Oakes Park Stadium
Niagara Falls, ON
Review by Gary
Oakes Park Stadium is a long home run from the Canadian side of Niagara Falls in the town of the same name. The name honors the man who made it possible. Harry Oakes spent years prospecting for gold in many parts of the world. He had no luck until he arrived in northeastern Ontario in 1910 and discovered what proved to be the second richest gold mine in the western hemisphere. A big fan of athletics, he used some of his new-found wealth to deed abut 16 acres of farmland to the city of Niagara Falls for use as an athletic sports facility.
The baseball field opened on Civic Holiday, Monday, August 3, 1931 and was a first-class establishment. One of the most notable attributes at the time was the installation of drainage tiles under the baseball diamond. It was one of the first ballfields in Ontario to have such a feature.
Home to the Niagara Falls Mariners of Southern Ontario’s Intercounty Baseball League from 1985 to 1989, Oakes Park today boasts recent renovations such as larger dugouts with hat racks, turf-covered bullpens, trees planted beyond the outfield confines, mesh on the outfield fence, and most importantly, a gorgeous new playing field.
The main seating area wraps from third to first base with raised bleachers climbing from field level to the concrete press box high above home plate. Views of the Ferris wheel and observation tower located right by the Falls can be seen from the upper levels of the seating area. Fans choosing to sit on the berms running down the lines are welcome to do so under the shade of the new trees.
Oakes Park stadium is now a century old baseball field whose facilities look like a modern national level quality park. Sir Harry would certainly be proud.