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SkyDome turns 25: Readers share photos and memories from opening day in 1989

On June 3, 1989, SkyDome opened its doors. Two days later, the Toronto Blue Jays played their first game, to a crowd of more than 48,000. Though the stadium's name has changed to the Rogers Centre, its presence on Toronto's skyline is the same as ever. In honour of its 25th birthday, we asked readers to share their favourite photos and memories from those early days.

Provided by Robbie Family

Caroline Robbie, Toronto

My father, Roderick (Rod) Robbie, was the architect for SkyDome. My sister, Nicola Robbie and my brother, Angus Robbie and I were all involved in one way or another in the design of the building and were all proud to have the opportunity to attend both the building opening ceremonies and the first Jays game in 1989. Opening day seems like yesterday.

Cathy Haskett, Brampton, Ont.

I was fortunate to have been able to be at the opening ceremonies. I have always remembered the cast from Les Mis performing. I was so enthralled by the electricity of the crowd and the sheer magnitude of the SkyDome. The music was wonderful, the speeches predictable and the fireworks let not just Toronto, but the world know the Dome was open for business. Thanks SkyDome for 25 years of fantastic memories.

(To see what the opening ceremonies were like for yourself, led with a song and dance number by Alan Thicke and Andrea Martin, watch the video above)


Gord Iversen, Duncan, B.C.

In 1989, I entered the contest and won tickets for the opening night of the Skydome. My daughter, who turned 1 year old the week before was in attendance, and received a"Domer" the facility mascot (under her arm). My memory of the night was the roof opening to great fanfare and a torrential downpour ensuing. Everyone at field level wanted it closed up; it wasn't, but those of us in the upper levels remained dry. The baby is Kristen Iversen, with her mother Ann, Iversen.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

J.D.M. Stewart, Toronto

I don't have a ticket stub or other memento from the first Blue Jays game played at the SkyDome. But that's because my brother, cousin, and I sneaked into the stadium on that warm June night to see the Jays beat the Milwaukee Brewers. I was just 20 years old at the time and all of us desperately wanted to be a part of this historic moment for Toronto. After growing up on Exhibition Stadium, we were so excited to see baseball in this much-hyped location. Unfortunately, there were no tickets to be had and scalpers were asking a lot. But being young, we were up for a little adventure. So the three of us walked through the entrance of the SkyDome restaurant and no one stopped us. We were in!


Jameson Mackinnon, Toronto

I was 16 years old. I took a bus from Pickering with 20-30 others to start my new job at SkyDome with the Blue Jays playing the Brewers. It was such a thrill to be a part of history, and working there for the next seven years shaped my life in friendships, relationships (one that lead to a marriage with a son) and eventually I would buy a condo right on the corner of Front and Blue Jays Way. SkyDome will always be a part of me.


Walter Jurman, Cambridge, Ont.

I was one of those 48,000 in attendance! I still have my metal ticket that I have attached on my key chain for the past 25 years.

My favourite memory was walking into the Dome with my mouth wide open. I could not believe what I was seeing after watching games at Exhibition Stadium. What a feast for the eyes!

Erik Christensen/The Globe and Mail

Tony Cummins, Glasgow, Scotland

Back in 1989, my only way overhearing baseball was via the American Forces Network broadcasting from Frankfurt in Germany on 873kHz AM. The signal was, at best, terrible and would ebb and flow, sometimes disappearing altogether. I remember lying in my bed, earphones on listening as Fred McGriff hit the first ever home run against the Brewers! The signal faded and I had to wait another day to get a copy of the USA Today to find out what the final score had been that night!

Hans Deryk/CP

Rick Harris, Toronto

In 1989 I had season's tickets to the Jays. I knew they were close to achieving something great. So I was excited to see them move to a new stadium. The prices became too dear, the strike dampened my enthusiasm -- but I still have fond memories of Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth and will never forget the back-to-back world series. These were my proudest, most memorable moments as a Torontonian. Both of my children were born in 1991 and 1993. My memories of their birth and Toronto's championships will always be connected (in the appropriate order). Love the SkyDome, loved Exhibition Stadium, love my memories of the Jays.


Adam Stewart, Oakville, Ont.

This is a ticket from the very first Blue Jays game at the SkyDome on June 5, 1989. As I was still two years away from being born, it's obviously not mine. I saw it in my grandfather's home office and thought it was really interesting, so I was allowed to keep it. Still in great condition as it was framed almost immediately. Note the price for a Skyclub seat at the time.

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