Maple Leaf Stadium was once located at the foot of Bathurst St, south of Lake Shore Blvd W in the Bathurst Quay area of Toronto.
Home of the Toronto Maple Leafs Baseball Club
The stadium was home to the minor league Maple Leafs baseball team. It was built in 1926 on reclaimed land owned by the Toronto Harbour Commission. The 23,500-seat Fenway-style stadium was designed by architects Chapman & Oxley. It was made from concrete and steel. Opening day was postponed by a day due to a soggy field.
The Park and Stadium on Toronto Island
Before the ball team moved to Maple Leaf Stadium in 1926, they played at Hanlan’s Point Stadium/Maple Leaf Park on Toronto Island. In May 1897, Toronto played its first professional baseball game at Hanlan’s Point against Rochester. Part of the Eastern League, Toronto lost their first game in front of 2,000 cheering fans. From 1901 to 1907, the team moved to Diamond Park before returning to Toronto Island in 1908.
At Maple Leaf Park in September 1914, a 19-year-old Babe Ruth hit his one and only home run in the minors. The Bambino was a pitcher for the Providence Grays, who won in a 9/0 shutout.
The Island’s Maple Leaf Park was torn down in the 1930s to make way for the Toronto Island Airport, today’s Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
Maple Leaf Stadium
Back to Maple Leaf Stadium… in the early 1950s, the ball club attracted many fans, and in 1951 the team was sold to Jack Kent Cooke. He was also the owner of the CKEY radio station. The Maple Leafs, who started playing in 1896 and are part of the top 100 minor league teams of all time, flourished under Mr Cooke. He made some renovations to upkeep the stadium and used various techniques to promote the team, but by the early 1960s, attendance started to dwindle. The team was sold a few times in the 1960s, then moved to Louisville, Kentucky, in 1968. The stadium was demolished that same year.
The Area Today
Today, the land is part residential and home to Little Norway Park as well as a gas station. The area also has a street that’s been appropriately named Stadium Rd.