Softball-FastPitch-Roger Cole

Roger Cole



Roger Cole


Roger Cole was born on July 27, 1954, at the hospital in Cobourg, Ontario.  He was the youngest of five boys born to Mildred and Glen Cole. He grew up and still resides on his family farm near Plainville, with his wife Donna, in Hamilton Township.


For Ed, Ross, Paul, Allan and Roger, travelling to Cobourg to play Legion softball or CCHL hockey was not an option. Summers were spent playing ball at home or at public school pickup games. Winter months involved playing local pond hockey with his brothers and neighbours. Roger and Donna raised two wonderful daughters who went on to get married and bless them with 4 beautiful grandchildren. 


Once old enough, the Plainville Men’s Softball team was the game of choice. Roger and Harry Jeschke played on the team as 13-year-olds and were used occasionally as outfielders or pinch hitters. Roger was 4’10” at the time and was quite successful at drawing walks. Ewart Timlin was one pitcher that struck Roger out. No one could have predicted that Ewart would eventually be the one to have the greatest influence on Roger’s pitching career.


Although dabbling in pitching, Roger never really started until 1972 when, in grade 13 at the age of 18, he and his high school buddies decided to put a team in the formidable Cobourg Men’s Softball League. This was the start of his illustrious pitching career. His men’s league team, Wilburn Construction, struggled to win many games in the early years. 


Roger went off to Guelph and obtained his Honours BSc (Agriculture) degree and graduated in 1976. While at Guelph he met Donna and they were married in July of 1976. Daughters Angela and Shannon followed several years later. Donna played varsity hockey at Guelph so the girls followed in their parents’ footsteps — hockey in the winter and softball in the summer. Donna got heavily involved in coaching and managing girls’ hockey teams in the area. Roger and Donna co-coached the first Senior Ladies hockey team out of Cobourg. 


In 1973, Roger played on Bill O’Neill’s Juvenile B Ontario Championship team. In 1975, Ewart Timlin signed Roger to the Cold Springs Cats and he pitched on that team for over thirty years, winning back-to-back Intermediate C Ontario Championships in 1975 and 1976. At the age of 50, while pitching in the 2004 Ontario Masters Championship tournament in Port Perry, Roger sustained an arm injury which ended his playing career. He wasn’t prepared to hang up his cleats so he transitioned into a coaching role and went on to co-coach the Cats.


As well as playing for the Cats, Roger played in the Peterborough City League (for 2 years), the Hamilton Township Men’s Softball League (from the age of 13 until the league stopped running), and the Cobourg Men’s Softball League (from 1972 until it stopped running). He played for Fraserville, Plainville, Crossroads, Murray Thompson Auto-body, Wilburn Construction, Meadowvale Aces, Bruce & Ricks, Everett’s Astros, and He coached and managed the Hamilton Township league teams and the Cobourg league teams from the late 80’s until the leagues folded.


Roger was known for his pitching longevity and stamina and would often pitch 3-4 games in a week. In 1978, Roger won tournament MVP at the Deck Transport Invitational tournament in Lakefield, Ontario. He pitched fifty-four innings on that weekend for the Cats, then the next day pitched a Cobourg Men’s league game. He was named top pitcher in 1979 in the Eastern Ontario Fastball League with a 0.5 ERA. He also received the top pitcher award in the Oshawa City League in 1980.


That same year, the Cats moved up to the Senior A level of competition and surprised everyone by winning the Ontario Championship in London. They became the first and only local team (to date) to win the Senior A title and went on to represent Ontario at the Canadian Senior A Championships in Saskatoon. While in Saskatoon the Cats defeated both the gold and silver medalists in the round robin. Roger pitched both games, allowing only one run in two games. That was the only loss the gold medal Nova Scotia team took. In 1989, Cold Springs won an Intermediate B Ontario title and Roger was named top pitcher. In 1995, he helped Baltimore to an Intermediate B Ontario crown.


The Cold Springs Cats moved to the Masters division and won Ontario titles in 1996, 1997 and 1998. Roger was named top pitcher in 1996 and 1997. The team also won back-to-back Canadian Masters Championships in 1997 and 1998.  At the 2000 Ontario Masters Championships (at the age of 47) he was named tournament MVP after pitching 5 1/2 games in one weekend. In all, Roger played on nine Ontario Championship teams and two Canadian Masters Championship teams, while several Hamilton Township League and Cobourg Men’s League Championships were also claimed.


Roger played and managed teams in the Hamilton Township Men’s Softball League and the Cobourg Men’s Softball League (CMSL). In 2003, he received a milestone award from the CMSL with 2059 strikeouts and counting. He also received a dedication award in 2006, and served many years on the CMSL executive. He received multiple MVP and top pitcher awards in both leagues, pitched two perfect games and 10-12 no-hitters during his 30+ years of pitching.


During his playing and managing years, Roger concentrated on giving younger players a place and a chance to play. Many turned out to be good ball players and even better people, and he was most proud of that.


In the winter, he followed his daughter’s hockey but also played himself, in a recreational league in Bewdley. He joined the Rice Lake Oilers team in 1989 and played for 28 years, retiring at the age of 63. A highlight of the year was always the annual Oilers tournament that has been going on for close to 40 years.


Softball is a team game and none of Roger’s personal achievements would have been possible without the great cast of ball players amassed by Ewart Timlin. He is quick to point out that his journey would not have been possible without his Mom, Dad and brothers who would manage the workload on their dairy farm while he was at the ballpark.


His wife, Donna, was also a huge supporter and made many sacrifices so he could pursue his dreams. Roger continues to work on his family farm, enjoys spending time with his family and grandchildren, and now satisfies his love of sports on the golf course. 



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Archery-Andrew Fagan (Dr)

Andrew Fagan

Archery - Andrew Fagan (Dr)

Northumberland chiropractor makes the best of shortened archery season

Dr. Andrew Fagan becomes No. 1 ranked archer in Canada, again


Northumberland News, Oct 22, 2020

Countless hours spent practising and training at home during the COVID-19 lockdown have paid off for local chiropractor Dr. Andrew Fagan, who has become the No. 1 ranked compound archer in Canada.

Fagan, a chiropractor at the Port Hope Health Centre, said he is lucky with his sport since participants are able to space out on a large field, stay in their lanes and have a safe event with limited amounts of people.


After competing at numerous events, he was able to cumulate scores that landed him on top of the national ranking list for the 2020 season.

“I am very happy with the success I had this year with the limited amounts of events available,” Fagan said. “(It) would have been nice to stand shoulder to shoulder with all the guys at outdoor nationals, hopefully we get to do it next year on Prince Edward Island.”


At the last event of the season Fagan was also able to achieve a new national record.

“(It) was good to finish the year on a high note. It has been a grind keeping up with my training plan, especially during the lockdown months, but in the end the results showed all the hard work put in behind the scenes,” he said.

He said archery, like other competitive sports, was on pause from mid-March through to the end of July.


As of Aug. 1, archery clubs across Canada began running COVID-19 safe outdoor national ranking events.

Earlier this year during the winter, he also had a successful indoor tournament season winning gold in both the national and provincial regional championships.


Fagan, 34, a resident of Baltimore, has been competing in archery for 26 years, has been a No. 1 ranked archer in Canada previously, and has been a member of the compound national team since 2007.

He has competed at the world championships, world cup circuit, Commonwealth Games, Pan American Championships, Canada Winter Games and was also a torch bearer for the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games.



Northumberland archer Andrew Fagan returns from nationals with gold, silver


Sarah Hyatt, Northumberland News, Sep 24, 2019

When he’s not working at the Port Hope Health Centre, there’s a good chance you’ll find Dr. Andrew Fagan with a bow.
“I first shot a bow when I was about six or seven,” says Fagan.

About a year or so later, Fagan would go on to compete in his very first tournament, at just eight years old.
Fagan learned the sport from his dad and grandpa, and as soon as he could pull a bow back, he says, he got right in there with them.
Twenty-five years later, Fagan’s still going strong. Not only does he still love it, he’s continuing to shoot his way to some pretty serious wins.
The 33-year-old chiropractor from Baltimore just returned home with gold and silver, after competing at the 2019 Canadian National Archery Championships.

He’s once again ranked as the No. 1 compound archer in Canada. Fagan’s been a member of Canada’s national team since 2007.
The 2019 national championships were hosted in Saskatchewan in August. Fagan took wins in field and target archery.

With the field event, archers shot three arrows at 24 target stations, with each of these stations set up at various distances and with targets varying in size depending on the distance. With a score of 396 in the event, Fagan took gold in the men’s compound division.
And he didn’t stop there.

Next, Fagan went on to compete in the target archery championship round.
Target archery involves shooting at a target 50 metres away. The total target face size is 80 centimetres in diameter, with the bull's-eye (or 10 ring) measuring just eight centimetres, explains Fagan.
First, Fagan says, archers had to shoot a qualification round to rank and be seeded into a bracket to shoot head to head in the finals at the Canadian Open on the last day.


Despite some windy conditions and a couple of technical issues with equipment, Fagan finished in the top three heading into the finals.
The finals featured the top 32 archers shooting head to head in what’s described as a bracket-style format for a 15-arrow match.
Advancing to the semifinals, Fagan says, he had a tight matchup right to the end, with the No. 1 seed after qualification. He earned his shot at gold after finishing with a maximum score of three perfect 10s.


Fagan went on to earn silver in the gold-medal matchup after he was defeated by a two-point margin.
After committing to eight weeks of consistent training and preparation to compete at the nationals and stepping onto the podium twice, he says he feels pretty good.


Previously, Fagan has competed at world championships, the Commonwealth Games, the World Cup circuit, the Pan American Championships, and the Canada Winter Games. He was also a torch bearer for the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games.




