Flashback Friday: “The Audience”

On any given night, the Rogers Centre might have an audience over 40,000 fans within the confines of its concrete foundation. But there will always remain 15 fans outside the stadium that remain a fixture on the exterior of the Rogers Centre.

For this week’s Flashback Friday, we look back at one of the most prominent sculptures around the Rogers Centre called “The Audience”.

For those who frequent Blue Jays games often, it’s almost one of those things that becomes second nature. Unless you were going to a Blue Jays game for the first time, you might not even notice it.


However, if you stop and look up while you’re on Blue Jays Way, you’ll notice several inhabitants on the northeast and northwest corners of the stadium. They are the “keepers” of the Rogers Centre so to speak; forever perched on the corners of the building like gargoyles.

In total, there are 15 different statues, and they’re all meant to symbolize the different subsects of fans; you have the hecklers, the father and son, the muscle man, the hungry fan, and many others.

Although the builders of the Skydome already planned on having some sort of art around the ballpark anyway, it was mandated that 1% of the total construction costs be designated to public art projects. The Skydome was the first major development in Toronto to do such a thing.

Renowned Canadian artist Michael Snow was the lead artist on the project, and you’ll probably notice his other handiwork around Toronto; most notably the Canadian geese display inside the Eaton Centre.

He first developed The Audience as a small scale project with plaster, and later graduated to a 1/3 scale model constructed of A-frames, and then finally built the full scale sculptures out of a steel skeleton.

The frames themselves were sprayed with heavy foam and were then carved out to resemble to characters … not unlike an ice carving. Once the shapes took place, the characters were sprayed with protective fiberglass and lastly, a bronze-like finish.

When asked about which particular fans the sculpture represented, Snow explained his choices of characters:

“The sculpture reflects sports, with the fans doing what they do, both positive and negative, in reaction to what they’re seeing. But they’re all individuals, so there’s no code that works for them all.

The general style and mood is deliberately more Roman than Greek. There are references to historical styles and idioms within the overall style: Hindu, Romanesque, Gothic.”

The total cost of The Audience sculpture is not known, but the total budget for all the art projects in and around the Skydome had a price tag of approximately $2.5 million. The project took 15 months to complete from conception to completion.


So the next time you’re heading to the Blue Jays game and going through Gate 2 or Gate 13, be sure to take a glance upwards. Who knows, you might even see yourself in one of the characters up there.

Images courtesy of Wikipedia, Don Shall and Chestnut Park

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.

3 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: “The Audience”

  • June 28, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    I love these. I always take a look up at them the few times a year I'm able to go to Toronto for a game or two. They remind of the gargoyles on Parliament Hill. The buildings would seem not quite right without them.

  • June 30, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    I want a tee shirt with them on it……can this be found anywhere?

  • July 7, 2021 at 7:39 pm

    I was there and wanted a tee shirt with the audience on it . Is there such a thing?

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