Varsity Stadium was one of the country’s premiere sporting and concert venues for more than a century, host to such historic events as the 1950 Grey Cup, a.k.a. the Mud Bowl. The old stadium finally succumbed to nagging injuries when it was put on the permanent DL in 2002. In its place, Diamond + Schmitt Architects (the same team behind the city’s opera house) constructed a far more intimate venue. The newly completed stadium’s single grandstand on the east side seats 5,000, compared to the original U-shaped stadium’s 22,000-seat capacity. The concrete seating deck with metal benches looks onto an eight-lane high-performance running track ringing a FIFA-approved synthetic field that will host the U of T Varsity Blues’ intercollegiate matches in such sports as football, soccer and lacrosse. As with the opera house and its glazed facade, Diamond + Schmitt’s Varsity Centre succeeds best where it engages the urban context and draws the gaze of passersby. The field is surrounded on three sides by light metal fencing, which effectively opens it to the street. An elevated concrete observation platform at the northwest corner boasts the best views in the house, offering a free spot to take in the sight of the athletes, the crowd and a magnificent skyline view framing the far end zone.