields. This product contains a blend of 60% sand, 20% clay,and 20% silt. Sitting on top of the baseball dirt is the top layer, also known as top dressing which is a loose layer of material made up of calcined and vitrified clay.

The rest of the field remains the "roll up" synthetic turf system made up of the AstroTurf 3DXtreme 60 product, installed for the 2015 season. This product is a blend of monofilament and slit-film face fibres combined with a texturized thatch and reinforced backing that looks, feels and plays more like a natural grass field. The 3DXtreme product differs from past surfaces in the type of infill required between the turf fibres.

The field is comprised of 85 panels for the baseball configuration. The largest roll is 52 metres (170 feet) long by 4.5 metres (15 feet) wide with a roll diameter of 1.4 metres (4.5 feet).

With a symmetrical layout in baseball mode, the field measures 328' down the foul lines, 375' to the power alleys and 400' to dead centre field. The diamond is centred two degrees off perfect north with a 10 foot high outfield wall, fully padded for the protection of the players. The pitcher's mound is constructed on a fibreglass dish that is lowered and raised by a hydraulic system.

Conveniently located in the heart of Toronto's vibrant downtown community, at the base of the CN Tower and close to the Entertainment and Financial Districts, the stadium is easily accessible via the TTC or GO Transit. Also located at the stadium is the Renaissance Toronto Hotel, a 348-room hotel with 70 rooms overlooking the field.

Rogers Centre Interesting Facts

  • The entire Rogers Centre complex spans 12.7 acres (5.14 hectares). The building itself takes up 11.5 acres (4.66 hectares).
  • The diameter of the building is 700 feet while the volume inside the stadium with the roof closed is 56.5 million cubic feet (1.6 million cubic meters).
  • On average, it takes approximately 40 hours to convert the field from baseball to football mode.
  • Seating Capacity: approximately 54,000 (depending on layout of event)
  • Baseball Capacity: 49,286
  • Suites: 151 suites are conveniently located on the 300 and 400 levels of the venue.
  • The Toronto Blue Jays 1993 World Series Title was won on home turf at Rogers Centre (Saturday, October 23 vs.Philadelphia; 8-6)
  • On March 17, 2002 Rogers Centre set a venue attendance record when it hosted 68,237 fans for Wrestle-Mania X8.
  • The names of workers who helped build Rogers Centre can be found in a permanent tribute located in the north end of the 100L concourse.

Rogers Centre Marquee Dates

  • Official Groundbreaking: October 3, 1986
  • Opening Ceremony: June 3, 1989
  • First Baseball Game: June 5, 1989
  • First Concert: Rod Stewart - June 8, 1989
  • First Football Game: June 29, 1989 (preseason)
  • First Football Game: July 12, 1989 (regular season)

SkyDome/Rogers Centre Firsts

GAME: Monday June 5, 1989 (Blue Jays-3, Milwaukee Brewers-5)
WIN: Wednesday, June 7, 1989 (Blue Jays-4, Milwaukee-2)
TIME/TEMP: 2:43/18°C
PITCHER: Jimmy Key, Toronto
BATTER: Paul Molitor, Milwaukee (doubled)
PITCH: Fastball, called strike
HIT: Double by Molitor in 1st inning
RUN: Molitor in 1st inning
SINGLE: Kelly Gruber, Toronto, 1st inning
DOUBLE: Paul Molitor, 1st inning
HOME RUN: Fred McGriff, Toronto, 2nd inning
RBI: Gary Sheffield, Milwaukee, 1st inning
WINNING PITCHER: Don August, Milwaukee
LOSING PITCHER: Jimmy Key, Toronto
SAVE: Dan Plesac, Milwaukee
PUTOUT: Nelson Liriano, Toronto
ASSIST: Kelly Gruber, Toronto
STOLEN BASE: Fred McGriff, 6th inning
WALK: George Bell, Toronto, 2nd inning