An Open Letter To Baseball Parents

Will a single diamond in Bickford Park “displace a couple hundred baseball kids”, “eliminate the Tee Ball diamond and replace it with a giant unfenced off-leash area for dogs” and “threaten sports in Bickford Park”? The answer is clearly: no! Children’s baseball in Bickford was founded by local residents and has long been supported by them, and many local children have participated in these programs. It is, and will continue to be, a delightful and welcome part of Bickford Park.

However, like other parks in Ward 19 which the City considers “parks deficient”, Bickford Park has come under increasing strain from unbalanced uses and territorial claims. The small park cannot sustain two diamonds, soccer games, an off-leash dog area, and still serve as a neighborhood park. Pedestrian and bicycle traffic has increased along the west path. Dogs often stray into the park. Although both diamonds are classified as undersize, they are increasingly used for adult baseball games during key hours of summer evenings and occupy the entire park floor and the south-west slope. Other users have to walk around rather than through the park.

The planning process initiated by Councilor Layton tries to create a greater balance of uses. The removal of one diamond in plan A maintains children and youth baseball programs, offers more space for informal recreational activities, and creates a sufficiently large and effective enclosure for unleashed dogs. Most important, it also adds to the tree canopy, allows some landscaping along the path, and preserves parts of Bickford as a quiet, green environment.

Currently, 6 diamonds exist in the adjacent Christie Pits, Bickford and Eggleton parks, more than twice the number in other downtown parks, many of which are much larger. Children and youth baseball programs use the two Bickford diamonds only for a few hours each week, and at these times the Christie Pits fields are often empty. There is no question that these games can be consolidated on the remaining diamonds. High Park operates a larger children’s program from only three diamonds and uses fields in neighboring schoolyards and parks. For adults, full-size diamonds are available in Christie Pits, Dovercourt, Trinity Bellwoods and Stanley parks, and in numerous other locations. In addition, some 25 smaller diamonds exist in our neighbourhood. If in the future more space is needed for t-ball, a refurbished diamond in Eggleton park, located on City land close to a wading pool and playground would be perfect, especially for parents who bring younger siblings. Our area is clearly parks-deficient, but does not suffer from a shortage of baseball fields.

The Toronto Playgrounds organization has told you to “vote for plans B and C”. Please take an unbiased look at the three plans on the News section of this website. Help us create a green and attractive environment for all users of Bickford Park, including your children!

9 responses to “An Open Letter To Baseball Parents

  1. bob goyeche

    My wife and I live on Bickford Park and we absolutely support the removal of one of the baseball diamonds to allow for a more varied and multi-generational use of the park. Neither baseball diamond meets the dimensional requirements for adult baseball, yet the southerly diamond is filled all summer long with adult groups with players d standing half way up the western embankment. It is neither appropriate or safe for adult players, and neighbours entering into the park bowl at the south west corner literally walk into the middle of an adult baseball game. If T-Ball is in need of more diamonds, the City should spend a few dollars on the diamond south of Harbord which appropriately sized and completely under utilized.

  2. Hi,

    I hope we could keep in mind that the adults playing baseball also neighborhood residents enjoying recreation and the outdoors. The softball players are self organized and considerate to other people using the park. Should thirty softball players and an equal number of spouses, friends and children watching have their facility taken away so that a handful of other residents will have better sight lines? Shouldn’t w be encouraging active and healthy recreation in the park?

  3. Steven Theobald

    I am very disappointed to hear that Mike Layton’s office is considering retaining two baseball diamonds in Bickford. How can this possibly make sense? The park is for the entire community, not for a relatively small group of baseball players who use the park only a few weeks a year. There are plenty of diamonds in the area. What we don’t have is enough green space for all of us to share and enjoy.

  4. Michelle Johnson

    I agree with Bob and feel that this neighborhood community would be better support with a more varied and multi-generational use of the park. The baseball diamond that is in Art Eggleton park is perfect for children’s baseball because it has the playground and picnic areas right there. I coached the children’s baseball in Bickford and enjoyed my child’s baseball games. However, once the game was over, we all departed. The chance to continue playing in the playground and enjoy a picnic with other players is supported if the league would make use of the Eggleton park ball diamond. It’s rather lack luster right now but with a bit of well spent funds that diamond could be terrific.

  5. purplegophers

    i think we should limit the time that the baseball people get in the big diamond ’cause the people swear a lot and don’t let the children play.

  6. I don’t understand why one of the ball diamonds in Bickford shouldn’t be removed when there is an underused diamond across the street in Art Eggleton park. That would satisfy the people who are opposed to losing a diamond, and also the people who want more park-like green space in Bickford. That’s what I’d like to see – only one ball diamond in Bickford.

  7. It would be wonderful to see our city take bold steps and help us Green Bickford Park and make it more usable, having spent several hundred hours in the park over the past 4 or 5 years I have never seen both diamonds in use at the same time, it is absurd to have two, lets plant some real trees and make the park more friendly towards seniors and students. James Kunstler does a good job describing the Bickford Centre: https://www.ted.com/talks/james_howard_kunstler_dissects_suburbia

  8. Hi,

    I echo these concerns. I have lived in the area for a long time and spend a lot of my summer in Bickford Park. I can honestly say that baseball is not it’s primary use! People enjoy the park for all sorts of things and what makes it so special is how natural it is: no playground, minimal equipment, large trees, and a community that cares for it well. I strongly support the removal of one diamond so that the park can be more accessible to the majority who use it!

  9. The park is not big enough for baseball games, let alone two, I play soccer here and was nearly hit on the head by a baseball. There is a meeting this Thursday about the proposed changes: http://mikelayton.ca/open-house-bickford-park-improvements

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