Sometimes you come across something on the Internet that is so unexpected and joyful you find yourself stumbling down a rabbit hole and only coming up for air half an hour later wondering where the time went.
Aaron’s Minecraft Youtube channel is one of those things. The 18-year-old Vancouver student, who requested his last name remain unprinted, is a casual B.C. Lions fan and has been playing Minecraft for a decade. The video game has a variety of modes and settings, but essentially allows the player to use materials to build infrastructure.
When COVID-19 hit last year, Aaron decided to use some of his extra time to construct his favourite Canadian sports stadiums. To date, he has built IG Field, Tim Hortons Field, TD Place, McMahon Stadium, and Croix-Bleue Medavie Stadium in Moncton.
“I figured no one was allowed to actually go into the stadiums anymore, so I chose to build them in Minecraft as a way for people to still explore them,” he said.
He believes that CFL stadiums are spectacular pieces of architecture that should be shown off to the world.
“I might be a bit biased, but BC Place is a world-class venue simply because of its new roof,” said Aaron.
Due to his busy lifestyle, Aaron only has time to build in Minecraft a couple times a week. His process is detail-oriented and time consuming, with each stadium taking between 20 and 30 hours to be fully fleshed out and come to life.
He literally has to reconstruct each building brick by brick. Although, he has actually been to BC Place, McMahon Stadium and the Rogers Centre, Aaron doesn’t recreate the stadiums from memory.
Instead, he spends hours finding images of the stadiums from every possible angle and bases his builds off of them.
“Google Maps and the street view function are what really enables me to do what I do,” he said.
The finished products are stunning and for anyone who has actually watched a game live at a stadium, they can see that nothing has been overlooked.
“The best part of building these maps is when I finish them and see the build from a distance. It’s so satisfying to see your work and compare it with a picture of the real thing and realize you nailed it. It makes up for the tedious part which is completing the interior of the stadiums, such as the areas underneath the seats,” said Aaron.
“Given that I’m trying to make each build as close to the real thing as possible, those are the worst areas to do as there aren’t always a lot of good reference pictures available for those spaces.”
After a build is finished, Aaron posts it to his YouTube channel and on Discord, where he is a part of a small community of Minecraft builders who are constantly building, sharing and providing feedback on each other’s work.
“The majority of the comments I get when I share my work are quite positive, which of course is nice. It’s also cool to see my stuff get shared around and awhile back I even had the Canadian Premier League post some of videos on their social media channels which was neat.”
In addition to the CFL stadiums, Aaron, a soccer fan who supports his local Whitecaps, has also built a number of Canadian Premier League venues including Westhills Stadium (home of Pacific FC), Clarke Stadium (FC Edmonton), York Lions Stadium (York United FC), ATCO Field (Cavalry FC) and Wanderers Grounds (HFX Wanderers).
When asked about plans for future stadium builds, Aaron notes that he’s currently working to complete Regina’s Mosaic Stadium and also hopes to one day build Montreal’s Olympic Stadium. After he finishes his Canadian series, he’ll look to build some international buildings as well.