Acid Flashback Friday: 22 Years Since the Opening of Skydome, A Celebration

It’s incredible to imagine there was a time when the Rogers Centre (formerly the Skydome) was a modern marvel of architecture. There was a time when people would flock down to the Skydome just to look at the building itself.

Can you ever say you went to a stadium just for the sake of going to a stadium when there wasn’t a sports event happening? Well, there was a time when that was true … and it happened 22 years ago today.


For this week’s Acid Flashback Friday, we celebrate the 21st anniversary of the Skydome with a look back at “The Opening of Skydome: A Celebration”.

Over 50,000 people attended the Grand Opening of the new home of the Blue Jays and the Toronto Argonauts, but the funny thing there were no Blue Jays or Argos in sight. Yet with an Olympic-like Opening Ceremonies, folks flocked down to 1 Blue Jays Way to see what the Skydome was all about.

If the video above is just a portion of the program, which was Alan Thicke and Andrea Martin’s song and dance number. CBC’s Brian Williams hosted the program, and it was subsequently broadcasted the next evening for all to enjoy.

Here’s a link to another clip that aired during the TV broadcast, and Brian Williams mentions that some folks were clever enough to actually bring umbrellas to the Skydome when there was rain in the forecast.

The Skydome did exactly what it was supposed to do that day, and that was keep the elements from delaying what was happening inside the dome. But after all that hard work, they wanted to open the roof, even though mother nature did not want to participate.

I guess it was a miserable day in Toronto on June 3rd 1989, and as Premier David Peterson called for the roof to open, and Glass Tiger led a star-studded lineup of Canadian celebrities in chorus to the song “Open Up the Dome”.

I’m still trying to figure out what exactly that stage is on the field, but it looks like a couple of ski jumps smack dab in the middle of the stadium.

To go with the Olympic-themed opening ceremonies, the building crew members who constructed the Skydome paraded into the field as though they were in fact representing countries at the Olympics. This included ironworkers, carpenters and electricians.

One final interesting tidbit: all attentees of “The Opening of Skydome: A Celebration” received stuffed animal versions of the Skydome’s official mascot, Domer. If you look in the right place, Domer is still for sale on the internet.


Here in the 21st century, the Rogers Centre may be showing its signs of age, but in the 20th century the building was heralded as one amazing piece of architecture. Although, it’s retractable roof still stands as one of the key features which still fascinates people to this day.

Combined with the CN Tower, the Skydome graces the Toronto skyline as proudly as it did back on June 3rd, 1989.

Video courtesy of Retro Ontario
Skydome information courtesy of Wikipedia and Sports Illustrated

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

9 thoughts on “Acid Flashback Friday: 22 Years Since the Opening of Skydome, A Celebration

  • June 3, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Oh man, how much do you want to go back in time and go to that? Hilarious (and so lame)

  • June 3, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Xave, I think I'd rather have just watched this one on TV. The one positive side affect is at least those folks went home with a Domer stuffed animal!

  • June 3, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    500 Level, you didn't like Domer? He was like a cuter, less threatening version of one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

  • June 4, 2011 at 3:49 am

    this is awesome. i lOVE the fact that the intro says 'and tonight's stars….in alphabetical order'. lol. the graphics are pretty amazing too. thanks for a good laugh!!

  • June 4, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Julie, I didn't even notice that – good catch! Too bad we couldn't watch the whole thing in its entirety. Because that short clip is unintentionally funny.

  • June 5, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Not only are the guests listed alphabetically but Glass Tiger appears as if they were Tiger, Glass.

  • June 6, 2011 at 1:23 am

    What strikes me the most is the opening of the video showing how totally barren the area around the dome was back then. It's changed so much it's almost unrecognizable. I really want to see more photos of how it was before the whole construction boom started along the waterfront.

  • June 6, 2011 at 3:35 am

    King_Cats, that's so weird … Tiger, Glass? If that's the case, why didn't it go Thicke, Alan? Weird!

    BlueJayNator, I have a souvenir Skydome booklet I picked up from the Blue Jays shop last year that shows what the area looked like pre-construction. It was pretty barren before and yes that part of town has come a long way!

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