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Port Arthur Stadium in running for title of Canada's favourite ballpark

Port Arthur Stadium is in the running for the title of Canada’s Favourite Ballpark.
Port Arthur Stadium. (Jodi Lundmark,
Port Arthur Stadium is in the running for the title of Canada’s Favourite Ballpark.

The Thunder Bay stadium, which hosted last year’s World Junior Baseball Championship, is one of five Ontario ballparks on the list of 16 finalists in Baseball Canada’s online competition.

The prize is bragging rights and Baseball Canada’s manager of media and public relations Adam Morissette said the contest is to showcase the country’s ballparks that are home to amateur teams.

 “We thought there’s a lot of beautiful ballparks in Canada and we thought we’d have a bit of a contest to see Canada’s favourites, a chance for some exposure to the ballparks people generally don’t get a chance to see,” he said.

The organization received more than 40 submissions from the public and based on each ballpark’s history and the type of events hosted, whittled the list down to 16.

“Thunder Bay fit the criteria in all those categories,” Morissette said. “We felt here in the office it was definitely a strong candidate.”

Port Arthur Stadium, built in 1951, is celebrating its 60th anniversary this Thursday and while currently the park is host to the Thunder Bay Border Cats of the Northwoods League was also home to the Northern Professional League’s Thunder Bay Whiskey Jacks from 1993 to 1998.

“It’s a stadium with a lot of history,” said Larry Hebert, Thunder Bay International Baseball Association president, citing examples like Canadian little league championships held at the park and even former MLB star Darryl Strawberry hitting homeruns out of the park during the Whiskey Jack era.

But what will put Port Arthur Stadium in serious contention for the title is last year’s World Juniors.

“That was a really successful event. Baseball Canada knows that,” Hebert said. “They don’t get to vote but that event alone created so much hype in the community.”

Winning the title of Canada’s Favourite Ballpark will also be another tourism tool the city can use, he added.

“It’s just another feather in our cap,” he said.

The winner of the contest will be chosen by public voting. For the next four weeks, starting Monday, July 11, four of the finalists will be showcased on Baseball Canada’s website per week and the park with the most votes from each week will move on to the semi-finals.

After the semi-finals, the two parks with the most votes will go to the final round of voting.

A winner will be announced in early September and people can vote as many times as they want for their favourite ballpark.

“It’s up to the public to vote,” said Morissette. “They’ll ultimately decide the winners.”


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