Dome to nowhere (III) – a timeline

1969-75: Various proposals are floated to build a publicly financed domed stadium to attract a major-league baseball team to Toronto; all meet significant public opposition, and none are seriously pursued.

1975: City spends $18 million to renovate then-26-year-old Exhibition Stadium. April 1977: The Blue Jays begin play at the Ex.

January 1985: At the urging of Toronto Sun publisher Paul Godfrey, Ontario Premier William Davis, with the power of a parliamentary majority, establishes the Stadium Corporation of Ontario (Stadco) to build and run a domed stadium in Toronto. The $150 million project is planned as a private-public partnership: the city and province will donate $30 million each, while 14 private companies will kick in $5 million apiece. The remaining $20 million in debt is to be paid off from operating revenues.

October 1985: SkyDome construction begins, under the government of Premier David Peterson. Total cost is now estimated at $225 million.

May 1987: Stadco decides to add a hotel and health club. Pricetag now at $328 million.

May-July 1988: Construction strike halts work on SkyDome for two months. Cost now projected at $383 million.

June 1989: SkyDome opens to the public.

October 1990: Ontario Treasurer Floyd Laughren announces that SkyDome’s debt load is out of control, and will continue to grow unless more money is pumped into it.

March 1991: Ontario Premier Bob Rae appoints a team led by union leader Bob White to investigate selling SkyDome.

1992-93: Blue Jays win back-to-back World Series.

March 1994: Province sells SkyDome to a private consortium for $151 million, plus $23 million in interest charges due to lengthy delays in closing the deal.

1994: Jays fall to bottom of their division, then see a players’ strike wipe out the final third of the season. SkyDome attendance drops below 3 million for the first time, and never recovers its pre-strike levels.

1998: Jays use threat to move out of SkyDome to gain $72 million in lease concessions. The dome files for bankruptcy.

– Neil deMause,

Related reading

Dome to nowhere (I)

Dome to nowhere: SkyDome Redux? (II)

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  1. Pingback: Dome to nowhere (I) | Friendship First, Competition Second – An Amateur Sport Website

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