Did you know about Maple Leaf Stadium? It was located at the foot of Bathurst St, south of Lake Shore Blvd West in the Bathurst Quay district 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 Islands
Lol Solman was the owner and president of the team. He also owned the Toronto Ferry Company and had many business interests on the Toronto Islands. Prior to the ball team moving to Maple Leaf Stadium in 1926, they played at Hanlan‘s Point Stadium/Maple Leaf Park on the islands for nearly 30 years. This was where 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 stadium was torn down to make way for the Toronto Island Airport, today’s Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
Maple Leaf Stadium
Back to the stadium… the team was attracting a lot of fans in the 1950s. Lol Solman sold the team to Jack Kent Cooke in 1951. 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. It also includes a street that’s been appropriately named Stadium Rd.