Visit Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum at Doors Open St. Marys

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Visit Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum at Doors Open St. Marys

If you have been following our Doors Open series, the Teachers on Call in-person and online tutoring team are big fans of these community events to visit architectural treasures and participate in exclusive experiences not normally accessible to the public. In this blog we’re celebrating Doors Open St. Marys taking place on Saturday, September 23, 2023, with 16 properties offering open houses. Our president, Joanne Sallay, interviews one of the hosts, Scott Crawford, Director of Operations from the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum to learn more about their event and how baseball goes hand in hand with math and statistics. Remember the film Moneyball, based on Michael Lewis’ book, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game?  Read on for more educational tidbits and life lessons from baseball, as well as advice to make your Doors Open experience a “home run”.

What is Doors Open Ontario and how does it work?

From spring to fall 2023, participating communities across Ontario are opening their heritage sites, museums and city buildings to the public on designated weekends, all in partnership with Ontario Heritage Trust, local businesses, non-profit organizations and volunteers. Often, many of these locations do not open their doors to the public – or let you go on exclusive behind the scenes tours.

Since it’s unlikely to visit them all in one day or two, our in-person and online tutoring service is spotlighting participants this September and October from each participating city.

Teachers on Call’s St. Marys Community Spotlight

There is no shortage of locations to visit and learn about during the Doors Open events, and the best part is: they’re completely free to attend. In this blog, we’re featuring St. Marys, a town in southwestern, Ontario also known by the nickname,"The Stone Town". 

Doors Open St. Marys offers 16 properties to visit, including the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, located at 386 Church St S, St. Marys, ON N4X 1C2. Given that Teachers on Call's in-person and online tutors are classroom teachers, we love learning about museums.

Cultural Services Manager, Amy Cubberley proudly shares on behalf of the Town of St. Marys – St. Marys Museum and Archives, "This is our eleventh time participating in Doors Open. We are looking forward to many long-time participants, along with a few new buildings opening their doors this year. We are so excited to have the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame participating in Doors Open again this year. This is a great opportunity for both locals and tourists to visit the museum for free!"

Read on for Teachers on Call’s interview with their Director of Operations, Scott Crawford.

An Interview with the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

What is the history behind the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum?

The Hall of Fame was started by Bruce Prentice in 1982 and was located in Toronto at Exhibition Place (100 Princes' Blvd Toronto, ON M6K 3C3). In the mid 1980’s the museum moved across the road to Ontario Place (955 Lake Shore Blvd W, Toronto, ON M6K 3B9). By about 1990 the museum closed due to lack of visitors and revenue. Due to the increased popularity of baseball in Canada in the early 1990’s there were 12 cities that bid to bring the Hall of Fame to their location. It finally came down to Guelph and St. Marys and in August 1994 the Town of St. Marys in southwestern Ontario won the rights to have the Hall of Fame located in their town. Then in June 1998 the museum officially opened in St. Marys. Between 1998-2014 we build 4 spectacular baseball fields on our 32 acre site to allow kids and adults to play baseball and softball that went along with the museum. In 2015 plans for an expanded and renovated museum started and in 2018 we were able to add 2500 sq ft of new museum space, plus complete renovations to the current museum. In April 2019 we re-opened the museum and not only have a newly designed and expanded museum, but we also have a rental space for groups to host their events.

For baseball fans looking to visit for the first time, what can they expect?

They can expect to see a wonderfully designed 3500sq ft museum, plus our 32 acre site with four ballfields and walking trails. Highlighted inside our museum include items from Larry Walker (originally from Maple Ridge, British Columbia), Fergie Jenkins (born and raised in Chatham, Ontario),  Babe Ruth, and Jackie Robinson including the home plate Joe Carter stepped on to win the 1993 World Series. Other unique items include a Babe Ruth signed bat and a Jackie Robinson 1946 Montreal Royals team signed baseball. Our site hosts over 700 events over 6 months so visitors can always take a few minutes to watch a ballgame while in town.

What do you have in store for visitors of Doors Open St. Marys?

We plan to highlight some of our newest artifacts including Hall of Famer Rob Thomson’s 2023 All-Star game jersey, cleats and hat (born in Sarnia, currently residing in Stratford, Ontario). These items have never been on display so it will be a great opportunity for a first viewing.

Beyond Doors Open, can you tell us about other programs and events hosted throughout the year, such as Induction Weekend?

Our largest event each year is our annual Induction Weekend during mid-June. It’s a three-day festival with The Opening Pitch in Toronto leading the way, followed by our Celebrity Golf Classic and Banquet on the Friday and then our Induction Ceremony on Saturday. The induction day is a free event and 1000’s of fans flock to St. Marys for the ceremony. The day also includes ballgames, autograph sessions, museum tours, food, drinks, and a silent auction. Many past inductees and celebrities attend the day so who knows who you might bump into. One of our other key events is our appraisal days each year. At this event you can find out if your treasures are truly valuable. Many ball teams make a day trip to St. Marys and play a ballgame, have a BBQ and tour the museum.

Do you offer educational field trips or programs for schools. From your experience, what types of lessons do students learn from the game of baseball?

Yes, we do offer programs for schools. Baseball is one of the most unique sports that uses math, science, geography, history and language all at the same time. Baseball is all numbers. Statistics and baseball go together like beer and hotdogs. Baseball is also a game of failure. If you get a hit 30% of the time you are an All-Star, but if you get 30% on your math test your parents won’t be happy! Baseball teaches teamwork, how to deal with failure and to have patience.

There seem to be many ways to become involved with the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Please share the opportunities for members of the community to connect and support you.

We are always looking for volunteers to help in several areas including helping in the museum giving tours or helping the Curator. Plus, we have several other opportunities including special events or induction weekend. The best way to financially support the Hall of Fame is to purchase an annual membership or make a donation, as a registered charity we are able to provide tax receipts.

We hope you enjoy learning about the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and the educational benefits from the game of baseball. If you are interested to visit additional sites on Saturday, you can access the full list through the official Doors Open St. Marys website.

Not to fret if you don’t live near St. Marys. If you live closer to Kingston or Woodstock, you are in luck, as their Doors Open events are taking place the same weekend. Check out our community spotlight with Doors Open Kingston and Area and Doors Open Woodstock.

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