Baltimore's Andrew Fagan shoots his way to world archery championships in Mexico City


Northumberland News, Aug 29, 2017

Andrew Fagan, a 31-year-old chiropractor from Baltimore, Ont., has won a spot on the Canadian archery national team destined for the world championships in Mexico City this October.

Fagan, originally from Ajax, competed in Montreal at national team trials on Aug. 5 to 7 and emerged with the most points of the three men who will represent Canada.


The top 16 male and female qualified archers in the country were invited for two days of head-to-head shooting to determine the team.  
The first day consisted of a 720-round score, shot at a distance of 50 metres on a 80-centimetre target face. The 10-ring, or bull's-eye, measures eight centimetres in diameter. Archers shoots 12 ends of six arrows to complete the four-hour, 72-arrow round.  

In difficult cold and windy conditions, Fagan was able to hold his own and finish first place for the day, well ahead of the group to earn crucial trial points toward the team.


With the field cut to eight archers on the second day, when every archer faced each other in head-to-head, 15-arrow matches, Fagan won six out of seven matches to finish first place overall for the round-robin day. He also pushed further ahead of the group with a match arrow average of 9.8, earning further trial points.  

The final team consists of Fagan, who earned 36 trial points, Robbie Nott from London (24) and Luc Martin from New Brunswick (22).


“It’s great to finish first at trials,” he said. “The competition was stiff, but I was fortunate to edge these guys out over the two days. These guys pushed me pretty good. I think we have a strong team going to Mexico.”  

The world championship is a special event for compound archers, occurring only every two years.


Directly following the trails, Montreal also hosted the Archery Canada national championships with a much larger pool of hundreds of archers from across the country.

Fagan continued to shoot well and finished with a silver medal in both the field and target championships.  


“It was a long 10-day trip of competing basically every day, all day,” he explained. “I think a lot of us archers had some amount of competition burnout going on, but myself and fellow national team members did well and finished strong at nationals after trials.”


Currently ranked as the No. 1 compound archer in Canada, Fagan has competed at world championships, Commonwealth Games, Pan American Championships and Canada Winter Games, and was a torch bearer for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games.

When not shooting, he is a practising chiropractor at the Port Hope Health Centre.




Port Hope’s Andrew Fagan doesn’t crack under national archery pressure

Chiropractor wins 10th national title


Todd McEwen, Northumberland News, Sep 16, 2015

As a full-time chiropractor, Dr. Andrew Fagan doesn’t have a lot of free time.

He splits his six-day work week between his office in Pickering and Port Hope, travelling home to Bowmanville every night to relax for a few hours before he’s back to the daily grind.

“I work a lot,” he said.

Which is what makes his recent athletic achievement all that more impressive. When Dr. Fagan isn’t treating back and neck pain, he’s competing at a national level as an archer. It’s been a sport he’s invested time and money in for 22 years, and he’s now at the point in his career where he doesn’t need to practise at length to win championships.


He recently returned from Winnipeg where he claimed his 10th national compound archery championship. He was up against the best and most competitive archers in Canada. His competitors are familiar with him, just as he is with them. He knows most of them have nothing but time to hone their skills in their personal indoor arenas and acres of property. He’s best known for being a modest doctor who squeezes in a competition when he can and continues to win, year after year.

“It’s always been a hobby, it’s still even a hobby, even though I’m one of the top archers in the country,” he said, “I work. I work six days a week. The other guys just shoot. That’s all they do.”


Dr. Fagan’s been involved in athletics his entire life. He started, like most young Canadians, learning to glide on a pair of skates before picking up archery as a hobby 22 years ago. He was even drafted to the Ontario Hockey League’s Peterborough Petes club in 2001.

It wasn’t until university that Dr. Fagan sidelined the nation’s pastime in favour of studying for his degree. When he wasn’t cramming for exams, he turned to his trusty bow to help relax.

“It was something to do to keep me sane,” he laughed. “Instead of going to the library and studying all the time. I just went and shot my bow for something to do.”


Since then, he and his bow have travelled the world. Two years ago, he finished 33rd in world championships in Turkey. Finishing top 40 was more than enough for the smalltown chiropractor.

“It was good for me -- a chiropractor that doesn’t practice that much,” he laughed.

During that competition, the worst-case scenario for archers unfolded: ferocious wind.

“That was the worst ones I’ve ever been in,” he said. “We had 50- to 70-km winds, it was crazy ... (this year’s) nationals was nothing compared to that.”


This year’s national competition faced its own case of severe wind.

“For some reason Winnipeg’s always windy when we have nationals there,” he said.

He believes if it wasn’t for the wind, he wouldn’t have been able to sneak ahead on the scoreboard during the first day and maintain a solid lead heading into the second round.

“On the competition days it was really windy and gusty,” he said. “That affects things quite a bit. But I’ve been doing it for so long I have a pretty good idea on how to pick your time to shoot into the wind. A lot of the other guys got frustrated and made goofy mistakes, so I was able to sneak ahead and stay ahead in the second day.”


Dr. Fagan said it usually takes about 20 to 30 seconds to load a bow, sight the target, pull back and release an arrow. Patience is key when wind is amuck, he said, because a typical shot won’t co-operate with Mother Nature’s invisible force.

“Some people take a little bit longer,” he said. “If there’s a break in the wind, I might load it up, get it in, pull back and shoot in 10 seconds where as other times I’m standing there waiting for a full minute, and I won’t bother to draw because it’s too windy.”

By the end of the second day, Dr. Fagan knew he could maintain the lead, as long as he “didn’t screw it up”. In the final hour-and-a-half stretch, he had 36 arrows left to shoot.


“Thirty-six arrows doesn’t sound like a lot, but it takes some time to get through it,” he said, adding his bow weighs about 60 pounds, which he holds straight out with one arm. “My mentality went from trying to hit the middle every time and pushing forward to just taking it easy, put them in there and stay ahead.”

His strategy unfolded in his favour and he took home another trophy to add to his mantle. How did his competition feel about it?

“No one knows how I do it,” he said. “I feel bad, too, because some of them will ask me, ‘Are you shooting more now?’ and I say, ‘Not really, no’.


“They say to become an expert, you need to put in 10,000 hours. I’ve passed that a long time ago.”




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Sports-Neil Cane

Sports-Neil Cane



Neil Cane was born in Cobourg on January 12, 1934. He lived most of his life in Baltimore, with his wife Shirley and five children, John, Laurie (Dynes), Peter, Cathy, and David.

As an athlete, Neil excelled at baseball, track and field, and hockey.

The earliest recollection of Cane's athletic ability started in 1948-49 when his Junior softball teams were crowned the Cobourg Rotary League Champs and also the Cobourg Labour Day Tournament Juvenile champs. In 1950, he was a member of the OASA Juvenile B Softball Champs.

He also won the Field Day Cup as the Junior Champion in Track and Field at CCI in 1948. Neil's track and field prowess was again evident at the Ontario Police Games One Mile relay. He was part of the winning relay team along with Art Round, Harry Sirrett, and J. Campbell.

Starting in 1959 Neil racked up hockey championships and personal awards. He was the Mercantile Hockey League MVP, and the teams he played with were league champs in the Hamilton Township Men's League. Twice he played on championship teams while playing in the Mercantile Hockey League.

Neil's actual job was manager of the Baltimore Recreation Centre for 22 years. When he started, there was only one baseball diamond. When he finished there were three additional fenced in diamonds, plus Neil got the old lights from Victoria Park for night games at Diamond #1.

He also added a playground, canteen and washroom facilities, a basketball court, and two volleyball courts. It became a first-class facility.

As many people have mentioned over the years, that although Neil worked for the Baltimore Recreation Centre, he practically lived there and did an incredible amount of work as a volunteer at the facility.

Not only did he do that, he was involved in many other aspects of the community. I always said jokingly, “If you added up the number of hours Neil actually worked at the park, he probably made a dollar an hour”.

I remember telling him that as part of a Millennium Celebration I wanted to build a conservation/educational area on the unused portion of land behind Baltimore Public School. It was a dream of mine that Neil turned into reality!

My first order of business was getting solid benches for the students that would last the test of time. Neil ordered six sturdy benches and I assisted (I watched) in cementing them into the ground. I made a cedar pathway around the entire area and we were pretty well done… or so I thought.

I asked Neil if he could build a semi-circular bench that could comfortably seat thirty children. That's all I needed to say. He drew up a plan and built the bench single-handedly. Later on he asked me if the area was being used. I mentioned that some teachers weren't able to manage the pathway and it was difficult for them to take their class to the top of the steep hill. Neil and I chatted and he said “You know what, we need to build steps with a rail.”

A week later I was looking out of the back window of my class and I saw two by fours and planks being tossed over the fence. I went back to investigate. There was Neil, alone, throwing the wood over the fence. He then proceeded to climb over the fence and commence working on the stairs.

In no time at all, the beautiful staircase was constructed and there were no excuses for the garden area not being utilized. I dedicated an area as Cane's Corner of the Millennium Garden to Neil and Shirley Cane and had a plaque attached to one of the benches recognizing Neil for his volunteer efforts.

No job was too big or small for Neil. His philosophy was, “Let's just get it done!” He didn't want the fanfare, he just wanted to see jobs completed. Another huge project he undertook was the construction of Jacob's Ladder.

Let's move along, there's so much more to tell.

According to Denine Page, Head Instructor at The Baltimore Figure Skating Club, “Neil was much more than the arena manager at Baltimore. He willingly involved himself with the coaches, skaters, and parents. I often consulted him with new ideas about programming for the skaters and appreciated his input as to how we could make things happen successfully.”

At the end of each season, the club would have their annual skating show. Once again, there was Neil volunteering to help with scaffolding, lights, decorations, and the sound system. He didn't stop there! He also volunteered to be the MC for the show and do all the announcing for the dress rehearsals and both the afternoon and evening shows!

