It was a great day at the ball park on Saturday, June 23, when Members of Council, Municipal staff, residents and friends of Port Hope gathered at the Town Agricultural Park to celebrate the grand re-opening and dedication ceremony of the newly refurbished ball diamonds, which included re-naming the diamonds the Ted Watts Sr. Ball Diamond and the Gord & Hazel Isaac Ball Diamond.
“We are thrilled to dedicate the Town Park diamonds in honour of these community-minded individuals,” explained Jeff Lees, who is the Municipality of Port Hope Councillor responsible for the Parks, Recreation and Culture portfolio. “Driven by a love of sport and their community, Ted, Gord and Hazel were obvious choices for the naming of these fields. Now the rest of the community will know a little bit about them and how they contributed to sport in Port Hope.”
The celebration of the ball diamond dedications also signaled the completion of the Canada 150 Federal Infrastructure Grants, where more than $250,000 was awarded to the Municipality for various initiatives throughout the community in 2017 and 2018. These projects included a new accessible playground at Alex Carruthers Park in Garden Hill, Jack Burger Sports Complex LED Road sign, upgrades to the trail along the Ganaraska River, Wladyka Park washroom and shelter, rink board replacement and refurbishment at Jack Burger and Caroline Street rink, as well as upgrades to the seniors ball diamond at Town Park
Rounding out the celebration, two permanent ball diamond signs were unveiled to mark the fields and a friendly pick-up game of baseball ensued.
Biographies of the Dedication Recipients:
Ted Watts Sr.
Ted Watts Sr. was a well-known businessman and sports enthusiast. His wife Jean supported him every step of the way in his involvement in local sports. In 1946, Ted, along with others, formed the Beaver Athletic Association. They provided organized baseball and hockey for the youth in Port Hope. Ted was a devoted baseball fan and was instrumental in forming the Juvenile Baseball Team. For several years he used his own equipment, time and supplies to prepare the ball diamond for home games. In 1953, Ted managed the team to the Ontario Baseball Championship. His belief was, “if you keep kids in sports, you keep them out of trouble”.
Gord and Hazel Isaac:
Gord and Hazel Isaac lived on Elgin Street, South in Port Hope for over 50 years. They first got involved at the Town Park by volunteering at a summer camp with children, doing arts, crafts, and woodworking. As honorary caretakers of the Park, they were given a key to the washrooms, and they would open and close them every day during the spring, summer and fall. Gord and Hazel would often be seen walking around the ball fields and Park two and three times a day, picking up trash. Anytime there were ball games on the diamonds, they would return afterwards to clean up the fields and underneath the bleachers. The couple allowed the local baseball and soccer teams to store their equipment in their own garage, giving full access to the teams, whenever needed.
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