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Exhibition Stadium

From Academic Kids

Exhibition Stadium
Location Toronto, Ontario
Opened 1959
Closed May 28, 1989
Capacity 43,737
Owned By: City of Toronto

Dimensions:
Left
Left-Center
Center
Right-Center
Right


330 ft.
375 ft.
400 ft.
375 ft.
330 ft.

Exhibition Stadium was a stadium that formerly stood at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds in Toronto, Ontario. Originally built for Canadian football and other events, the stadium was reconfigured in the mid-1970s, and served as the home of the Toronto Blue Jays from 1977-1989. It also served as the home of the Toronto Argonauts from 1959-1988.

Stadiums had stood on the site since 1879, but a massive reconstruction took place in the late 1950s, building a large grandstand on one side of the field, and temporary stands on the other. When reopened in 1959, the stadium sat 25,303.

The stadium was rebuilt again in the 1970s to allow the expansion Toronto Blue Jays to play at the Ex, building additional seating opposite the large grandstand now in left field on the first base side and curving around to the third base side. It was apparently the only major league baseball stadium where the bleachers were covered but the main grandstand was not.

Because of the large field needed for Canadian football and the vaguely horseshoe-shape of the stadium, many of the seats down the right field line and in the bleachers in right-center were extremely far from the infield and faced each other rather than the action. Relatively close to Lake Ontario, the stadium was often quite cold at the beginning and end of the season - the first game played there on April 7, 1977 was the only major league baseball game ever played with the field covered entirely by snow. A 1984 game had to be cancelled due to high wind - the only such game in modern history in the major leagues. Because of these problems Exhibition Stadium was only intended to be a stop-gap measure until a domed stadium could be built closer to the downtown. The decision to build a retractable roof stadium - the first in North America - along with engineering and cost questions meant that SkyDome (now Rogers Centre) was not completed until 1989.

Exhibition Stadium lay mostly dormant over the following decade, except for the occasional concert or minor sporting event. It was demolished in 1999.

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