Anne Quigley, President of Baltimore Minor Hockey, mentioned Neil's role in taking charge of lining up 1000 kids at the Cross Border Annual tournament opening ceremonies and offering assistance throughout the tournament.

Even after his retirement, he stayed involved by sitting on the Board with Anne. She noted that “Neil selflessly spent countless hours helping at fund raising events, often behind the scenes in the setup or tear down stage, never seeking the “limelight”. “The saying he was best known for was, “You kids just go home and get some rest before the big event, and I will take care of everything here.” And he never failed us!!”

His volunteering efforts were evident in Grafton, too! He was everywhere! Neil was a player in the inaugural Grafton Fastball Tournament run by Dick and Ann Raymond. “Over the years he would be a coach, an umpire, a groundskeeper, scorekeeper, announcer, and any other person we needed him to be,” according to Raymond.

No matter who you talked to in the Baltimore community and surrounding area, people admired him and respected him for what he did and what he meant to Baltimore. He was a tremendous role model to many individuals, including myself. The legendary Neil Cane was an iconic figure that we'll never forget.

Layton Dodge, Cobourg's sports writer summed it up best, “Neil Cane – Mr. Baltimore.”

Although Neil did not seek recognition, over the years he gathered a lot of hardware for his efforts as a player, as a coach, as an umpire, and as a volunteer.



1973 Certificate of Outstanding Service from the Cobourg Church Hockey League

Legion Baseball Awards: 1976 Certificate Of Merit

1980 Peewee Coach Of The Year

1982 Baltimore Minor Hockey Vice President

1989 Baltimore Arena Committee for “Devotion Of Duty”

1995 OASA Outstanding Service Award

1998 OASA Outstanding Service Award

2004 Cobourg Men's Softball League “Thanks For The Memories”

2007 Hamilton Township Senior of the Year

Paul Harris Fellow Award from The Cobourg Rotary Club

Baltimore Sports Complex Diamond #1 renamed signage “Neil Cane Diamond #1”



1948 Cobourg Rotary League Champs Jr. Softball

1948-9 CCI Junior Champion (Track and Field Trophy)

1949 Cobourg Labour Day Tournament Juvenile Champs

1950 OASA Juvenile B Champs

1952 Ontario Police Games 1 Mile Relay Winners

1959 Mercantile Hockey MVP Trophy

1965-6 Mercantile Hockey Champs

1966-7 Mercantile Hockey Champs

1972 Hamilton Township Men's League Champs

By Bryan Marjoram



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Sports-Neil Cane Obituary

Sports-Neil Cane Obituary

Cane Remembered as Tireless Volunteer

Published May 24, 2012 Northumberland Today by Jeff Gard 

A big void has been left in the community of Baltimore.

Former arena manager and longtime volunteer Neil Cane died suddenly on Monday. He was 78.

There is no denying the legacy Cane has left in the Township of Hamilton and surrounding areas.

"My sympathies definitely go to the family and friends of Neil", Hamilton Township Mayor Mark Lovshin said when contacted on Tuesday. "Quite an asset for Hamilton Township to lose. He had his heart within the municipality. He was always there when we needed him. He will be sadly missed." 

Visitations will be held today from 2 to 4pm and 7 to 9pm at the MacCoubrey Funeral Home in Cobourg. A funeral service will take place tomorrow at MacCoubrey's at 11am with internment to follow at Cobourg  Union Cemetery.

What George Quigley-who along with his wife Anne runs Baltimore Minor Hockey-will remember most about Cane is "his giving" and he expects he's not alone.

"That's what you'll hear from everybody," Quigley said. "(Cane was) always there for you. He would do anything."

Former Hamilton Township Mayor Forrest Rowden-who is a current Cobourg Councillor-was involved in municipal politics there for 18 years. He was mayor until 2006 several years after Cane had retired but still remained a loyal volunteer. In fact, a lot of the time Cane spent working while as an employee of the municipality for two decades could be considered "volunteer."

"Every 40 hours pay you gave Neil you had 80 hours work and that was a fact." Rowden said. "Neil felt that park was his backyard and he kept it just that way. He was so devoted to the community."

Rowden said Cane-who retired in 2000-hardly ever used his vacation time.

"He couldn't go on holidays because he figured he would be needed" Rowden said. "When he retired he was going to travel but Neil didn't want to leave the community. He wanted to be there."

"He was kind of like a legend" remarked Brian Marjoram "and I use that in a serious manner."

"Everybody knew him and everybody knew the work he did" added Marjoram, a retired teacher from Baltimore Public School. "He often did the work anonymously. He wasn't there for the accolades. He just did it because it needed to be done. He was one of those guys who grabbed the bull by the horns and got down to work. He was non-stop. No job was to big, no job was too small."

Marjoram worked closely with Cane on the Baltimore School Millennium Garden project. Some people Marjoram recalled, complained there was too much of an incline and they couldn't get up the hill.

"So Neil built stairs" Marjoram said, noting there was also a semi-circular student bench that could accommodate 30 children. "These projects, he would do many of them by himself."

Both Marjoram and Rowden credited Cane for helping to build Jacob's Ladder which leaves from County Road 45 up to Baltimore United Church.

Close friend Keith Curtis worked on many projects with Cane especially around the Baltimore Recreation Center. Curtis said Cane was always quick to lend a hand.

"He was just that kind of guy" Curtis said "When he was working (for the Township) he didn't just work for 40 hours; he worked the times he was needed. It could be midnight but if something needed to be done he would be there. He was just a great guy to be with."

Layton Dodge, the former longtime sportswriter for the Cobourg Daily Star said he always considered Cane to be "Mr. Baltimore" even though his contributions reached other communities such as Cobourg, Grafton and Cold Springs as well.

Dodge believes Cane was active in the Baltimore community for six decades. He also remembers Cane coming into Cobourg in the 1950s to referee all the minor hockey games with Lionel (Pat) Briand. They did it for free.

In addition "he coached just about anything there is to coach" Dodge said "and he was an excellent umpire; one of the better ones around."

Cane was involved with hockey, ball and figure skating in Baltimore.

In 2002 ball diamond No 1 in Baltimore was renamed the Neil Cane Diamond, a tribute to his contributions through the years.

Anytime there was rain Cane was quick to get outside and get the diamonds in shape as soon as possible. Often times portions of tournaments from other communities would be moved to Baltimore following rain delays just because the diamonds were ready to go due to Cane's work.

"The sports community is poorer because of his passing" Dodge said. "Everyone appreciated what he did. He was a hard worker. Anything that needed to be done he would do it. He was a great humanitarian and a real good Samaritan Extraordinaire."

Anne Quigley had just met with Cane this past week at the recreation center's outdoor summer canteen which is run by Baltimore Minor Hockey. She was going to get it ready for the season and phoned Cane.

"I knew better than to just go there and not tell him" she said. "Next thing you know he's there doing the grills and oiling them up and all the other things he's always done. He did them as a manager and he did them as a volunteer."

Next week he was going to help change the bulletin boards inside the arena.

"He was always still giving to minor hockey and any of the clubs here" Quigley said.

Quigley said Cane was known as 'The Boss'.

"He always took charge with whatever he did." she said. "It didn't matter if he was moving tables or chairs he directed everybody where they should put them and what the easiest way was."

Quigley said Cane earned all the respect that was shown to him. She recalled a time when the arena management board fundraised to purchase new fencing for ballparks which Cane wanted and was going to install. The rolls of chain-link fencing were delivered on a Friday night.

By the Monday, Cane returned to find all the fencing had been stolen. In a newspaper article Quigley said Cane voiced his disgust that someone had stolen from the community.

"The next night the phone rang and Neil said he had the fencing" said Quigley, noting she asked him "how?"

Ken Goodwin from Fisher's Foodland in Cobourg had read the story and offered to pick up the tab to replace the fencing.

In later conversations, Quigley talked to Goodwin about the gesture.

"(Goodwin) said "how do you not help someone when they have given so much to everybody?" she said "that's the kind of respect Neil had."

"Neil was the kind of person who was your friend, but he was your mentor too" Quigley added.

George Quigley said Cane offered his time very generously for minor hockey.

"We have to thank his family because we used him a lot and he didn't mind" he said. "He was with us a lot of times when he could've been around the house."

"Cane will be missed by the entire community" Quigley said.

"That's what it is; a community loss" he said.

Cane was the beloved husband of Shirley, father of John (Lena), Laurie  (Craig Dynes) Peter, Cathy and David and grandfather to Cody, Courtney, Aaron, Joshua, Jason (Deb) and Robyn. He is survived by his sister Ruth Bolderstone and predeceased by his brothers Lorne (Bus), Gordon, Bob, Doug, Harry (Mike), Ken, Allen, Percy (Bud) and several half brothers and sisters. He is fondly remembered by many nieces and nephews.

If desired, donations may be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation or Canadian Cancer Society.


Sport Team or Name This Story is about

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Harness Racing-Gord Sherwin

G Sherwin w-horse

Gordon Keith Sherwin
The Horseman -  By Gary May

Reprint Chapter 8 from “A Life Well Travelled” ‘The Story of Gordon Keith Sherwin’
Permission of Publisher ‘Your Story Publishing’ 2010 – Windsor, ON

Racing standardbred horses can be a dangerous sport. Gord Sherwin has had his share of injuries over the years, from having both shoulders separated, to breaking his leg. And there have been plenty of close calls, like the time he was tossed over a racetrack hub rail.

But working with any large animals comes with its dangers, Gord says philosophically. It's all a matter of taking care and knowing when to call a halt.

