Maple Leaf Stadium – Home to One of Toronto’s Greatest Baseball Teams

1925 - Sign for the future site of Maple Leaf Stadium on Fleet St
1925 – Sign for the future site of Maple Leaf Stadium on Fleet St

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

1930 - Maple Leaf Stadium, looking south (Library and Archives Canada a098369)
1930 – Maple Leaf Stadium, looking south (Library and Archives Canada a098369)

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.

Maple Leaf Stadium Photos

1929 - Maple Leaf Stadium at Fleet & Bathurst Sts, looking southeast
1929 – Maple Leaf Stadium at Fleet & Bathurst Sts, looking southeast
1925 - Sign for the future site of Maple Leaf Stadium on Fleet St
1925 – Sign for the future site of Maple Leaf Stadium on Fleet St
1925 - Future site of Maple Leaf Stadium (Library and Archives Canada a073462)
1925 – Future site of Maple Leaf Stadium (Library and Archives Canada a073462)
1926 - Construction on Maple Leaf Stadium in May
1926 – Construction on Maple Leaf Stadium in May
1926 - Construction on the west face of Maple Leaf Stadium on April 25
1926 – Construction on the west face of Maple Leaf Stadium on April 25
1920's - Maple Leaf Stadium, Crosse & Blackwell factory and Loblaws warehouse, looking east (Toronto Public Library 942-1-16)
1920’s – Maple Leaf Stadium, Crosse & Blackwell factory and Loblaws warehouse, looking east (Toronto Public Library 942-1-16)
1930 - Maple Leaf Stadium, looking south (Library and Archives Canada a098369)
1930 – Maple Leaf Stadium, looking south (Library and Archives Canada a098369)
1934 - Maple Leaf Stadium and Loblaws warehouse, looking southeast from Fort York
1934 – Maple Leaf Stadium and Loblaws warehouse, looking southeast from Fort York
1935/36 - Maple Leaf Stadium, Imperial Gasoline sign and Crosse & Blackwell factory on Fleet St, looking east
1935/36 – Maple Leaf Stadium, Imperial Gasoline sign and Crosse & Blackwell factory on Fleet St, looking east
1940 - Aerial view of Bathurst St and Lake Shore Blvd
1940 – Aerial view of Bathurst St and Lake Shore Blvd
1950's - Maple Leaf Stadium on Lake Shore Blvd, looking southwest
1950’s – Maple Leaf Stadium on Lake Shore Blvd, looking southwest
1950's - Jack Kent Cooke with the Toronto Maple Leafs baseball players in the dugout
1950’s – Jack Kent Cooke with the Toronto Maple Leafs baseball players in the dugout
1950's - Jack Kent Cooke presenting a watch to a Toronto Maple Leafs baseball player
1950’s – Jack Kent Cooke presenting a watch to a Toronto Maple Leafs baseball player
1950/68 - Aerial view of Maple Leaf Stadium and Tip Top Tailors, looking north (Library and Archives Canada a052430)
1950/68 – Aerial view of Maple Leaf Stadium and Tip Top Tailors, looking north (Library and Archives Canada a052430)
1950/68 - Crowds at Maple Leaf Stadium, looking southwest towards Tip Top Tailors
1950/68 – Crowds at Maple Leaf Stadium, looking southwest towards Tip Top Tailors
1950/68 - Main entrance of Maple Leaf Stadium
1950/68 – Main entrance of Maple Leaf Stadium
1950/68 - Baseball game at Maple Leaf Stadium
1950/68 – Baseball game at Maple Leaf Stadium
1963 - Maple Leaf Stadium, Joy Gas Station and Tip Top Tailors on Lake Shore Blvd W looking southeast
1963 – Maple Leaf Stadium, Joy Gas Station and Tip Top Tailors on Lake Shore Blvd W looking southeast
1968 - Maple Leaf Stadium on Lake Shore Blvd W, looking southeast
1968 – Maple Leaf Stadium on Lake Shore Blvd W, looking southeast
1953 - The Toronto City Directory showing the address and phone number of Maple Leaf Stadium
1953 – The Toronto City Directory showing the address and phone number of Maple Leaf Stadium (Toronto Public Library)
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