“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Toronto, Ontario — Central Canada

Toronto's first professional stadium: Sunlight Park 1886 - 1896

Sunlight Park Marker image. Click for full size.
By Erik Lander, April 16, 2013
1. Sunlight Park Marker
Inscription. "Sunlight Park" was constructed in 1886 as the Toronto Baseball Grounds. The smell of baked potatoes and cigars greeted fans filing in to the park through an avenue of workers' cottages called "Baseball Place". The stands, four storeys high and surrounded by a 4 m wooden fence, sat 2,250 paying customers. Admission was 25 cents. The grounds became known as Sunlight Park after William Hesketh Lever opened Sunlight Soap Works south of the park in 1893. Toronto won its first professional baseball title here on Saturday, September 17, 1897. The hero was rising superstar pitcher/outfielder Edward "Ned" Crane, nicknamed "Cannonball" for his long distance throwing feats. Over 17,000 fans witnessed the first two games against Newark, New Jersey to decide the International League champion.

Crane pitched Toronto to a 15-5 win in the morning game and, to the delight of fans, pitched all of the second game (even though he severely sprained his ankle in the fourth). After hitting a base-clearing drive in the eighth to send the game to extra innings, he hit a home run in the eleventh to steal a 5-4 Toronto victory (the roar of the crowd was heard as far as Yonge and King).

Crane returned to the park Sunday, with sore ankle and shoulder, and pitched Toronto to another victory (22-8).

Today, Eastern Avenue cuts across the old infield of Sunlight Park. The site of the wooden structure lies just to the south of Queen Street, just to the south east of this plaque. Sunlight Park Road traces the southern edge of the field.

As Dr. Meyer puts it, "There is still something about the site of this first stadium that is magical, beyond the buzz of the city's traffic, beneath layers of concrete and years that have buried the old green field. It is still possible to stand here and imagine what it must have been like, what that crowd fifteen deep in the outfield must have felt, what it was to go home a winner."
Location. 43° 39.489′ N, 79° 21.116′ W. Marker is in Toronto, Ontario. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 655 Queen Street East, Toronto, Ontario M4M 1G4, Canada.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 kilometers of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Mary Ann Shadd Cary (approx. 1.9 kilometers away); The Royal York Hotel (approx. 2.8 kilometers away); South African War Memorial (approx. 2.9 kilometers away); The Bishop’s Palace 1818 (approx. 2.9 kilometers away); Canadian Airmen Monument (approx. 3 kilometers away); The Discovery of Insulin (approx. 3.4 kilometers away); Charles William Jefferys (approx. 3.4 kilometers away); William Arthur Parks 1868-1936 (approx. 3.5 kilometers away). Click for a list of all markers in Toronto.
Categories. Sports
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Erik Lander of Brooklyn, New York. This page has been viewed 374 times since then and 100 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on , by Erik Lander of Brooklyn, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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