Gord’s career with standardbred horses began, naturally enough, through his trucking business, when his Baltimore friend, Jack Ball, asked him to haul his animals back and forth to fairs. His career as a horseman reached a zenith when he was named the 1986 Man of the Year by Harness Horsemen International.

Gord still hangs on to a couple of pacers at Grasshopper Flats, a private track near his Baltimore home that’s owned by old friend Cliff Hie. Gord begins each day with a five-minute drive out to the track barn in his 1993 Chev pickup to water and feed them, then leads them out to a paddock where they get their exercise. He mucks out the stables and gives the horses fresh hay. Then it's back in the afternoon to feed and water them again.

There's a dusty old radio in one corner of the barn. Gord leaves it tuned to the local classical music station, occasionally adjusting it up or down for his charges, Fiddlers Dream and King of the Clan. They seem to enjoy the soothing music, he says. But his training and riding days are behind him. "I just don't really feel much like doing it anymore."

When pressed, he will, reluctantly, talk about the various injuries he's suffered from working with the animals, starting back in the late 1950s.

Risky Business
"Once, in the barn I hadn't locked the door properly. I hear a click of a hoof on the cement. The horse is loose. I grab him. He knocks me down and steps on my leg."

Gord does not get it immediately looked after and continues with plans to help out at the Rotary Waterfront Festival in Cobourg. Luckily his physician daughter, Elizabeth, happens to be coming for the weekend. "She takes one look at it and advises an X-ray. I had a fracture in the lower leg. Here I'd been taking admission at the festival gate on a broken leg."

The worst spill he ever suffered came on the track at Orono.
"My horse stumbled. I ended up thrown over the hub rail."

"You've got horses going at top speed. All it takes is a minor misstep and you're in trouble. You could have a field of 10 horses. They go one mile in a minute and 48 seconds nowadays. When I started I’d win races with 2:08. Now under two minutes is normal”. (At two minutes a mile, the horse is averaging 30 miles an hour). "I think faster times are a result of better track conditions, lighter bikes and training methods."

So back in the '50s, Gord began hauling Jack Ball's horses for $5 a trip. It was enough, he says, to get him hooked. "When I started, we were just a bunch of farmers having fun. I remember seeing the Gary Cooper film, Friendly Persuasion. He was Amish. Had a buggy horse. Took his wife to church and his neighbour challenged him to a race each week. He picked up a pacer with good speed. One week the neighbour's waiting for him and challenges him to a race. The pacer leaves the old guy in the dust."

Gord chuckles. "That's the way it was with us, a bunch of old farmers raising, training their own horses." Gord began driving and racing horses before he ever owned one. "Jack Ball owned the Baltimore Mill, had a stable of horses. He got me involved with them. l used his cooper's shop down in the village as an office and a storage place. Kept my trucks there until I built a garage here at the house. That place was kind of like the local Hot Stove League. We'd play a little cribbage, gab with the local boys."

Gord got his driver's licence for horses in 1957.

"I'd been around Jack's horses, and driving them. We’d train them together. Better to train a couple or three together - they learn a little bit from one another. What they're bred for. They provide a little competition for one another. The first Saturday of June every year, they'd have a field day at the local race track. The races were recorded on the horses' racing record. I raced one of Jack's horses. Bud Phonograph. I ended up owning him a couple years later for a thousand dollars. But my first horse was Sun C Valley. She was a chestnut mare with a white blaze on her face, white feet. A classy-looking mare.

"When I first got started, they'd race once a week at Peterborough Exhibition Grounds. 'They had twilight meets. They didn't have lights. One of the first tracks I went to was the fairground at Norwood. I didn't drive there, but I was hooked by then; got my licence after that. Every community of any size had a fairground and there was a racetrack on the fairground, because that was part of the fall fair experience, standardbred racing. Then they started to put up lights so you could race after dark. Peterborough was one of the first to put up lights. Then Belleville did it.

"They started having a race every Friday night at Belleville, and then in Peterborough on Saturday night They were just local guys you were racing against. People from Warkworth, Campbellford, Marmora, Norwood, Lindsay, Port Hope, Orono.

"These places all had local horsemen, and it was really the grassroots of standardbred racing. It’s difficult to explain the satisfaction you get raising a horse, breaking it in, racing it and winning with it. I've had quite a few experiences with it.”

"I remember Saturdays spent at the race track in Peterborough," says Elizabeth. "As a family, we didn't have a cottage and we didn't do a lot of travelling. Every Saturday was going to the racetrack. Diana and I always wanted to go to Peterborough early so we could go to the material shops, because we did a lot of sewing. And Dad would say he'd be home in time.

“We would wait and wait and he'd always be late," she laughs. "He was busy. That would be disappointing, but that was what the business would require at that time."


Arts & Battles
Perhaps the most exciting horse Gord ever owned was one that didn't reach his potential until a winter on the Florida circuit. But when he did, says veteran trainer and driver Doug Hie, Cliff Hie's son, he showed more heart than just about any other animal Hie has ever known. No horse Gord owned over the years meant more to him than Arts & Battles. Sired by Meadow Battles, a top winner from the late 1950s and early '60s, out of Gord’s own brood mare Tar Peg, Arts & Battles was raised and trained by Gord from the time he was a foal.

The horse was named for his sire, and for horseman Arthur Beedham, who boarded him. In the late 1960s, "I started taking him to races and he became a top racer around Peterborough. He became the one to beat in his day.”

In the early '70s, Jay was attending Queen's University and already possessed a driver's licence. Gord asked him to run the horse one night at Peterborough. Gord couldn't go because he and Marion were committed to another event. 'When Gord arrived home that night, he asked Jay how things had gone. Jay smiled and presented his dad with a tape of the race. "We won," he said. "It was quite a thing for a young fellow like that to win," says Gord proudly. "He was pretty excited. Arts & Battles was a good horse. Had stamina and speed. He was always competitive."

While Gord frequently raced the horse himself, he would also call on Doug Hie to race him. Doug had a stable, track and exercise pool, which was a helpful tool in training horses without placing· so much stress on their tendons. Arts & Battles had suffered from tendon problems from an early age, and never seemed to achieve his potential - at least until Hie offered to take him on the Florida circuit one winter in the early '70s. Hie entered him in a lower-level competition at Pompano Park, and the horse won. Hie entered him again, and again Arts & Battles took the field.

"I turned him around in the winner’s circle and he got a standing ovation from the grandstands. I couldn't believe it. They were clapping and whistling. Everyone was standing. It just blew me away."

Hie called Gord to tell him Arts & Battles was going to receive the track's Presidents Award that year and Gord and Marion arranged to head down for the celebration. The day before the ceremony, Gord took in a race.

"On this occasion, he lost," says Gord, "but he was so used to winning that he turned around to go into the winner's circle and wait for his picture. The crowd saw this and reacted with a standing ovation." Gord's pride soared.

After the winter season, Gord entered the horse at Saratoga, New York. He and Marion chartered a small plane and flew to the track with Hie. They won. "The whole experience was quite a thrill," says Gord.

Back in Canada in 1973, Arts & Battles took half a dozen races at Greenwood, then considered the top standard-bred track in Canada. The next winter, Hie took Arts & Battles back to Florida and he won two of his first four races, placing second and third in the others. Then tragedy struck. The horse's tendon problems returned and this time, nothing could be done.

It was the end of racing for Arts & Battles, although he lived out his days with a man in Bobcaygeon who was delighted to obtain a horse of that calibre to pull his buggy.

“That was a horse that stands out in my mind," says Gord.

Adds Hie: "That horse had personality. He was cocky. He was a standout in my memory," says the man who has been racing for more than 40 years.

So, what happened to turn around the career of a horse that had earned only about $22,000 in his first five seasons? How was it that in his first winter in Florida he chalked up $40,000 in winnings?

"He was a totally different horse in Florida”, says Hie. “His legs were bothering him in Canada. I tried different training methods. I swam him in the pool and that really helped. He loved the pool. He always wanted to pass the other horses in the pool. He wanted to beat everybody.”

The Quinte Jug
Another one of the highlights of Gord's career as a horseman came in 1986 at the Belleville fairgrounds' Quinte Jug race, a takeoff from the Little Brown Jug, a top U.S. standard-bred competition. "There are eliminator races over several weeks to get down to a field of about seven. I had two horses, Bell Jet Ranger and Amboseli (named for an African game preserve). They were three- and four-year-olds. Jay drove Amboseli. It was a photo finish for one and two spots.

"As the judges were deciding between the two, and it
was so close, someone said, 'it doesn't really matter, because the same guy owns them both.' That was quite a thrill."

In 2010, Bell Jet Ranger was 26 years old, and living a life of leisure at Jay's home. She's the mother of Gord's current horses, Fiddlers Dream and King of the Clan.

Gord unloaded Amboseli at a claiming race for $30,000. Standard-bred racing is rarely a money-making pastime, says Gord. He lists the fixed costs of owning· a horse: $60 a week for feed, $20 for hay and $20 for bedding, plus utilities. 

He fondly lists off the other horses he's owned over the years. Jimmy Bellwin, Judicator, Robbie McGee, Colonel Philip, Call Me Spud, Mount Kenya, Roda's Angel, Shamaldas, Thebes, Dream Cast, Beautiful Sunday. (Just like Amboseli, Shamaldas and Judicator were eventually sold in claims races and went on to race for their new owners.)

At a claiming race, the owner places a value on his or her horse and enters them in the race with other animals of similar value. Interested buyers file their claim amount and their name is placed in a locked box. After the race, anyone who has filed a claim for the required amount buys the horse for that amount; a draw is held if there is more than one qualifying claim. Claiming races are competitive because they group horses of similar value.

"Sometimes I made money on my horses but most of the time, it's a losing proposition. It's not something you go into to make money. Over the years I've probably spent more than I've made, but I've had a lot of fun out of it. I've made some good friends.

