Now known as Rogers Centre, this world class entertainment facility has been home to the Toronto Blue Jays since June 5, 1989. The stadium is best known for the retractable roof which is one of many innovations that can be found in a stadium that was ahead of its time. SkyDome was renamed Rogers Centre on February 2, 2005 which marks the first day the Blue Jays had full control of their facility.
At conception, the building took an innovative approach to financing, construction and design. Until 1994, it had been owned by The Stadium Corporation of Ontario, a consortium comprised of both public and private funds. The Province of Ontario and the Municipality of Toronto each contributed 30 million dollars. Joining these two levels of government were 30 Canadian corporations including the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club. Each private company contributed 5 million dollars in exchange for preferred supplier status and a SkyBox. Rogers Centre was previously owned by Sportsco International, L.P. (April 1999), the principals of which were Alan Cohen and Harvey Walken. The final construction cost of SkyDome exceeded 500 million dollars.
Architects Rod Robbie and Michael Allen designed the building and had patented 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 of 1988 and the first test of the moveable roof panels took place in January 1989. More than 10,000 person-years of employment were created by the construction of Rogers Centre.
The venue is located just to the south and west of the CN Tower, between John Street and Blue Jays Way. A five minute walk from Union Station, it is easily accessible by the TTC or Go Transit.
Rogers Centre is home to the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club and Toronto Argonauts Football Club as well as plays host to numerous events during the year such as concerts, trade shows and charity functions. Also located in the building is the Renaissance Toronto Hotel, a 348-room hotel with 70 rooms overlooking the field. Rogers Centre houses several corporate offices for various companies including the Toronto Blue Jays.
One of the unique features of Rogers Centre is that it can be "transformed" from one mode (ie. baseball) to another mode (ie. football or concerts) within hours. The 100 level seating areas are situated on railway tracks that allow the seats to move for conversion purposes.