BMO Field: This is our House

We all chant it, we all believe it, but how much do we actually know about it?
by Sonja Missio   |   Monday, January 07, 2013

Red Dawn Rising - column on Toronto FC (TFC) & the Toronto Ontario soccer scene

On any given game day “This-Is-Our-House” can be heard ringing in the oval steel structure that is BMO Field.

The chant is not a just reminder to the visiting players, but also a reassurance to BMO’s own: this is ours, the fans’, and we are the foundation.

Yes, the Toronto FC roster may change and players and coaches will come and go, as they are merely just tenants – nay, squatters – that occupy the stadium. The true residents are those that surround them. They are the people who wear the badge no matter what and tend to never trade in their stripe for a new one.

However, what about the stadium itself? I am talking about the brick and mortar – or rather, steel and plastic bucket seats – that makes up BMO Field. For those of us who attend regularly, we have a tendency to take some of BMO beauty for granted. For others, the stadium can be overwhelming.

Here are a few facts and figures on BMO’s structure, history, special moments and damn good eats.  

Fast Facts

A quick look at some basic information and figures when it comes to BMO Field (all prices in Canadian dollars):

-Location: 170 Princes' Boulevard, Toronto, Ontario M6K 3C3 (south of the Gardiner Expressway, north of Lake Ontario)

-Building Cost: $62.9 million

-Pitch: Astroturf (2007 to 2009), grass (2010 to present) 

-Capacity: More than 20,000

-Ticket Prices: $27 to $121 (depending on the type of match being played, Premium or Regular)

-Executive Suites Rental Prices: $4,040.50 to $5,266.50

BMO Stadium Firsts

Some of the “firsts” to happen at BMO field, which includes Genesis:

-Home Game: April 28, 2007, against Kansas City Wizards (also TFC’s first home loss)

-Goal Scored: Eddie Johnson (Kansas City Wizards, on April 28, 2007)

-Toronto FC Goal Scored: Danny Dichio (May 12, 2007, against Chicago Fire)

-Toronto FC Red Card: Danny Dichio (May 12, 2007, against Chicago Fire)

-Goal Scored by a Canadian: David Edgar (May 11, 2007, Canada – Argentina U-20 friendly)

-MLS Cup hosted: November 21, 2010, between Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas

-Concert: Genesis (September 7th, 2007, and I believe it was the last)

Non-MLS/CONCACAF Events

Other things to have happened at BMO that did not involve Toronto FC:

-Canadian National team games, including its recent World Cup Qualifying campaign

-Various summer competitions for European club teams, including Juventus, Benfica, and Celtic

-Various rugby and lacrosse games

-Future sporting venue for the 2015 Pan American Games

-And…

The U-20 World Cup

In the summer of 2007, Canada hosted the U-20 World Cup. BMO Field, then referred to as the National Soccer Stadium, hosted several games, including the final. Many up-and-coming players participated in the tournament, including some familiar names you may never have realized scored a goal at BMO (and in some cases, several!):  

-Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero (Argentina)

-AS Roma’s Michael Bradley (USA)

-Real Madrid’s Angel di Maria (Real Madrid)

-Manchester United’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernández (Mexico)

-Liverpool’s Luis Suarez (Uruguay)

That’s just to name drop a few (teams are who they currently play for). Other who played on BMO’s pitch (but did not score) included: Juventus’ Arturo Vidal (Chile), Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez (Chile), and Juventus’ Mauricio Isla (Chile). BMO Field also saw referring from prominent European referees such as Howard Webb (England) and Wolfgang Stark (Germany).

Personal Favourites

Photo of BMO Field/Toronto skyline by Sonja Missio

I can only speak for myself, but here are some of my personal favourites about BMO Field:

-I GOT TO SEE LUCA TONI IN REAL LIFE AT BMO! (Yes, he was playing for Juventus –ugh – but he was still close enough to be breathing the same air as me! I have an irrational, but gleeful, obsession with Luca Toni.)

-Superior sippy cup technology, especially when compared to the rest of Toronto sporting venues. The Air Canada Centre’s lids flip into the cup (as oppose to BMO’s that lock securely in place upwards) and the Skydome (or, “Rogers Centre” for non-Torontonians) give their beer in cans (drinking from a can is gross).
 
-Best stadium food; my personal favourites include the pulled pork sandwich (hold the coleslaw, topped off with hot peppers) and the original chip butty (a sandwich made out of French fries and mayonnaise that my brother swears he invented when he was 7 years old).
 
-My second home in the summer; I honestly know it better than my place of employment.

-It is my favourite spot in Toronto because it has my favourite view in Toronto (as seen on the left, a shot taken by me 2011 Nutrilite Game against FC Edmonton).

-A place where I have made great friends and a couple of enemies.

-Where I saw Alexis Sanchez and Mauricio Isla play for the first time. Little did I know at the time that they would both become important players of my beloved (and be-hated) Udinese.

-The only place in the world where the women’s bathroom line is shorter than the men’s.

-Easy to get to; pretty much every form of transit can get you there, including by boat.

My Only Concerns

When I was a teacher’s assistant for a first-year Intro to Comm course at Brock University, I was told that whenever giving a student creative criticism, I should live by the mantra “three stars and a wish.” In other words, build them up before gently suggesting an improvement. The above were my stars, and here are my two wishes:

-Please accept my ID and allow me to buy a drink. Scouts honour: I am over the age of 18. Yes, I may not have Ontario identification, but I promise you, my Swiss identification card is not a forgery. Trust me, the Swiss are very serious when they issue them   

-Bring back the curry fries. Please. 

Sonja MISSIO

Nationality:
Canada
College:
Univ. of Guelph, Univ. of W. Ontario, Brock University
Club Domestic:
Toronto FC
Club Foreign:
Udinese
Supported Udinese since birth, TFC was her own stupid decision; writing on her masochistic relationship with soccer started after. Doomed as a Canadian - Friulano - Swiss - Filipina. Searching for Juventini actually from Turin and running for FIFA Prez.
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