"You didn't win every time you raced, but if you got a second or third, if you got in the money, you were happy."

Race purses are funded by wagering, with a set portion of the total wager applied to the pot for which the racers compete. The Ontario Harness Horsemen's Association was formed in 1961 to represent the standard-bred owners, and it is this association that negotiates with the track owners on the size of the purse and other conditions.

The Ontario association was divided into districts, each with representation to the provincewide organization. The Northumberland and Peterborough region was in District 3 and Gord was appointed to the Board of Directors for the district. In l980, he worked his way up to become President of the entire Harness Horsemen’s Association. (Today the association is called the Ontario Harness Horse Association.) He later served as President of the Canadian Horsemen's Association.

"We had tracks all over Ontario, from Windsor, Dresden, London, Hanover, Elmira - which was replaced by Grand Valley when the Mennonites objected to the slots being introduced - to Barrie, Sudbury, Kawartha Downs in Peterborough, Belleville, Kingston and Rideau-Carleton Ottawa."

Gord raced many of his own horses at some of those tracks, as well as at Woodbine, Greenwood, Mohawk and Flamboro Downs. Among them were Colonel Philip, Judicator, Robbie McGee, Arts & Battles, Bell Jet Ranger, Amboseli, Shamaldas, Belgaum, Rodas Angel and Dream Cast.

Track owners and horsemen would sometimes get into disputes over application of the rules. Disagreements arose over the percentage of the takeout from betting that would be applied to the purses. The association represented the horsemen's interests.

Gord was on the OHHA hiring panel in l979 when Joe Burke was hired as General Manager and Executive Vice-president. The two worked together closely from l980-85, the time when Gord served as President, and they became good friends. Burke believes there was always a natural affinity there, since he, too, had served as a navigator in the Canadian Air Force when he joined after the war.

"Gord put in a lot of hours as President," Burke says. "He's one of the finest gentlemen I've ever met. Hard working. High integrity. He put in a lot of time helping others. Gord always said if you look after the little guy, the big guys would be OK, too." Gord’s term was a time of rapid growth in the racing industry. Standardbreds raced all winter and night racing had been introduced. 

The thoroughbreds, represented by the Ontario Jockey Club, would arrive in spring and, with the growing popularity of standardbred night racing the thoroughbred owners wanted to capture a piece of the pie. This led to a dispute over the sharing of dates and times and as the dispute heated up, it fell to the Ontario Racing Commission to settle. The racing commission’s members were appointed by the Ontario government and it had a long reputation for being highly political. 

With the makeup of the commission in the early 1980s, "in our opinion, the commission was nothing more than a spokesman for the Ontario Jockey Club, which represented the thoroughbred owners," Gord says. "They dominated. We felt we weren't being treated as equal partners."

With the odds apparently heavily stacked against the "old farm boys" of the standardbred business, "we thought we were going to be pushed aside to satisfy the thoroughbred owners."


A very political dispute
It is the winter of 1984-85, the latter days of William G. Davis's premiership of Ontario. The harness horsemen decide the only way to gain the attention needed to get their point across in the dispute over night-time racing is to shut down the tracks. If there is no harness racing, the lost revenues should be enough to get some action, they reasoned.

The tactic worked. Representatives of the standardbred and jockey club organizations were summoned to Queen's Park to explain to a committee of the provincial government what the dispute was about and propose how best to end it. Gord recalls he and Joe Burke being in one room, the jockey club representatives in another. Davis and the cabinet are in a third room, with Davis confidante Eddie Goodman acting as the go-between. 

Eventually, Gord and Joe are asked to speak to the cabinet ministers and make their case. "We explained we wanted representatives, horsemen, on the Ontario Racing Commission, which had to approve changes in post times. The ORC were political appointments and not horse people. They had no knowledge of the business. That's what we told them.

"We had a brief meeting with the cabinet before adjourning to our separate quarters.”

The province agreed to the standardbred racers' demands and, in one of Davis's final acts as premier, it established a commission to study the racing industry. Soon afterwards, David Peterson became Ontario’s first Liberal premier since the Second World War, and began making some curiously non-political appointments. 

Peterson had already made former Tory labour minister Robert Elgie a member of the Workers' Compensation Board. Then he made former Conservative Cabinet Minister Frank Drea chairman of the Commission. He also made another interesting appointment. In January 1988, long-time and vocal Conservative Gord Sherwin was appointed to the ORC as a standardbred representative.

"I remember, I get a phone call from Harry Addison the (Commission) vice-chair, telling me the premier wants me to sit on the ORC. It's a Liberal government and I’m a known Conservative. It turned a few heads. This was a pretty prestigious appointment."

"It shows how highly regarded he was," says Burke, "to get that appointment when he's such a well-known Conservative. I think it helped that he was from a small area, where he'd raced primarily at the small tracks. Without having any connections to the big tracks around Toronto and Hamilton, it was felt he had no axe to grind."

During his years with the commission, Gord sat on various panels to hear the facts in disputes that usually involved driver infractions and accusations of illegal drug use and claims of inappropriate fines being levied. His work with the harness association ended with the end of his term on the ORC. "I'd been there long enough. It was time to move on."

While he enjoyed many happy moments on the track, Gord's biggest thrill in the sport came when he was named Harness Horsemen International man of the year for 1986. How could a man who waited nearly three decades before a horse he owned won a purse as high as $5,4OO be named the sport's top achiever? 
In an article published by HHI's magazine, Harness Horse, on the occasion, the magazine said Gord’s success "didn't really come from owning horses ... but rather for his untiring efforts on behalf of others involved in the sport and business of harness racing.

"He's fought hard for higher purses ... but even more important, he's been a champion for injured horsemen, fighting for increased benefits on their behalf," the magazine said. Gord was a skilled negotiator and became known for his fairness. His approach might sometimes have been gruff says Burke, "but he came across as very sincere. He was looked up to by everybody - people on both sides of an issue, racetrack owners and all. You just knew what a genuine person he is." 

Burke recalls all the times Gord would come out on Christmas Day to drive a truck so that one of his drivers could have a day with his family. "He looked after his workers very well."

After retiring from the racing commission, "I kept on racing," says Gord. "But the fun is gone out of it now. It's hard work, too. l still had race horses in the '90s. I raced Fiddler's Dream up to a couple of years ago.

"You're racing against professionals. I didn't want to do it anymore. Fellows weigh 120 pounds and I'm 220. That's the way the industry has changed. I felt I wasn't skilled enough to compete."

In the bone-chilling cold of January 2010, as he approached his 86th birthday, Gord decided it was time to stop driving the horses. Now his work with Fiddlers Dream and King of the Clan is limited to those twice daily visits to Grasshopper Flats to make sure they're well cared-for.

Jay's boyhood experience
Over the years, the horses became a sort of bonding exercise for Gord and his son, Jay. Jay's involvement in the business came early. “One summer day he called me, just before I was going to go to school at age six, and he said, 'you want to go to the races with Jack Ball this afternoon?' I said yes, I want to go. So he finished his work early that day and we went down to Greenwood in the Beaches. This would be about the summer of 1960.

"Jack hauled a horse in this truck, wooden sides, canvas top. We got the horse loaded in and they said, 'you get into the back and ride with the horse.' 

“So this was just tremendously exciting. We went up to Toronto. I remember being in the back of that truck, and looking out the back door, and seeing the cars go by and people looking at me and boy, did I ever feel special, because I was in the back of that truck with that horse."

They arrived at the racetrack and the horse was unloaded. “It was still early, so we went over to Lake Ontario and took our shoes off and put our feet into the water on a really hot day. Then we went back and got the horse ready. But kids weren't allowed into the paddock.

"So Dad said, 'you go up into the grandstand and when the race is over, you come back down here.' So there I was six years old and he sends me off into the grandstand alone. You could do that in those days and it was safe. But to me it also said that there was a level of trust there from him that I wouldn’t get into trouble and that I would know how to handle myself if a situation came along.” 

One incident that lies heavy on Gord occurred at Mohawk Raceway a few years ago. Jay had taken to racing standardbreds too, and drove many of Gord’s horses over the years. Gord and Jay had gone to watch one of his horses, Belgaum, which had just won a race and showed promise for the future. As the race progressed, Belgaum began to make his move, but there was a collision with another competitor. Belgaum, clearly in distress, pulled up and limped over the finish line. 

Father and son took the horse immediately to the veterinary clinic at Guelph where they learned Belgaum had suffered a sliced tendon. He wasn’t even able to stand on the leg and had to be euthanized.

“We went from great excitement to total letdown. That was a long trip home,” Gord says. “The empty trailer. That took the wind out of Jay’s enthusiasm for racing horses. It was a crowded field. Those things happen.”

Jay continues the story. “We were back to the track the following week with another horse and arranged with the administration to look at the tape of the race.

“We could see what happened and it was obvious that Belgaum’s driver had made a mistake. The driver had run the horse right into the back end of another driver’s cart and the horse had to stop or else run into the driver in front of him. And in doing that he had injured himself. It was driver error.”

The dejected father and son stared at the replay. “Dad said ‘I know what happened now.’ We turned around and walked out and Dad said ‘that’s just one we’ve got to forget.’ There wasn’t any going to the driver and berating him for making a mistake. It’s just ‘that’s what happened.’ A mistake was made and it’s over and done with. 

“Dad could deal with that and I couldn’t. I said ‘I just can’t take this horse business anymore, because you can never tell. There’s always a negative that comes after a positive. There’s just too much up and down. And I made a decision right there, I don’t want to be involved in this business anymore. It’s just too much heartache.

“For Dad he’d get over those things and carry on. He didn’t dwell on hard luck. He just accepted it and carried on.”

There is another lesson learned from Gord’s handling of the situation, too. In Jay’s words “it was honourable of him not to go back to the driver and make him relive that experience.” 



