Rogers Centre

The Informer

Business

10 Comments

“Ford Square” will be the latest in Toronto’s long line of unfortunate name sponsorships

(Image: Yzukerman/Flickr)

The soon-to-be-former Maple Leaf Square. (Image: Yzukerman/Flickr)

The Post reports that Maple Leaf Square, the space outside the Air Canada Centre where sports fans gather to watch games on a giant screen, will soon be renamed “Ford Square.” The new monicker isn’t a reference to the mayor (he wouldn’t be the first living chief magistrate to get a square named after himself, though he would be the first to earn that distinction on the heels of a rehab stint). The name is actually an homage to the Ford Motor Company, which is set to announce a major sponsorship deal with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.

The square’s renaming is obviously unfortunate, not only because of the inevitable confusion with the automaker’s crack-smoking soundalike, but also because the square currently has a name that means something to the people who spend time there, and soon it will have a name that means nothing to anyone but the people who brokered the sponsorship deal. But is this the worst instance of corporate renaming in Toronto’s recent history? Not even close. Here, a brief rundown of other things companies have managed to get named after themselves, to greater or lesser degrees of outcry.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

People

2 Comments

Person who won lifetime SkyDome tickets 25 years ago is still getting SkyDome tickets

Whenever a contest promises a “lifetime” of something as a prize, there’s some understandable skepticism about whether or not the winner will actually be able to keep collecting until he or she dies. And yet, in at least one instance, the system seems to have worked. For the SkyDome’s 25th anniversary (the stadium is, of course, now known as the Rogers Centre), the Star caught up with Kellie Watson, who won a lifetime’s worth of tickets in a contest held before the venue opened in 1989, and who continues to reap the rewards to this day. “It’s been fabulous,” she told the Star. “I’ve seen every concert I wanted to see plus more.” Faith in the “lifetime guarantees” on our backpacks and handbags? Restored.

The Informer

Sports

3 Comments

Now that Ralph Wilson has died, are the Buffalo Bills headed to Toronto?

The Bills play the Miami Dolphins at Rogers Centre in 2008. (Image: gbalogh)

The Bills play the Miami Dolphins at Rogers Centre in 2008. (Image: gbalogh)

An old man died yesterday, and already Toronto sports fans are wondering who’s going to be getting his stuff.

The man was 95-year-old Ralph Wilson, and his “stuff,” of course, is the Buffalo Bills, a team he owned since its founding in 1960. Toronto has had its eye on the Bills for years—a series of “home games” at Rogers Centre during the past few seasons seemed intended partly to test the market—but speculation about a cross-border move didn’t get going in earnest until late last year, when it was reported that Jon Bon Jovi, of all people, was interested in bankrolling the transition. The theory at the time was that Bon Jovi and a small group of partners would buy the Bills after Wilson’s death, and then relocate the team to a new stadium in Toronto, built and operated by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Sports

1 Comment

Toronto’s 2014 Buffalo Bills home game is cancelled; Buffalo fans celebrate

The Bills play the Miami Dolphins at Rogers Centre in 2008. (Image: gbalogh)

The Bills play the Miami Dolphins at Rogers Centre in 2008. (Image: gbalogh)

The annual Buffalo Bills “home game” at Rogers Centre has been a reliable source of easy money for the team and a treat for Torontonian football fans who normally have to content themselves with CFL games, but it’s hardly surprising that news of the 2014 game’s cancellation has Buffalonians cheering. The Buffalo News is already calling the move “all kinds of good news for Bills fans.”

