Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Park
Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Park (formerly JetForm Park, Lynx Stadium, and Ottawa Baseball Stadium), also known as RCGT Park is a baseball stadium in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada with a seating capacity of 10,332. The stadium is located in the city's east end near the interchange of Queensway and Vanier Parkway. It has been used for minor-league professional baseball and music concerts since 1993.
|Former names||Ottawa Baseball Stadium (2008–2015)|
Ottawa Rapidz Stadium (2008)
Lynx Stadium (2003–2007)
JetForm Park (1993–2002)
|Location||300 Coventry Rd |
Ottawa, ON K1K 4P5
|Owner||City of Ottawa|
|Field size||Left Field – 325 ft (99 m) |
Centre Field – 404 ft (123 m)
Right Field – 325 ft (99 m)
Alleys – 380 ft (120 m)
|Opened||17 April 1993|
|Construction cost||CA$17 million|
|Ottawa Lynx (IL) (1993–2007)|
Ottawa Rapidz (Can-Am League) (2008)
Ottawa Fat Cats (IBL) (2010–2012)
Ottawa Champions (Can-Am League) (2015-2019)
The stadium was built to house the Ottawa Lynx of the International League and opened prior to the 1993 season. In its first season, the Lynx sold out 43 games and set an International League attendance record by averaging 9,772 fans per game. However, annual attendance steadily declined from there, except for a modest increase in 2001. By 2006, Ottawa had the lowest average attendance in the league. The Lynx relocated after the 2007 season.
After the departure of the Lynx, the City of Ottawa considered other proposals for the site but kept the stadium as a baseball facility for the following season. Among the proposals rejected by the city in 2007 were:
- conversion of the stadium into the "Steelback Centre", a variable-use complex that could host 25,000 for concerts and 15,000 for sporting events as proposed by Frank D'Angelo of Steelback Brewery;
- replacement of the stadium by a casino;
- replacement of the stadium with a larger Ottawa Congress Centre;
- redevelopment of the site as conventional retail or office space.
A new team, the Ottawa Rapidz of the Can-Am League, was established in December 2007 and began to play in 2008. Despite attracting higher attendance than the Lynx in its final season, the Rapidz declared bankruptcy on September 29, 2009. A new team, the Voyageurs, was announced by the Can-Am league for the 2009 season. However, the league was faced with a lack of prospective owners for the team and with declining economic conditions and disbanded the Voyageurs in March 2009.
The stadium remained unused in 2009 except for a late-August series of community baseball games sponsored by Ottawa city councillor Bob Monette. Earlier, following the demise of the Voyageurs, Monette had suggested that the stadium be dismantled and the land sold to generate funds which could be applied to a new sports venue.
In August 2009, area businessmen Dave Butler and Duncan MacDonald presented a proposal which would renovate the existing stadium facility for activities throughout the year, including use as a venue for Winterlude.
In January 2010, the Intercounty Baseball League voted 6–2 in favour of presenting the Ottawa Stadium Group with an expansion franchise that would play at the Ottawa Baseball Stadium On March 10, 2010, the IBL confirmed that the application for an IBL expansion franchise had been accepted. The new team, the Ottawa Fat Cats, played from 2010 through 2012.
After spending two years negotiating with various ownership groups to bring a double-A baseball franchise to Ottawa, including a prospective deal with Mandalay Baseball which required the city to invest $40 million in stadium renovations, the city signed a ten-year lease with the Can-Am League to field a team in 2015, named the Ottawa Champions, however the Can-Am League merged with the Frontier League after the 2019 season and the Champions were left off the 2020 Frontier League leaving the stadium again without a tenant.
Ottawa company JetForm first bought the naming rights to the Stadium. The name was changed to simply "Lynx Stadium" after the 2002 season when JetForm changed its name to Accelio. Accelio was in turn bought by Adobe Systems. For the 2008 season, the Rapidz marketed the stadium as "Rapidz Stadium".
On March 12, 2015, it was announced that accounting firm Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton had signed a multi-year naming rights deal, giving the park its current name.
The stadium is in the split-level design, with a concourse running around the middle of the seating bowl. This concourse is at street level, so fans in the "lower" seats walk down, and fans in the "upper" seats walk up. All seats are blue chair-back models. Concessions, restrooms, a gift shop, and a kids' play area are located along a wider concourse (also at street level) located underneath the upper seats.
The stadium also features skyboxes and the "Upper Deck" restaurant (No longer operational) perched behind home plate. The windows do not open, there is no outdoor seating at this level. Access is by elevator from the concourse below. This room is now labelled an event space, can be booked for parties of 50 plus. There are open-air picnic tables down the left-field line which are also available to all fans.
Coventry Road runs along the left-field fence, and games can easily be seen from the street while driving or walking. There is less than 50 feet (15 m) of buffer between the stadium wall and the road, so flying balls can occasionally pose a hazard to passing cars.
Concerts have been held at the stadium on rare occasions:
- July 19, 1998: Stardust Picnic with Blue Rodeo, Great Big Sea, 54-40, The Waltons and Weeping Tile;
- September 20–21, 2002: Molson Canadian Snowjam featuring Treble Charger, Dropkick Murphys, Goldfinger, Gob, Swollen Members, Simple Plan, Mudmen, and Bowling For Soup;
- July 5, 2007: Nickelback, Daughtry, Puddle of Mudd, State of Shock
- "Ottawa Lynx: Ballpark". minorleaguebaseball.com. minorleaguebaseball. Archived from the original on 6 June 2008. Retrieved 7 March 2008.
- "Baseball Lynx to stay in Ottawa, for now". CBC News. 25 August 2006. Retrieved 7 September 2009.
- Zakaluzny, Roman (3 September 2007). "Businessman reveals ambitious plans for Lynx Stadium". Ottawa Business Journal. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 3 September 2007.
- "Ottawa Rapidz go under". CBC News. 30 September 2008. Retrieved 7 September 2009.
- "Owner making play for another Ottawa pro baseball team". CTV Ottawa. 21 August 2009. Retrieved 7 September 2009.
- Desaulniers, Darren (29 August 2009). "Ottawa stadium to be idle no more / Monette arranges for area teams to play games at field". Ottawa Citizen. Archived from the original on 1 September 2009. Retrieved 7 September 2009.
- "Councillors consider tearing down baseball stadium". CTV Ottawa. 1 April 2009. Retrieved 7 September 2009.
- "New Ottawa baseball pitch lands at city". CBC News. 24 August 2009. Retrieved 7 September 2009.
- CTV Ottawa- Baseball returns to play in Ottawa Stadium
- "IBL CONFIRMS OTTAWA ENTRY FOR 2010 SEASON – 3/10/2010" (Press release). Intercounty Baseball League. 10 March 2010. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011.
- Warren, Ken (11 June 2014). "Pro baseball returns to the plate in Ottawa". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
- Reevely, David (23 September 2013). "Ottawa's Double-A baseball dream is dead". Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa: Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- Brownlee, Mark (25 September 2013). "Double-A baseball team off the table for Ottawa". Ottawa Business Journal. Ottawa: Ottawa Business Journal. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- Warren, Ken (16 June 2014). "Pro baseball is back in Ottawa and they're already Champions". Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa: Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "Ottawa Champions Baseball Club and Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Announce Naming Rights for Ottawa Stadium". Ottawa Champions. 12 March 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
- McQueen, Ann Marie (6 July 2007). "Lynx Stadium, Ottawa – July 5, 2007". Canoe.
- "Molson Brings Summer Snow, Music". Billboard. 9 July 2002. Retrieved 13 March 2015.