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Facilities-Recreation: Indoor



With athletics being a big part of this area’s heritage, facilities have developed significantly over the years.

In Cobourg, it is challenging to determine where the first hockey games were played, but it is assumed that they must have been played on the frozen ponds in the area. The first rink in Cobourg is believed to have been located at the site of the old jail, on the corner of Third and Albert Streets, from 1904-1906. In 1906, it was demolished so that the Cobourg Jail could be built. During the demolition process, part of the building collapsed and a Mr. Edward Terry was killed. 


Another rink, the Corktown Quarry Rink, was established in 1938 on Water Street, in Corktown. It was on the site of a former dump and when the quarry closed, the rink was established. In 1942, a wooden building on the North side of University Avenue West, between Division and George Streets, became the Ley Brothers Arena. However, in February of 1945 the building was damaged by heavy snowfall and was deemed unsafe for use. In 1947, the Town of Cobourg held a referendum on whether to build a new “Memorial Rink”. Apparently, the referendum passed because construction on Furnace Street began in August of 1949. 

The first game in the new facility was played on January 10, 1950. The new building burned down on August 17, 1953, exactly four years after construction began. It was quickly rebuilt and was re-opened on February 20, 1954. Due to the community’s high demand for ice, the “Jack Heenan Arena” (Pad 2) was built behind Memorial Arena and was officially opened on April 1, 1977. Jack Heenan had been the Mayor of Cobourg from 1961-1980. 

In the spring of 2011, with the opening of the new Cobourg Community Centre, the West Northumberland Curling Club (WNCC) signed a long-term contract with the Town of Cobourg to lease the Jack Heenan Arena. The WNCC is a 5-sheet facility which offers curling to all community groups. 

The Cobourg Community Centre opened in 2011, at a cost of approximately $27 million, and provides 2 ice surfaces (the Bowl & the Pond) and gym space for a wide variety of community sports and activities. It also has a running track surrounding the top of the Bowl and many rooms for small group activities/clubs.

The Rotary Waterfront Rink, with its own warm room and restrooms, was opened in 2008 and provides space for free recreational skating during the winter months. Memorial Arena was closed by the Town of Cobourg in August of 2019.

In Haldimand Township, hockey was popular by 1895 and many outdoor rinks were used for play. The first covered rink was in a building where the Catholic cemetery is now located, just south of the intersection of Aird St. and Lyle St., on the east side of the street, in Grafton. Five years later, it was closed and dismantled and residents returned to playing on the areas' frozen ponds and streams. Hockey boomed after WW1 and two more rinks were built in the 1930’s, but both were gone by the outbreak of WW2. The old sheds of St Andrew’s United Church were converted to a covered arena and flooded prior to WW2. 

The current Haldimand Memorial Community Arena was completed in 1949 and officially opened in 1950. It is located west of St. George’s Anglican Church, in Grafton, on County Road #2. Surrounding the arena is a park that originally had 5 ball diamonds. However, in 2018, diamond 5 (the SW diamond) was converted to a children’s playground. 

The Baltimore Community Centre is situated on 27 acres of park land, located on Community Centre Road, in Baltimore. The facility includes one ice surface with 6 dressing rooms, indoor turf sports field, banquet hall/kitchen, four ball diamonds, outdoor multi-purpose court, outdoor pickle ball court, two volleyball courts, 1.3 km paved walking trail and a picnic shelter. 

Prior to 2006, the Baltimore Community Centre, constructed in 1978, consisted of a 2-level building with a hall, stage and bar upstairs and a small seating area, full commercial kitchen (operated by the Baltimore Women’s Institute), and a 2 lane bowling alley downstairs. The arena (current Sabic Arena/turf sports field) was a separate building on the site. It had been a Wintario funded project and further fundraising was required from Baltimore residents. The fundraising committee consisted of Norm Gray (chair), Eleanor Tryon (secretary), Bernice Bell, Marion Sherwin, Lloyd Baxter, Neil Cane, Howard Toyne, Ron Willis, and John Wood.

When the new facility was built, in 2006, it had two ice surfaces (the smaller Sabic Arena and the larger Lion’s Arena). In 2014 turf was installed in the Sabic Arena which was converted into an indoor turf sports field. The main ice surface is NHL size and has the capacity for more than 800 spectators. 

The Bewdley Community Centre is located at 7060 Lake St., in Bewdley. The facility includes one ice surface, banquet hall/kitchen, community library, an outdoor multi-purpose court, and a ball diamond. The Bewdley Community Centre was formerly called the Vincent Massey Memorial Centre, named after Charles Vincent Massey who was a Canadian lawyer and diplomat. He was the 18th Governor General of Canada, and the first Governor General who was actually born in Canada. He retired to Batterwood House in the village of Canton, which is located near Bewdley. 

The land the facility is on was originally purchased in the late 1960’s for the purpose of building a school but it was sold in 1975 to Hamilton Township for the Vincent Massey Memorial Arena. It was constructed in 1975 as a joint venture between Hamilton Township and the former Hope Township. This was a Wintario project that included fundraising from the community. In 2009, the arena was renovated to include the new hall and library and Hamilton Township took over full responsibility of the facility from Port Hope (the former Hope Township) and at that time the name was changed to Bewdley Community Centre.

In Colborne, residents recall skating at Teal’s Pond, on Parliament Street, in the 1940’s. Discussions of building an arena began in 1964. Fundraising took place and the arena was built at the site of an old train station. It was first used in 1965 on natural ice, on a sand base, with no seating, not even benches - just the ice with sand on both sides. The arena wasn’t fully completed until 1967 when they received a Centennial Grant for artificial ice. 

The initial cost was only $35,000 because the land was donated and much of the labour was done by volunteers. The dressing rooms were tiny and a short time later larger dressing rooms were added to the outside of the building. Over the years, many renovations were done. The arena had wooden rafters and over the years dry rot resulted due to condensation. Annual inspections were required and in 1999 it was deemed the building would be condemned by 2001. 

Colborne and Cramahe councils joined forces in 1999 and started a committee to spearhead the construction of a new arena. Committee members included interested citizens as well as some members of Cramahe and Colborne councils and staff. The committee split into 2 groups: fundraising and building. The building committee had to find land, arrange for its’ purchase, and spearhead engineer drawings for the new arena so fundraising goals could be set. 

Fifty-six acres of land, where the Keeler Centre now sits, was purchased for about $250,000. Eleven acres were severed for the arena and the other forty-five acres were developed by the town into a residential subdivision. This property was originally called the “Fairgrounds” and had a racetrack on it. The Keeler Centre cost approximately 3.5 million dollars, including the cost of the land. No grant money was received so they had to take a loan, which has been fully paid off in recent years. Submissions were made from the public (contest with prize) for the naming of the arena and the winner was “The Keeler Centre”, submitted by Marion Miller, named after the founder of the village, Joseph Abbott Keeler. 

The Keeler Centre opened in September of 2001 with an official opening ceremony. It is a multi-purpose facility with an ice pad and hall. Rotary Hall is equipped with a full kitchen, has a stage and complete sound system, and can accommodate up to 250 people. The Keeler Centre also has a large outdoor space – fields with electrical panels which benefits outdoor events. 

The Alnwick Civic Centre is located at 9059 Country Road 45, in Roseneath. This Community Centre is perfect for large or small events, with a 400-person auditorium and a smaller 70-person community room. They are used for hosting a variety of events. The building also houses the fire department and local public library. It was opened on February 29, 1980, at a cost of $403,000 and was funded primarily through the Ministry of Housing, the Ministry of Culture and Recreation, a Wintario Grant, and generous donations from Mr. Jack VanHerwerden and Mr. Peter Feddema. The land was donated by the Roseneath Agricultural Society. 

Originally, it was used for recreational activities but currently is used mainly for civic and social events. The official opening ceremonies were held on June 2, 1980, and included children planting trees which had been donated by Mr. Rapsy. A dinner followed. (Roseneath Women’s Institute: Tweedsmuir History, Mothersill Printing Inc., 1981)

There are many other specialized indoor facilities in the region that house activities such as curling, dance, gymnastics, martial arts, bowling, fitness centres, etc. 

Updated August 2020

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Neil Cane was a much loved and respected member of this area’s sporting community. His athletic career included hockey, softball, baseball and high
school sports. Some of his accomplishments included winning multiple Ontario Amateur Softball Association (OASA) championships and MVP of the Cobourg Mercantile Hockey League.

He was a well-respected coach, umpire and referee in many leagues throughout our region. Neil’s real calling in life became volunteering and working in the local sporting community. Under Neil’s leadership, while working at the Baltimore Recreation Complex, he helped improve it in many ways. Lights for the existing diamond were installed and more diamonds were added, as well as a basketball court, volleyball court, canteen and washroom facilities. Neil was instrumental in fundraising for two arena constructions and more, facilitating its development into a first-class facility.

Over the years, he was the recipient of many recognition awards, including the Cobourg Church Hockey League’s Outstanding Service Award, the Legion Minor Softball’s Certificate of Merit and Coach of the Year, the OASA’s Outstanding Service Award in 1995 and 1998, the Baltimore Arena Committee’s “Devotion of Duty” Award, the Cobourg Men’s Softball League’s “Thanks for the Memories” Award, and The Cobourg Rotary Club’s highest award, “The Paul Harris Fellowship”. In 2007, Neil was named Hamilton Township’s “Senior of the Year”. Neil’s legacy of volunteerism is exceptional. His enormous contributions to our sporting circles were truly extraordinary and his memory will be forever etched in the heart of his community.