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Columns

5 Comments

Memoir: what I learned from working the graveyard shift at the Rogers Centre


Memoir: I was trying to make it in journalism and failing miserably. It took the world’s worst job to make me realize that even rock bottom has its perks

On my first night, I picked up a beer-soaked five-dollar bill and shoved it into my pocket. Some of my co-workers were high; some chugged the remains of half-empty beer cans. Everyone needed something to help endure the mind-numbing task of cleaning the Rogers Centre. Mine was searching for treasure in the trash.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Sports

Comments

The Rogers Centre has mysteriously become baseball’s home run capital

(Image: Mike Babcock)

Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista’s sudden fondness for pitcher R.A. Dickey’s pants is only the second weirdest thing to happen this baseball season. The Rogers Centre has emerged as a home run factory with a league-leading 121 already hit at the park (the average for all the MLB stadiums is 82). Some pundits say removing glass panes at the old Windows Restaurant created a magical wind flow that carries balls over the fence, a theory endorsed by television analyst Gregg Zaun and scorned by Bautista and at least one baseball-obsessed physicist. Another camp is pinning the surge on gusts from new condo towers nearby—though that doesn’t explain all the bombs hit when the roof is closed. Even more mysterious is that only 50 of the Jays’ current home run count of 108 came in their batter-friendly home park. [CBC]

The Informer

Events

Comments

The Weekender: Dance Weekend, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan and four other events on our to-do list

Yamantaka // Sonic Titan plays The Garrison on Friday

1. YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN
Just decoding Yamantaka // Sonic Titan’s description of their own sound—“psychedelic noh-wave opera group fusing noise, metal, pop and folk music into a multidisciplinary hyper-orientalist cesspool of ‘east’ meets ‘west’ culture”—would be sufficient fodder for an ethnomusicology master’s thesis. The Montreal and Toronto collective’s sort-of-proggy, sort-of-punky debut, YT//ST, was short-listed for the Polaris Music Prize last year (Feist ended up winning), and drew raves from the likes of Pitchfork for its inventive sonic textures and pulsing rhythms. Their live show has earned buzz for its theatricality, including costumes that recall Japanese theatre and KISS in equal measure. January 18. $10. The Garrison, 1197 Dundas St. W., 416-519-9439, ticketweb.ca

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dish

Food TV

11 Comments

The Layover in Toronto: Anthony Bourdain’s favourite spots and best quips

Anthony Bourdain taking bone luge shots at The Black Hoof with Ezra Title; Bourdain with Scott Vivian at Porchetta and Co. (Images: Courtesy of Travel Channel)

For last night’s episode of The Layover, Anthony Bourdain and his merry crew squeezed as many of Toronto’s culinary delights as possible into their 30-odd hours in the city (we covered his trip back in July). And while he seemed genuinely impressed with some of what he saw, we’re not gonna lie: it was pretty much Bourdain by the numbers. Quirky store owner? Check! (Olivia Go of Tosho Knife Arts). Local punk band? Check! (Fucked Up). Over-the-top feats of on-air gluttony? Check! (Bone luge at The Black Hoof, expertly administered by Jen Agg). Still, there’s nothing a Torontonian likes better than to be acknowledged by an outsider—from New York, no less. In this respect, the show was a complete success, with Bourdain delivering his trademark razor-sharp backhanded compliments with relative abandon. Below, a roundup of where the Kitchen Confidential author stopped and, more importantly, what he said about it.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Sports

Comments

Reason to Love Toronto: because the Argos finally gave local fans a hometown victory

(Image: Facebook)

Sports fandom in Toronto is tough. The last time the Blue Jays were World Series champs was two decades ago (though next season should be interesting); for the Maple Leafs, it’s been much, much longer since they took home the cup. Toronto FC had a dismal year, and the Raptors’ record is currently 3–11. Leave it to the Argonauts, the Toronto sports team with the lowest profile, to give the city a much-needed reason to celebrate. The Argos’ 35–22 triumph over the Calgary Stampeders in the 100th Grey Cup—in Toronto, no less—has loyal fans elated, Calgarians humbled and the ranks of local CFL watchers swelling (at least temporarily). Bring on the victory parade.

