On July 13th, 2022, Mayor John Tory and Councillor Gary Crawford 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.
The 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 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
“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
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.