Today, Mayor John Tory and Councillor Gary Crawford (Scarborough Southwest) joined Robert Witchel, Executive Director of Jays Care Foundation; Archie Allison, Director of Access and Awareness at Variety Village and Brandy Halladay to officially open Roy Halladay Field, Toronto’s first fully-accessible baseball field, at Highview Park in Scarborough. Brandy is the wife of late Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay.
The venue, covered in vulcanized rubber for traction, features wide, double-row dugouts that allow players in wheelchairs to easily manoeuvre. The fully-accessible diamond will be used by athletes who are part of Jays Care Challenger Baseball program. Challenger Baseball league, run by Little League Canada, Baseball Canada and Jays Care, is an adaptive baseball program for kids living with cognitive and/or physical disabilities.
On May 5, 2021, Toronto City Council approved naming the field after the late Roy Halladay, under motion 32.32, in honour of the former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher’s number. Jays Care Foundation will provide adaptive baseball programming at Highview Park for a five-year term.
Today’s opening event featured a formal ceremony and ribbon-cutting involving the Halladay family, followed by a Challenger Baseball game between two local teams, with Braden Halladay, Roy’s son, throwing the first pitch.
The site at 150 Highview Ave. was selected because of its proximity to Variety Village, which will also offer programming at the field. Construction of the accessible diamond began in 2019 and the project was made possible through a $1 million capital infrastructure investment from Jays Care and additional funding by the City. Since 2001, Jays Care Foundation has donated more than $2 million in capital funding for baseball diamonds and fields across Toronto through their Field of Dreams program.
The field was named after Roy Halladay in recognition of his commitment to Toronto youth and the impact he made on the city during his time as a Blue Jay. In 2003, Roy and his wife Brandy began hosting kids in “Doc’s Box”, extending the invitation for families from SickKids to watch live Blue Jays games. Roy Halladay field honours his dedication and contributions to Toronto communities.
Roy Halladay Field will be a safe space for athletes of all abilities to learn and develop important life skills through the game of baseball.
“The City has been a champion of inclusive youth sports and recreation for a long time. The opening of Roy Halladay Field is a historic day for Toronto, and was made possible because of the partnership with Jays Care. It means that a lot of young people with unique abilities will be able to play the game of baseball on an incredible field in our city. This is a fitting tribute to the legacy of Roy Halladay and to our shared commitment as a community to ensure everyone has access to sports.”
– Mayor John Tory
“Roy Halladay Field is an impressive, accessible, diverse and inclusive space. I am particularly thrilled that Variety Village, with whom I’ve worked for a long time, will benefit from the facilities. It is a place for athletes of all abilities in the community, where they can learn and develop important life skills through the game of baseball.”
– Councillor Gary Crawford (Scarborough Southwest)
“Jays Care Foundation is proud to officially open Roy Halladay Field, a space that will give thousands of children across the city of Toronto the opportunity to play and learn through the game of baseball. Roy shared in our vision that children of all abilities should be given the chance to play and we are thrilled to dedicate this diamond in his name. We would like to thank our generous supporters for making this diamond possible and the Halladay family for joining us on this meaningful day.”
– Robert Witchel, Executive Director, Jays Care Foundation
“We are excited to join the celebration today of Roy Halladay Field. As Toronto’s first accessible baseball diamond this will be a new opportunity for our kids and families to play, participate or compete in the community. We would like to thank the Jays Care Foundation and the City of Toronto for their continued efforts to support initiatives for accessible and inclusive sport and creating spaces that everybody can enjoy.”
– Archie Allison, Director of Access and Awareness, Variety – the Children’s Charity (Ontario) | Variety Village
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