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

1925 - Sign for the future site of Maple Leaf Stadium, once located at the foot of Bathurst St and Lake Shore Blvd W
1925 – Sign for the future site of Maple Leaf Stadium, once located at the foot of Bathurst St and Lake Shore Blvd W (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 6161)

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

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

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.

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 - Future site of Maple Leaf Stadium (Library and Archives Canada a073462)
1925 – Future site of Maple Leaf Stadium (Library and Archives Canada a073462)
1925 - Sign for the future site of Maple Leaf Stadium, once located at the foot of Bathurst St and Lake Shore Blvd W
1925 – Sign for the future site of Maple Leaf Stadium, once located at the foot of Bathurst St and Lake Shore Blvd W (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 6161)
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
1920s - Maple Leaf Stadium, Crosse & Blackwell factory and Loblaws warehouse, looking east (Toronto Public Library 942-1-16)
1920s – 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
1934 – Looking south from Fort York towards Maple Leaf Stadium and Tip Top Tailors
1934 – Looking south from Fort York towards Maple Leaf Stadium and Tip Top Tailors (Toronto Public Library R-6871)
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
1950s - Maple Leaf Stadium on Lake Shore Blvd, looking southwest
1950s – Maple Leaf Stadium on Lake Shore Blvd, looking southwest
1950s - Jack Kent Cooke with the Toronto Maple Leafs baseball players in the dugout
1950s – Jack Kent Cooke with the Toronto Maple Leafs baseball players in the dugout
1950s - Jack Kent Cooke presents a watch to a Toronto Maple Leafs baseball player
1950s – Jack Kent Cooke presents 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
1925 - Sign for the future site of Maple Leaf Stadium
1925 – Sign for the future site of Maple Leaf Stadium
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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