Poor Domer. All he ever wanted to be in life was a mascot. For a talking turtle who walks on his hind legs and plays baseball, there aren’t a lot of other career choices. But as luck would have it, Domer got his chance in 1989, with the opening of Toronto’s SkyDome stadium.
When I first met Domer I was in rehearsals to be part of the Dome’s opening ceremonies. The show was ridiculously corny and badly choreographed, but I was still excited to be part of the action and get a chance to be on the field in front of a crowd of 50,000. I was part of the “We are Toronto” segment, representing the Ukrainian community, along with 67 other nations.
But alas, Domer’s career would be short-lived. The opening ceremonies ended up a complete fiasco, with the organizers insisting on opening the roof despite torrential rains which flooded the entire field with several inches of water (it was a domed stadium, so why would they need a drainage system?) Expensive ethnic costumes and equipment were ruined, leading to a class-action lawsuit by some of the performers. And within a decade, the SkyDome itself would be bankrupt and known as the “mistake by the lake,” with the already severely over-budget stadium sold off to the private sector for a fraction of its original price.
Domer never stood a chance. Finding himself unemployed and relegated to the dustbin of mascot history, he promptly hid himself in the back of a closet in my parent’s house, where he’s been ever since. But I managed to coax him out long enough to snap this one rare photograph.