The Toronto Blue Jays ended a 22-year playoff drought this October, and fans all over the city are excited about it. Mayor John Tory and city officials are helping them express that excitement, even if they don’t have tickets to get into Rogers Centre for one of the games.
Nathan Phillips Square, the area just outside City Hall, has been transformed during the Jays’ playoff run into the Birds’ Nest, attracting more than 5,000 people during the team’s American League Division Series win over the Texas Rangers and at least that many during the American League Championship Series against the defending American League champion Kansas City Royals.
Andrew Rose, account manager for Westbury National Show Systems, says the request from Mayor Tory to install a temporary LED wall was a “spur-of-the-moment” decision that saw the company hired to do the job Oct. 5 in time for the Jays’ first playoff game three days later.
In addition to attracting attention of the public because of its prominent location, Westbury also had to wait for the city council to give its approval for Tory’s idea, although the plan was expedited given the tight timeline involved, says Rose.
“It becomes a bit of an information booth with lots of media running around,” he says.
The screen, made up of 6mm outdoor displays, was originally 10 feet by 12 feet and has been rebuilt three times to its current size of 12 feet by 20 feet. Should the Blue Jays win the final three games of the ALCS and advance to the World Series, Rose has heard rumors the wall may get even bigger.
The early-morning installation was “pretty straightforward,” says Rose, with a rigger, lighting engineer, video engineer and one other person on the scene during the work. Because many of the Blue Jays’ games during the playoff have started in the mid- to late afternoon, crowds have built as the games have gone on, he says.
“It really fills in as everyone gets out of work,” says Rose.
This isn’t the first time Westbury has been involved in a project aimed at helping Blue Jays fans enjoy their baseball team. Three years ago, Westbury installed 300 screens in and around Rogers Centre.
Here’s a look at one of the celebrations, with Blue Jays fans singing “OK, Blue Jays” from Toronto Mayor John Tory’s Twitter feed:
— John Tory (@JohnTory) October 15, 2015