Sport Played That Connects To Collection List

Sports-Haldimand Twp 1900's

Early Haldimand

By Jack Kernaghan – written by Doug Johnson approx. 2010

During the 1930’s, before the war started, the East Northumberland Baseball League was in operation and consisted of four teams – Grafton, Colborne, Brighton and Warkworth. Members of the Grafton team included Jim McMahon, Jack Reymes, Harry Landymore, Max Smith, Hart Immel, Harold Sabins, Lloyd Sabins, Ed Lawless, Roy Goody, Chick Cochrane, Jerry Simmons, and Walter Johnston. Grafton games were played in Rogers Field which was located on the west side of the existing ball field.

Although the East Northumberland Baseball League still existed in the 40’s and early 50’s all of the teams were depleted due to war service. From this period on, all Grafton games were played on the present-day fields, but it should be noted there is no baseball field in Grafton at the present time as all (5) five diamonds in the Complex are for softball.

During the late 50’s and early 60’s the South Durham Baseball League was formed consisting mostly of semi-rural teams. They were Welcome, Kendal, Garden Hill, Newcastle, Newtonville, Coverdale and Camborne. Coverdale consisted of the east end of Cobourg and their games were played in Grafton.

Members of the Coverdale team included Bobby Parnell, Fred Goody, Fred McMillan, Dick Turpin, Jack Kernaghan, Paul Currelly, Ross Beatty, Jim Irvine, Bob Bazay, Jim Ingemalls, Jerry Lawless, Fred Maybee and Don Ball. The Camborne team was put together by Norm Dolley but folded later due to a shortage of players.

Some members of the Welcome team were Barney Mills, Don Lord, John Choiniere, Floyd Bebee and Vern Meadows. Long John Holman and Jim Gilmer played for Newtonville.

There was also a girls’ softball team out of Cobourg sponsored by Town Cleaners which was owned by Mr. Hobbs and the team was managed by Alf Minaker and coached by Bus Cane. This team also included at least three members from Haldimand Township who were Pat and Shirley Harnden and Jean Clouston. Some of the girls from Cobourg were Toots Brisbin, Maizie Jenkinson, Ivy Cockburn, Helen Caine, Eileen Goody, Reta Slater, Ruth Brooks, Winnie Twitchett, Ruth Stillwell, Alice Guy, Jean Allen was Captain, Ruth Bolderstone, Jackie Kadan and Marilyn Jenkinson was the mascot.

In 1946 the Town Cleaners team won the Eastern Ontario Intermediate Softball Championship over Belleville. They eventually went on to play for the Ontario Championship where they won the first game in Sunnyside (Toronto) but lost the last game back in Cobourg.

There was also a Haldimand Township softball team which included Pat and Shirley Harnden and Jean Clouston, Marg and Kathleen Tunney, Ann Heenan, Florian, Mary, Kathleen and Ann Lawless. This was strictly a fun team.

During the late 30’s and early 40’s, I believe, Grafton, Colborne, Warkworth and Baltimore each iced an intermediate hockey team. Members of the Grafton team were Manager Roy Bone, Gordon Locke, Jack Turpin, Wib Thomas, Jack Heenan, Cam Harnden, Hart Immel, Jack Beatty, Mike Heenan, Harold Knight, Jack Kernaghan, Jack Reymes, Dick Beatty, Ed and Mike Spears, Tom Walsh and Tommy Hogan. In the early years, games were played on outdoor rinks, but in later years, they moved to covered areas such as church sheds and eventually to artificial ice in proper arenas.

Reviewed August 2020

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Softball–Women: The Early Years

1946 Town Cleaners

By the Currelly sisters, Nancy, Patsy and Carol

Women’s softball began in Cobourg on Labour Day, in 1926.  Mrs. Arthur Bulger gathered a group of girls for a last-minute game against a visiting team from Toronto.  Long skirts were the attire for the game.  Cobourg won and the history of girls’ softball began.    

In 1928, a church league was formed; this included St. Andrew's, Trinity, St. Michael's, Baptist and St. Peter’s.  This league continued to run until the mid 1930s.  In 1931, a new girl’s team was formed. It was initially called the Cobourg Lakesides but later in the season they changed the name to the Cobourg All-Stars. They played in a league which included Peterborough, Bowmanville, Baltimore and Bailieboro.

The Cobourg All-Stars were highly successful and ended the season with 26 wins and 0 losses.  The highlight of the year was an exhibition game held at Victoria Park, on Labour Day, against the Toronto Lansing Athletic Club who were Intermediate League champions.  Cobourg beat them 8-7 in the bottom of the 9th.   

Members of this team included:  Rita Oliver (P), Helen Slater(C), Grace Maher(3B), Felicia Brinning (SS), Marion Clapper (2B &CF), M. Harper (RF), Agnes Mundy (CF), Dorothy Sloper (2B), Lillian Roberts (1B), Marion Ovens (LF), D. Sloper (P), H. Mann (C), K. Turpin(CF), H. Campbell (2B), Helen Pellow (RF), Ms. Lean.  This team was celebrated for their accomplishments by the town and a banquet was held in their honour, where the Mayor stated the ball players had “put Cobourg on the map in Sports” (Cobourg Sentinel Star, Sept.17, 1931).  

The tradition of hosting Toronto teams on Labour Day continued until the mid 1940’s. As there was no established provincial play-off, the Cobourg All-Stars team reached the highest pinnacle they could achieve. (The provincial women’s softball association/union (PWSU/PWSA) began in 1931 and until 1942 only had an Intermediate A division).

In 1932, softball flourished. The inter-church league continued and the Cobourg All-Stars played in a league with Port Hope, 2 Peterborough teams, Keene, Lakefield, and Belleville.  They also played games against Kingston and the Toronto Alerts, beating both.  It appears that star pitcher Rita Oliver from Cobourg played for Port Hope this season, reason unknown, and Helen Slater became the main pitcher for Cobourg.  In 1933, there is the first mention of the Hamilton Township League including teams from Gores Landing, Harwood, Camborne, Baltimore and Plainville.  The Cobourg All-Stars played in a league against Belleville, Peterborough and Kingston.  

In 1936, there were three women’s softball leagues – the Cobourg Inter-Church League, the Lakeshore League and the Hamilton Township League.  Under the direction of “Hoot” Gibson, the Cobourg Combines (rep team) were looking strong.  Reta Slater was their star pitcher, who not only pitched but also helped with the finances and transportation.  The team played in the Lakeshore League against Bowmanville and Oshawa and lost to Oshawa in the playoffs.  They had a successful season with exhibition game wins against Peterborough, Keene and the Hamilton Township Champion, Gores Landing.   

With WWII spanning from 1939-45, there was not much documentation during most of those years. 1944 brought a strong presence of Girls Softball in the area.  There was a Girls Softball Town League flourishing in Cobourg including both minor and senior divisions.  Some of the teams were:  the Ontario Training School Gliders, Campbell’s, Cooey’s, CYO (Catholic Youth Organization), Matting, Cobourg Lumber Company, Mrs. Pender’s Schoolgirls, Fowlers Wholesale, and Shaw’s Shamrocks.  There was also a rep team called the Cobourg Combines.  These teams continued to play throughout 1945.

Girls softball was a popular past-time in 1946. There were opportunities to play in the Intermediate Lakeshore League and the local town league. In the town league was Cobourg Lumber, Cooey’s Arms, Shaws Shamrocks, The Ontario Training School and Fowler’s Wholesale.  Playing in the “rep” league were the Cobourg Towne Cleaners, Collacutt, Port Hope Bata Shoe, Colborne, CYO and Shaw Combine. The Cobourg Towne Cleaners were the successful winners out of the league with a record of 11 wins and 1 loss. As a result, they qualified to compete for the provincial title.  

They won the Eastern Ontario Intermediate Championship. They beat Belleville in 2 straight wins but lost to Toronto Crofton’s at the Provincials. Members of this team, coached by Lorne (Bus) Cane and Frank Hubbs and managed by Alf Minaker, were:  Reta Slater, Pat Harnden (Kernaghan), Ruth Brooks (Minifie), Evelyn Brisbin (Heriot), Winnie Twitchett (Smith), Shirley Harnden (Johnston), Ruth Stillwell (Medurst), Maizie Jenkinson, Alice Guy (Wilson), Jean Allen, Ivy Cockburn, Ruth Bolderstone (Cane), Jackie Kadan, Ilene Goody (Cherry) and mascot Marilyn Jenkinson.  

The number of teams playing in 1947 reflects 1946 however there was a new team named The Cobourg Pavilions.   They were an Intermediate B team playing in the Lakeshore League with Grafton, Colborne, 2 Port Hope teams, Peterborough and Trenton.  The “Pavs” played Port Hope in the final playoff of this league to earn the berth into the provincial playoffs.  They met Port Credit in the first round and beat them.

They were to play Newmarket next.  However, because of a violation of a rule which stipulated the league playoffs (vs Port Hope), had to be completed 48 hours before beginning provincial playoffs, they are disqualified (the violation occurred because of scheduling difficulties due to weather and schooling).  Most of the girls were at the park in Newmarket when they heard of the protest by Port Credit thereby ending their season.

The Lakeshore League and Church League continued to thrive in 1948. There were 3 Cobourg rep teams playing that year - CGE, the Pavs and Shaws Shamrocks. This was the first year mentioned that the girls were playing under the lights at Victoria Park.  The teams in the Lakeshore League were:  3 Cobourg teams, Peterborough, Grafton and Colborne.  The Pavilions won this league under the direction of Bus Cane. Eleanor Brown pitched a perfect game during regular season play against CGE (walks 1 – the score 41-0).  The Pavs beat Grafton to go into the Provincial Playdowns. They beat Lindsay in the first round, Newmarket in the second and Midland in the third round.  They proceeded to the semi-finals but lost the next round to Welland (1W and 2L) on September 16, 1948.  

