Stade Canac, Quebec City, QC
Review by Mike
There is something magical about baseball in French. Since the Expos departed for Washington D.C., the Frontier League is left to maintain “la tradition” of baseball in the province of Quebec. Interestingly, the two professionals teams that play in this French-speaking province do so in nearly identical classic ballparks, one in Quebec City and one just down the road in Trois-Rivières, the venerable Stade Fernand-Bédard.
Stade Canac opened in 1939 and is the home of the Quebec Capitales of the Frontier League. This is simply a lovely ballpark, built in the classic style of the 1930s. A subtle art-deco exterior is painted in rich earth tones with nice architectural features. No open steelwork here, just a stately entrance worthy of a provincial capital.
Inside, the grandstand wraps from 1st base to 3rd base with colorful seating and a majestic roof supported by columns and steel latticework. A press box hangs from the roof behind first base proudly displaying the Capitales championship flags. The seating at the top of the grandstand is comprised of very upright wooden bench seats that look old and very uncomfortable. I wonder if these were left for historical reference to show what the original seating was like. If so, I’m glad they upgraded to more modern accommodations lower down.
There is a picnic area down the left field line and a manually operated scoreboard in centerfield. The light towers are the old erector-set type, sturdy-looking and without a hint of the rust you sometimes see at older minor league facilities. Despite being set right next to a highway, the ballpark faces away from the road and offers a nice grove of trees as a backdrop. You hardly feel like you are in a city.
Quebec City is one of my favorite places an Earth, an old European-style jewel on the North American continent, and the atmosphere around the ballpark was lively, friendly and, well, French! I ate poutine! After a few decades of decay and neglect in the 1980s and 1990s, the renaissance of this lovely old ballpark is a welcome treat and not to be missed. Don’t just go for the ballpark, spend a long weekend wandering the cobblestone streets, eating Belgian waffles and saying “Bon Jour!”
"Shout out to the great folks at Stade Canac for letting us in to check out the park on a Saturday morning after season's end. The souvenir shop was open and the friendly concessionaire directed us to the business office, where we were allowed to roam the stands and take some updated photos. Stade Canac seems to be in a little better condition with snazzier upgrades than it's sister in Trois-Rivières, but they're both tres bien in my book!"
Matt Nandin of the visiting Rockland Boulders mashes a 3-run home run on opening day in Quebec on May 17, 2012. Quebec would rally to win the game, 7-3.