This year, the North York Baseball Association will celebrate its 54th year providing recreational and competitive baseball at Bond Park.
Baseball was first organized in North York in 1957 by the Don Mills Kiwanis Club. The league was then known as the Don Mills Kiwanis Baseball Association and games were played in the old Don Mills Public School (now torn down) and later on empty gravel parking lots at the Don Mills Shopping Centre.
In 1960, with the help of North York Parks Commissioner Doug Snow, the association found a new home at Bond Park (Leslie St. just south of York Mills).
At that time Bond Park had two diamond and no facilities. But with the consistent help of the NYPC by 1970 there were dressing rooms, a snack bar, washrooms, lights, a loudspeaker system, five diamonds and benches for spectators.
In 1965, the league formed its own executive and took over the running of the organization as the Don Mills Baseball Association with the Kiwanis Club continuing to handle the finances and assist with sponsorship. The North York Baseball Association was created in 1972 with a 20-member board of directors who then took over complete operation.
Board members volunteer their time year round to organize sponsors, schedules, equipment, umpires, tournaments. During the season, a further 35-60 volunteers offer their services as coaches and managers of teams.
Pat Lawson, NYBA Treasurer in the ‘70s and ’80s and NYBAs first woman convenor told the North York Mirror
“Many people don’t realize the amount of work that goes into organizing the summer league. We meet all winter long, looking for sponsors and setting up the whole thing. A lot of people just think we come out to the ball game the first day and everything just falls into place!”
Today, NYBA players, aged 6 to 21 fill the rosters of more than 35 house-league and competitive rep & select teams. Bond Park is the association’s permanent home and is professionally maintained by the NYBA grounds crew. Over the years many additions have been made including batting cages and portable pitching machines.
The North York Baseball Association has come a long way since the days when its youngsters played on dirt and gravel diamonds at the old Don Mills Public School. The school has long been since torn down, but the association continues to flourish.
The 2022 season opens in early May.
** Notes from Pat Lawson, NYBA Treasurer and Publicity Convenor 1981
Toronto Star – Tuesday, May 19, 1981.
North York Mirror – 1981
Players in the T-Ball Photo: Left to Right
Back Row: Howard Fishman, Bob Watson, Donna Takano, Bill Fisch, John Crichton
Middle Row: Jason Sands, Robert Williams, Tyler Sloan, Greg Koehler, David Fisch, Christine Takano, Mark Tinmouth, Jason England
Front Row: Bobby Watson, Steven Crichton, Harris Eisenstadt, Robbie Light, Jonathan Breslin, Mark Osten, Derek Tymchuk, Jason Ryan