Once inside, it was clear the familiar bright green of the blue-jays home turf had been replaced in favour of an enticing glow of indigo lighting. The mood was set. A runway-style stage protruded from the standing-room-only flight deck bar, and culminated in a centralized square where Jose Bautista and Co. normally patrol the outfield.
After some warm up dances with CBC news anchors Anne Marie Mediwake, Dwight Drummond, and the official Pan Am Mascot, Pachi the porcupine, the event kicked off in spectacular fashion with former Canadian Gold Medalist Donovan Bailey base jumping from the ledge of the CN Tower.
Donovan was then lowered via cable harness from the metal rafters of the closed dome, torch in hand.
Cirque D’ Soleil introduced themselves through an intense and characteristically mystifying routine, before the countries sauntered in one by one. A great roar went up as Canada concluded the march.
The eclectic gymnasts’ ensemble returned to the stage to dazzle and impress once more until the evening was rounded out with a few traditionally cordial speeches and an impressive fireworks explosion heard and seen by all in the downtown core that night.
The games were declared open, and a distinctly Canadian brand of warm patriotism replaced any lingering disdain towards the games.