The 1949 season was a repeat of the previous year with the Pavs winning the League.  The Baltimore Blue Birds join the Lakeshore league, the Pavs won the league against Grafton and proceeded to beat Newmarket and Belleville in Provincial playoffs but then lost to Midland in 2 straight games.  The Hamilton Township Girls Softball League was active and included teams from Precious Corners, Cold Springs, Plainville and Harwood.  

In 1950, Thomas “Shammy” Shaw became the new President of the Lakeshore League.  He actively promoted girl’s softball in Cobourg by trying to organize a Junior Division so girls of all ages could play.  He not only sat as President but he also wrote newspaper articles which appeared in the local papers where he recounted the games and highlighted players.  He expanded the league by including Ajax, Whitby, Oshawa, Bowmanville, Baltimore, Trenton, Belleville, Grafton, Westmount and Cobourg.  The Cobourg Pavs won this league but lost to Agincourt in the Provincials.  The Hamilton Township League also was running and included teams from Cold Springs, Harwood and Plainville.

1951 was a successful year for the Cobourg Pavilions as they brought home the Ontario AA Championship.  This year the team played in the Peterborough City League and was coached by Shammy Shaw.  It is unclear how they did in the league but they continued to the provincial playoffs and won against Woodstock.  They captured the provincial crown after defeating Sault Ste Marie in two games straight. This was Cobourg’s first Provincial Championship. Members of the team included:  Isobelle Reedy (C), Noreen Hart (1B), Helen Cane (2B), Rosemary Bulger (SS), Betty Fisher (3B), S. Huffman (RF), R. Hills (CF), Georgina Hebert (LF), Shirley Slater (P), June Davis (P), Audrey Dufton, Betty Slater, and Jackie Stothart.

In 1952, Shammy Shaw’s team changed their name from the Pavilions to the Victorias.  They again entered the Peterborough league with Peterborough (3 teams), Lindsay and Belleville. They once again won the league and were ready for the Provincial playoffs. They were awarded the PWSU AA title without playing a single game, the reason not being stated in the Cobourg Sentinel Star, August 21, 1952.  

This championship gave the team back-to-back Ontario AA titles.  Members included:  pitchers, Shirley Slater, June Davis, Barbara Bailey, Betty Slater; catcher Isobelle Reedy; 1st base, Noreen Hart and Rosemary Throop; 2nd Ivy Cockburn; 3rd Betty Fisher; SS Rosemary Bulger, Lois Shaw, Beth McGuire; OF Carol Mellis, Anne Bulger and R. Hills.

In 1953, a revision was made to the classification of women’s softball based on population and zones. Cobourg and Port Hope were considered one zone, combining their populations and putting them in the same category as the bigger centres.  On May 7, 1953, an article was written describing this move and the need to revitalize the minor divisions of girl’s ball.  There aren’t any further articles written about women’s softball until the early 60’s when once again the girls “hit the field”.

Updated August 2020

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Softball-Fastpitch-Grafton Annual Tournament

Grafton Tourney

July 1973 – July 2012
The institution known as the Grafton Annual Ball Tournament started as a result of Paul McIntosh retiring the tournament he hosted in Cold Springs. Ann and Dick Raymond met with Pat & Jack Kernaghan in the spring of 1973 and a fastball tournament became the topic of discussion. With no local tournament, a good facility and avid fastball fans why couldn’t we host a tournament.

With this in mind we approached the local arena and park board for support. They did not feel that this would be a financial success and so declined our offer. Still feeling we had a good idea Ann and Dick would take on the financial responsibility for the first tournament.

The intention of this tournament was to attract local teams and their families to our facility. We were interested in promoting our community and facility. The last weekend in July 1973 saw 12 men’s teams compete, between Friday evening and Sunday afternoon, on two diamonds (now known as Diamond # 1 & # 3) for a nominal prize of $100.00. Over the years the main tournament prize was “Bragging Rights”.

The first tournament was deemed to be a success so why not add a ladies’ division. The 1974 event hosted 18 teams including 7 ladies’ teams.
In 1975 the tournament was rained out and the final 4 games were played on the following Sunday afternoon. (The only time in the history of the tournament that this happened.)

By 1976 the tournament had grown to 34 teams, therefore, a third ball diamond was added to the park. That diamond is now known as Diamond # 2 to the north of the arena. This area had been used by the soccer players, however, in the previous years the game of soccer had been moved to new facilities in Colborne.

In 1976 the tournament introduced a “Dance” event on the Saturday night. This event turned into a social time for participants to visit and reminisce. Many of those years saw over 1,000 people converge on the floor of the arena. In those years the alcohol would be served from the north east corner of the facility and the beer would be served from the north west corner. A multitude of cases of various brands of beer would be cooled in a reefer outside the building. For many years Don Hare and the Wicklow Warriors Ball team would be responsible for managing the liquor sales. The dances continued until 1991.

The tournament by 1980, had grown to 48 teams. It was going to be almost impossible to host all the games in Grafton so that year a number of games were played in the Baltimore Ball park. We like to support other facilities in our area, however, one of the objectives was to support our own facility so Diamond # 4 was built in the north east corner of the property.

During the life of the tournament many people stayed at local camp grounds, hotels and motels, purchased sporting goods in Cobourg, and ate in the local restaurants. The list of services offered goes on and on.

A multitude of local businesses supported this tournament through program advertising and team awards. There are thousands of ball tournament hats and tee shirts being worn in Southern Ontario. In 1981 Labatt’s Brewery came on board. In 1982 the Labatt’s Skydiving Team dropped onto Diamond # 1 at noon on Saturday. In 1983 the Labatt’s Hot Air Balloon took spectators for a ride to see the park from new heights. We enjoyed their sponsorship for many years.

As the years went by the tournament continued to grow and in 1984 boasted the largest number of participants with 32 men’s and 20 ladies’ teams playing 96 games on 5 diamonds starting on Thursday evening and concluding Sunday night. The new Diamond # 5 was created in the south west corner of the property.

The tournament was now known as one of the largest fastball tournaments in Southern Ontario in what was deemed to be one of the best facilities. Over these years the Raymond’s and the Kernaghan’s had followed Marty Kernaghan’s softball career to various facilities in both Canada and the USA. When attending other ball fields Jack and Dick would always be checking out the facility to see if they had something we could add to ours. Jack always wanted dugouts on diamond # 1. Never happened. After years of operating a canteen out of makeshift buildings we did get an appropriate outdoor facility. Numerous players were amazed to see such a facility in a small community. This was a ”Compliment” to everyone who had been involved over the years.

By 1990, Marty Kernaghan, a well-known Grafton Softball player, was touted as one of the best fastball players in the world. He was playing ball for Penn Corp based in Sioux City, Iowa. The team was going to be in Ontario during the time of the Grafton Tournament and we arranged for that team to compete against a team of “Select” players coached by Bill Elliott. Much to the amazement of the hundreds of spectators in the park on Friday July 20th Bill Elliott’s Select Team defeated Penn Corp by a score of 5–4.

In 1992 Marty Kernaghan and the Penn Corp team were invited back to Grafton to challenge Elliott Bros. Cleaners one more time. This time Penn Corp defeated Elliott Bros. Cleaners 5–2.

Things did not always go as planned: very rarely did we finish at the advertised time, many games were re-scheduled due to rain and maybe you played in Centreton in the wee hours on a Sunday morning in order to get everything back on track. Ball players understand that ball diamonds do not come with a roof – you play in all sorts of weather conditions.

As mentioned previously, with the increased interest in the tournament the facility grew to accommodate the event. Diamonds were added. Temporary snow fencing was replaced with permanent fencing. Lights on diamond # 1 were upgraded. A score keeping facility was built. Over the years an electronic scoreboard was erected on diamond # 1 and the field known as diamond #2 got lights. The cost of all of these upgrades was paid for from tournament profit and volunteer help. We now had a premier facility in the hamlet of Grafton. Layton Dodge while sports editor for the Cobourg Star (Northumberland Today and then no daily newspaper) used the quote “On the third weekend in July all roads lead to Grafton”.

The tournament exceeded our original expectations and over the years numerous people came on board to look after the diamonds, collect money at the gate, score keep, help at the bar and canteen facilities and manage the administration during the event. When you joined this team you signed on for life. Over the years we had to say goodbye to a number of faithful volunteers and supporters.

At the first tournament Jim Spiers volunteered as the chief umpire. During those first few years many local umpires volunteered their support. As the tournament grew and at least 10 umpires were needed for every hour of tournament this responsibility was turned over to the local association.

As stated previously Layton Dodge was the sports editor at the Cobourg Star when the tournament started. Layton always took holidays in July and still continued to promote and report the event by Wednesday of the following week. The local coverage was never the same after Layton’s retirement. He took great pride in showcasing all local athletes. He was a scorekeeper/announcer in each of the 40 years of the tournament.

With the turn of the century we were experiencing a decline in fastball participation by both men and women. The local leagues were forced to fold and players had to travel outside the area in order to continue enjoying the game. With the decline in interest it was becoming extremely difficult to host an event that would attract both players and spectators.

In the spring of 2012, it was decided that 40 years was a great run. The volunteers were aging but did not want to quit so we made a difficult but necessary decision. As word spread that this would be the final tournament many ballplayers contacted friends and made up teams so that they could say that they played in the Last Grafton Tournament. One person played in the first and last tournament. A total of 16 mens’ teams and 6 ladies’ teams competed in 2012.

At the final tournament only Jack Kernaghan, Ann & Dick Raymond and Layton Dodge could say that they had been involved for every event. However, Tanya Stittle (Raymond) and Tara Raymond had been at every tournament since the day of their birth. At first they had no choice but then they caught the fever and along with the rest of us have many wonderful memories.

Submitted By Ann & Dick Raymond

Updated August 2020

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