|Maple Leaf Stadium, 1958|
This photo is looking north at the intersection of Bathurst and Fleet Street (nowadays Lake Shore Boulevard passes through too). Today, the eastern side of the intersection is pretty much the same: Rogers now owns that building on the south-east corner and the old abandoned Daily Bread Food Bank warehouse is still on the north-east. The west side, though, is completely different. On the northern corner, there's a condo tower these days and Douglas Coupland's tin solider monument commemorating the War of 1812. On the south side, where the gorgeous Maple Leaf Stadium once stood, there's now an Esso station and some co-op housing.
The stadium opened in 1926 as the home of Toronto's minor league baseball team, the Maple Leafs. (Before that, they played at Hanlan's Point Stadium on the island, where, as I wrote in an earlier post, Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run.) It was built by the same architectural firm—Chapham, Oxley & Bishop—who designed some of the lakeshore's other icons: the Princes' Gates at the Ex, the Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion and the Palais Royale. It had seating for 20,000 people, also played host to a few football games, and saw the home team win more than their fair share of championships—two of the Maple Leafs teams who called the stadium home are considered to be among the greatest minor league baseball rosters ever assembled. It was eventually demolished in the late '60s, when the team was sold and moved to Kentucky.
|Maple Leaf Stadium, 1929|
You can read more about Maple Leaf Stadium on Toronto Before here and Mop Up Duty here. blogTo has a bunch of photos of other old Toronto stadiums here.
Weird Coincidence Update: In the hour or so since I posted this, the news broke that Sparky Anderson, who played shortstop for some of those great old Maple Leafs teams, died today. It was actually the team's owner who suggested that Anderson, who wasn't an amazing shortstop, might have the leadership qualities necessary to be an excellent manager. And holy crap, was he ever. He'd go on to have a 25 year career as the skipper of the Cincinnati Reds and the Detroit Tigers, winning three world championships, more total games than all but five other managers in the history of the sport, and a well-deserved spot in the Hall of Fame.