For those wishing to see a new stadium built in the Port Lands, for the views that such a location would offer with respect to the skyline, such an option is not viable. Why? MLB stadiums tend to have their fields oriented either in a northerly or northeasterly direction, in order to diminish glare from the sun. Were a stadium to be built here, with the objective of having the City skyline as the backdrop, it would have to be built in a westerly or north westerly direction, which isn't feasible, as that would face into the afternoon and evening sun, making it too difficult for the batters to see, not to mention adversely affecting the comfort of the fans. With that known, the Port Lands should be off the table, as an option. If a stadium was to go in here, it wouldn't have the dramatic views that some are envisioning, rather, the field would face somewhere out over the City, east of the Don River. This would be unremarkable as a backdrop, with virtually nothing of interest being visible, thereby greatly diminishing the atmosphere. Even if a prospective stadium in the Port Lands could face toward downtown, the views of the skyline from east of the Financial District, aren't the most flattering vantage points of the City. From downtown, the most dramatic and aesthetically pleasing direction from which to view the skyline is looking northeast from the Islands/lake; which brings to me to my next point.
Unfortunately, this is more of a 'pie in the sky' fantasy, but the most ideal location for a new stadium for the Blue Jays would be on the site of Billy Bishop Airport, facing northeast, either where the airport structures are located, or southeast of that, toward (not on) the edge of the runway that juts out into the inner harbour. This would more or less offer the same kind of views that were historically used in many Toronto postcards, prior to CityPlace, when the CN Tower, SkyDome, and Financial District could be viewed from this sort of vantage, mostly uninterrupted by condos. Below are some examples of what I mean:
Abutting the portion of the runway, in the foreground, is where I would love to see a new stadium built. This, more or less, offers a slightly elevated view of what the stadium would have looked onto circa the 1990s.
(Refer to the satellite image, below) The further to the right of this area of Centre Island (as close as possible to the inner harbour), the more unobstructed the views would be toward the CN Tower and the CBD (Central Business District). CityPlace's lacklustre skyline would most only be seen in one's peripheral vision (unless one was sitting on the right side of home plate). Views of the Mirvish/Gehry towers would also supplement what would be one of the greatest, if not the preeminent, backdrop for a stadium in Major League Baseball. Obviously, even if the prospect of building a stadium on the Islands was viable, getting to and from the mainland, and the stadium, would require at least a bridge, in addition to the extant tunnel, to accommodate that many people.
My preferred site for the stadium would be north of the tree line, where the runways join in a point, adjacent to the harbour. Those views (refer to the ensuing images) toward the CN Tower and the City's main cluster of office towers would remain relatively unhindered by future development.
To be honest though. Field orientation is not that much of a big deal as some make it out to be. Sure in the early days of baseball where there was no lighting and games HAD to be played in the daytime there would be consideration of orientation but with the advent of lighting and the ability to play games in the evening the issue has be mostly dealt with, and many stadiums simply deal with odd shadows. The blue Jays for example play virtually all of their games at 1pm when the sun is high in the sky or 7pm when the setting sun has already dipped behind the surrounding towers. To build a stadium in the port lands sight with outfield views of the downtown skyline would require an orientation from NW (certainly difficult as the sun would be directly in the batters eye) to W-SW. The Rogers Centre's orientation is currently very nearly N and that would still work in the Port Lands with the view port being in Left Field
Potential ground level views. These photos were taken closer to the channel, however. The location I have in mind would be further south:
Though, evening glare from the South Core towers might pose an issue.
Imagine the views of the lake that one could have from the concourse of a hypothetical stadium, at this location. One could also get incredible views of the inside of the stadium from the CN Tower's main observation deck (where this photo was taken from). The runway portion that juts out into the lake could be removed, thereby expanding the harbour, or that land could be turned into a massive pier or some other park use, tying in with other revitalization plans for the vast amount of open green space at this end of the island.
I'm just curious: What alternative sites could Billy Bishop relocate to? Demolishing the current airport wouldn't be too expensive, given its small scale. Have there ever been serious talks about moving it elsewhere? Its such a waste of prime land. The only building project that I would support here would be a new MLB stadium (perhaps with a few restaurants), with additional tree planting, and a revitalization of the surrounding park land to accommodate fans, before and after games, as well as other visitors to the Islands.
Lastly, I echo the sentiments of those who wish to see the SkyDome preserved and repurposed (what for, I don't know). It is an integral piece of our central skyline, and an engineering marvel of its time. With respect to whatever ends up getting built ― wherever that may be ― an international design competition, bringing together the world's foremost architects, should be strongly considered.