The Dish

Where to Eat and Drink

1 Comment

Where to eat and drink near the 2012 Grey Cup

(Image: George Socka)

With 52,000 rabid Argos and Stamps fans crowding the streets around the Rogers Centre on Sunday, you need a game plan for pre- and post-game eating and drinking. Sure, you can pack into Loose Moose or Lone Star Texas Grillbut there are other, better dining options within a 20-minute walk of the dome. Here, your 15 best bets.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Sports

1 Comment

Seven Grey Cup bets we wish Rob Ford and Naheed Nenshi would make

 

After the Toronto Blue Jays’ Alex Anthopoulos opened the week with a blockbuster deal, Toronto sports fans were given another reason to celebrate at the end of the week: the Toronto Argonauts’ electrifying 27-20 triumph over Montreal yesterday, earning the squad a spot in the 100th Grey Cup. Which means the big game this Sunday at the Rogers Centre will pit the host city team against the Calgary Stampeders. Unsurprisingly, the already thriving Calgary versus Toronto rivalry is quickly escalating. Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi sent out a tweet this morning, trying to goad Rob Ford into a bet that would see the loser wear the opposing team’s jersey for a council meeting and donate his weight in food to the winning city’s food bank. Football-crazy Ford quickly accepted (with the requisite bit of trash talk), but not before Nenshi put out the call to his townsfolk for alternative wagers using the hashtag #mayorbet. Here, a quick list of our favourites.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Events

3 Comments

The Weekender: Toronto Jazz Festival, Top Gun! The Musical and six other items on our to-do list

1. TORONTO JAZZ FESTIVAL
At the risk of sounding a little cliché, this annual music fest is definitely in the “something for everyone” category. With upward of a thousand musicians playing hundreds of shows over the next 10 days, we are supremely confident that you’ll find at least one show you’ll want to attend, even if you’re not that into jazz. This weekend, be sure to catch soul singer Janelle Monae (Friday), Vancouver indie rocker Destroyer (Saturday), jazz pianist Hiromi and New Dutch Swing ensemble Ig Henneman Sextet (both Sunday). Later in the week, Natalie Cole, Ziggy Marley and Esperanza Spalding—the surprise Best New Artist winner at the 2011 Grammys—perform. June 22 to July 1. Various locations, torontojazz.com.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Random Stuff

3 Comments

Toronto vs. Chicago: mayors, ballparks and nicknames edition

After hearing that Chicago is crazy jealous of Toronto’s annual Luminato festival—and the international tourists it attracts—we got to wondering how Hogtown really stacks up against its similarly sized cousin. We looked at everything from restaurants named Acadia to notable rich guys to talk show hosts extraordinaire (and a whole bunch of other admittedly arbitrary categories). Here’s how the two cities compare in matters civic.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Sports

Comments

The economy wins! The Toronto Blue Jays win!! Everybody wins!!!

(Image: Joel Dinda)

Apparently, more bums in ballpark seats are a strong indicator of a growing economy. Canadian Business is reporting on a fun (albeit random) bit of economics put forward by analysts at the New York–based tech firm ConvergEX Group. The argument goes that the number of people who buy tickets to Major League Baseball games in any given season parallels consumer confidence. (Rocket science alert: people buy more stuff, like baseball tickets, when they have more money and feel good about spending it.) While the theory is obviously more than a little facile, it’s proving true as far as the Toronto Blue Jays are concerned—Canada’s economic health is quickly improving (good!) and so too is Blue Jays attendance this season (also good!). Of course, though a stronger economy may mean more Torontonians are getting their baseball on, we can think of another reason for locals to flock to the Rogers Centre—winning. Something the boys in blue have been doing a lot of lately. [Canadian Business]

The Informer

Sports

2 Comments

The Rogers Centre is one of the ugliest stadiums in baseball (but certainly not the ugliest)

Is it really that bad? (Image: Núria i JC)

In an arbitrary but amusing list of Major League Baseball’s ugliest parks, the Blue Jays’ home stadium netted the number eight spot. Buzzfeed slams the Rogers Centre (which will always be the SkyDome in our hearts, corporate sponsorship ownership be damned!) as “a relic of another time,” but we’ve always had a fondness for its dated charm. And doesn’t the world’s first fully retractable roof count for anything? We’re not too upset, though—we’re too busy feeling sorry for fans in Miami, forced to stare at a flamingo-encrusted monstrosity night after night.  Read the entire story [Buzzfeed] »