Because the stadium was the first of its kind in the world, the architects and engineers kept the design simple (by using a sturdy dome shape) and used proven technologies to move the roof. It was important the design would work and be reliable as to avoid the various problems that plagued Montreal’s Olympic Stadium.
The 31-storey high roof consists of four panels; one (on the north end) is fixed in place and the other three are moved by electrically driven ‘train’ engines, that run on high strength railway rails. The roof, which takes 20 minutes to open, was made out of steel trusses covered by corrugated steel cladding, which in turn is covered by a single-ply PVC membrane.
Because of its location south of the major railway corridor, new pedestrian connections had to be built; the infrastructure was part of the reason for the high cost of the stadium. The SkyWalk is an approximately 500-metre (1,600 ft) enclosed walkway that leads from the base of the CN Tower and via a bridge connects to Union Station (and is part of the PATH network). The John Street cable-stayed bridge was built to provide north–south passage over the rail tracks, linking Front Street with the stadium.
Construction at the site, which at one time was south of the shoreline, unearthed over 1,500 artifacts. These included a 200-year-old French cannon used as ballast for a ship, cannonballs, pottery and a telescope. The stadium was completed two months late, having been planned to open for the first regular season Toronto Blue Jays game in 1989; the team played the first two months of their home schedule at Exhibition Stadium that year.