Expanded and renovated museum now open to the public
By Pat Payton
The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame held a ‘grand re-opening’ last Thursday to proudly show off its expanded and renovated museum at its 386 Church St. S. location.
More than 100 guests were invited for a memorable evening, including past CBHFM inductees Ferguson Jenkins, Ron Taylor and Don McDougall. Bruce Prentice, founder of the Hall, was also on hand.
St. Marys Mayor Al Strathdee and other elected officials such as Randy Pettapiece, MPP for Perth Wellington, attended as well. Baseball Hall of Fame board chair Adam Stephens was Master of Ceremonies.
“This expanded and renovated museum allows for a much fuller and deeper celebration than previously offered,” Stephens said in his address. “This physical expansion is simple and smart and was envisioned and overseen by the Marklevitz architect firm.
“We welcome thousands of kids here each year to play on Canada’s field of dreams. Now, more than ever, there is a link between the breathtaking baseball fields and the history of the game. This tie, and our ability to educate kids about the long and proud history of the game in Canada, will make playing at this site a rite of passage for every Canadian kid with a passion for baseball.
“This whole endeavour is to be cherished by all who believe in the importance of celebrating baseball’s Canadian past. It is the culmination of about 40 years worth of efforts by board members, volunteers and donors.”
A special ‘first pitch’ was delivered by Fergie Jenkins to officially open the new museum. Stephens introduced the Chatham native and Hall of Famer as “Canada’s best-ever baseball player.”
The revamped museum, which includes a 2,500-square-foot addition, boasts new interactive exhibits and a visitors lounge for groups and social events. Also featured are an archive and resource library that houses the Hall’s historic documents and serves as the new home of the Centre for Canadian Baseball Research.
Renovations to the original stone house, which has functioned as the museum’s home for the past two decades, have also been completed. This part of the museum will continue to showcase one-of-a-kind artifacts, but in fresh new professionally designed displays.
“This grand re-opening marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for our museum,” chair Adam Stephens continued. “We’re looking forward to every fan of Canadian baseball being able to see our enhanced facility and our new and interactive exhibits that tell the story of Canada’s rich baseball history.”
The Hall’s brand-new visitors’ lounge features a unique collection of original baseball artwork and offers guests an opportunity to view footage from previous induction ceremonies. This room will also be available to the public to rent.
With the new archive and resource library, the Hall will be able to better store its collection, while the Centre for Canadian Baseball Research provides opportunities for researchers to access the Hall’s vast collection of historical resources and documents.
Museum now open
The museum opened its doors to the public this past Saturday, Apr. 27. It will be open six days a week (Tuesdays through Sundays) right through to Sept. 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will be closed on Mondays, except for holidays. For fall and winter hours, please check the CBHFM website.
The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame would like to thank the following financial supporters whose generous contributions helped make the new museum possible:
• Charles Bronfman, Government of Ontario.
• R. Howard Webster Foundation.
• Kaye and Paul Beeston, FedDev Ontario, Margaret D King and Family, In Memory of the John Marshall Lind Family, Don and Marion McDougall, Rotary Club of St. Marys, J.B. and Tish Tudor.
• Rogers Communications Inc., Cathy and Rob Taylor, Larry Walker.
• Tammy Adkin, Barb and Keith Fawcett, The Hamade Family, Joan and Dick MacPherson, Philip Parkinson, John Starzynski, Adam and Deidra Stephens.
• Michael and Susan Davies, John and Patricia Harlton, Betsy and Anthony Little, Ken and Madeline Parkinson, and Bob and Gill Stephens.
Grand opening notes:
–In his address, Adam Stephens thanked Scott Crawford, the CBHFM’s Director of Operations. “He has worked tirelessly on this project,” the chair said. “He’s passion in action, loyal and dedicated to this project and the Hall’s mandate like no one else, and we are so lucky to have him.”
–A special guest last Thursday was Anakin Slade, of Montreal. He has twice served as master of ceremonies at Hall of Fame inductions in St. Marys. Slade is a member of a group trying to bring Major League baseball back to Montreal. Representing the Blue Jays were TJ Burton and Jeff Halloway.
–Marie Fanning, wife of the late great Jim Fanning, a 2000 Hall inductee, and their two children were also on hand for the museum re-opening.
–There are currently 134 inductees in the Canadian Hall, which moved to St. Marys in 1994. The museum’s permanent gallery is named after Charles Bronfman, the founder and original owner of the Montreal Expos, and a big supporter of the Hall.
–The expanded Hall includes extensive climate-controlled space for the proper storage of the Hall’s artifacts and exhibits not currently on display.