What was once the largest sporting venue in North America is now no more.
At 127 acres, more than 80,000 seats, and countless events over its 42 year existence, the Silverdome was a beacon of excitement. Though it's not a location in Ontario, it's one no doubt familiar to anyone in southwestern Ontario.
People of a certain age from hundreds of kilometers in any direction have memories of the Silverdome it seems. Maybe a first concert, first sports game, or memorable life event took place there. Maybe someone remembered watching the Super Bowl at the Silverdome from their own home. But tens of thousands of seats over thousands of events over dozens of years can't create anything other than millions of memories.
But even the magnificent space was not immune from Michigan's economic decline in the latter part of the 20th century. In 2002, the Detroit Lions played their final game in the venue, moving to a smaller stadium in downtown Detroit.
Lots of people had grand plans for the Silverdome, including an ambitious goal of reopening it as recently as a few years ago to once again hold sporting events. All of these ideas were doomed for the same reason that the building closed down in the first place--it went from too big to fail to too big to succeed in its four-decade-long run.
Over the next 15 years, the Silverdome would play host to special events, such as Monster Jam, the 2010 NBA All-Star Game, and a couple of movie shoots (including the most recent Transformers movie, which was filmed just a few weeks before I visited the space.)
In 2013, the inflatable dome once covering the arena was damaged, further exposing the Silverdome to the elements.
From Led Zeppelin, to Pope John Paul II, to WrestleMania, only the most sought after would fill the space. Now, the land is destined to be a housing development.
After months of delays, the Silverdome was brought down in December of 2017 in a controlled demolition that was only successful on its second attempt. What remained of the structure was taken down in March of 2018, leaving just 55,000 cubic yards of crushed concrete behind. And the memories.