Volume 92, Issue 70

Tuesday, February 2, 1999


Clarifying the meaning of censorship

The only solution

Giving Exhibition a much better ending

Pointless football

Unnecessary grunting

South central vision

Giving Exhibition a much better ending

By Rick Rabba
Gazette Writer

In a depressing tumble of historic cement and stone, I recently witnessed, as did all of Ontario, the destruction of Exhibition Stadium.

I can honestly say this event has left me feeling more than a little remorseful. As I sat in front of my television, I was shocked at the fact that I didn't know anything about this, until it was realized in explosive style. How could the place which hosted more musical talent than most people witness in a lifetime be turned into "green space" so coldly?

The conversion of Exhibition Stadium to Ontario's most historic parking lot brought back a flood of childhood memories. Seeing my first professional baseball game is a particularly warm one. In my time there, I witnessed none other than Kelly Gruber pound out home run after home run. I have seen baseball giants like Dave Stieb and Tony Fernandez, the likes of whom will never be seen again, playing in their prime. I have seen men play baseball in Toronto in a stadium that was not a giant McDonald's with a giant television crammed inside.

Isn't that the real issue though? The fact the debt-ridden, sorry excuse for a dome of a ballpark has lost its glitter. The Blue Jays have forgotten how to play these past few years now that the shine on their luxurious waste of space has worn off. Sure, the best years of Toronto baseball unfolded there, but it had less to do with the sun roof stadium than it did with the heart and spirit of all the fans.

The SkyDome, much like the Ex, has indulged a range of musical talent, from the Three Tenors to the New Kids on the Block. Never have I heard about, nor experienced anything less than horrible acoustics from the sorriest excuse for a musical venue since my bathroom. If you go to a show at the Skydome and can hear or see anything, you must have divine senses, or about a million dollars for front row tickets. In that monster of a stadium, binoculars should be passed out at the door.

I feel the destruction of the Exhibition was perhaps warranted, however, the fact they tore it down to make a parking lot and leave the rest as "green space" made me feel strangely sad.

I don't know what it is about that place that touched me. It could have been the history, it could have been the fact that the dollar dome has lost its attractiveness, or it could have just been the fact that I spent so much time there. Whatever it is, Exhibition Stadium deserved a more dignified end than just some extra parking on the Lakeshore.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999