Raymond Chabot Grant Thorton (RCGT) – Ottawa Baseball Stadium
The Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Park is also known as the RCGT Park. It was previously known by many names such as Lynx Stadium, JetForm Park, and Ottawa Baseball Stadium. It is basically a baseball stadium situated in the city of Ottawa, Ontario. It has a seating capacity of 10332 people and is located on the eastern end of the city quite near the interchange of Vanier Parkway and Queensway. Ever since the year 1993, this stadium has been used for various music concerts and minor-league professional baseball matches.
History of the Park
The Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Park was basically built to house the Ottawa Lynx from the International League. The park opened much before the 1993 season. During the first season, the Lynx managed to sell out 43 games and also managed to set up an International League attendance record by simply averaging around 9772 fans in each game. However, the annual attendance declined steadily from thereon. In the 2001 season, it saw a modest increase. By the year 2006, Ottawa witnessed the lowest average attendance in the entire league. Finally, the Lynx relocated themselves after the 2007 season was over.
Once the Lynx departed, the stadium was kept as a baseball facility for the following season, although the City of Ottawa did consider a few proposals for the site. A brand new team was established in the month of December, 2007 and was named as Ottawa Rapidz of the Can-Am League. They started to play from the next year. Although it attracted a higher attendance than the Lynx in the final season, the Rapidz finally declared bankruptcy on the 29th of September, 2009. Another new team, named as the Voyageurs, was announced for the 2009 season by the Can-Am league. However, the league had to face a lack of prospective owners for the new team. Due to a declining economic condition, they soon had to disband the Voyageurs in the month of March 2009.
The entire stadium remained unused in the year 2009, except for a series of community baseball games during the late-August. These games were sponsored by Ottawa city councilor Bob Monette. Once the Voyageurs were disbanded, Monette had suggested that the stadium should be dismantled and the site should be sold off in order to generate funds that could be used on a new sports venue. In the month of August 2009, 2 businessmen, Duncan MacDonald and Dave Butler, proposed to renovate the existing stadium facility so that various types of activities could be organized there that would also include the Winterlude.
In the month of January 2010, The Intercounty Baseball League voted 6 votes against 2 in the favor of presenting an expansion franchise to the Ottawa Stadium Group that would play at the stadium. On the 10th of March, 2010 IBL accepted the expansion franchise application and the newly formed team Ottawa Fat Cats started playing from the year 2010 and played till 2012.
If you look at the stadium carefully, you will notice that it is in the split-level design. It has a concourse that runs al around the middle of the seating bowl. Since this concourse is at street level, fans in the lower seats can easily walk down and fans in the upper seats walk up. All of the seats are in the form of blue chair-back models. Along a wider concourse, you will find restrooms, a kids’ play area, a gift shop, and concessions. This wider concourse is also at street level and is located underneath the upper seats.
Although no longer operational, you will also find skyboxes along with upper deck restaurant in the stadium. At this level, there are no outdoor seating arrangements and the windows do not open. The only access is through the elevator from the concourse below. This room is now available to host parties and any type of social events. There are also open-air picnic tables situated down the left-field line which are available to all the fans.
The Coventry Road runs along the left-field fence. This makes it very simple for you to watch any game while walking or driving from the street. Between the road and the stadium wall, there is hardly a buffer of less than 15 meter or 50 feet. This makes it possible for flying balls to pose a serious threat to cars that are parked nearby or even those that are passing across. Thus, if you happen to pass the stadium during a game of baseball, better pray that the ball does not hit your car.