Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Park

From BR Bullpen

Home of Ottawa Lynx (1993-2007), Ottawa Rapidz (2008), Ottawa Champions (2015-2019) and Ottawa Titans (2022-present).

(formerly known as JetForm Park, Lynx Stadium and Ottawa Stadium)

BUILT: 1993

CAPACITY: 10,332


Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Park in Ottawa, ON, was the home of Ottawa affiliated baseball from 1993 through 2007, ending the tenure as Ottawa Baseball Stadium. After that, the Ottawa Lynx of the International League moved into a new ballpark in Allentown, PA, as the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

Ottawa built the ballpark to host the Triple-A franchise the city landed as the IL added one of the two necessitated by the National League's 1993 expansion. The Lynx played their first home game there in April 1993. The ballpark was known for a time as JetForm Park, after a locally based software company purchased naming rights. That name was discontinued when the company was bought out by a rival in the late 1990s. It was known as Lynx Stadium for the remainder of the team's tenure there, until 2007, and as Ottawa Stadium from 2008 to 2014. In 2015, when the Canadian-American Association created the Ottawa Champions to play in the park, the park got a new naming deal from an accounting firm. Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Park is also known as RCGT Park.

In the meantime, there was a near-miss on another affiliated club. In 2011, Ottawa announced it would upgrade the ballpark for a Double-A Eastern League team now known to have been the Binghamton Mets. Although no mention was made that the club would be a Toronto Blue Jays' affiliate, a group sold season tickets contingent on that. However, in May 2012, the Jays and New Hampshire Fisher Cats extended their affiliation. Even without the Jays factor, the renovation hadn't started - so the stadium couldn't have been ready for the 2013 season and the deal was obviously dead. Rumors continue to swirl, but Ottawa has not attracted an affiliated team to replace the Lynx.

The ballpark is located at the edge of the city's industrial park, near the highway that links Ottawa and Montreal, QC - near enough that motorists coming from Montreal can catch a glimpse of the playing field as they drive by. The area around the park was largely undeveloped when it opened, but since then two hotels, government offices and a residential development have appeared nearby, as well as a Canadian Tire hardware store that is visible behind the right field fence. The city also built a pedestrian overpass above the highway, which connects the ballpark with Ottawa's main train station, greatly increasing public transportation options for spectators. The national headquarters of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are also in close proximity.

The playing field is made of natural grass and the park is overall favorable to pitchers. This is a function of being an open stadium in a cold climate, which reduces offense significantly in the cooler months of April, early May and September. When the stadium opened in 1993, Montreal-based reporters noted with envy that the seats were very close to the playing field and afforded an excellent and intimate view of the action, something which was very different from the fan experience in cavernous Stade Olympique (the Lynx were a Montreal Expos affiliate at the time).

After being home to the Lynx for all 15 seasons of the team's history, Ottawa Stadium hosted the Ottawa Rapidz of the Can-Am Association in 2008. In the gap between hosting professional teams, it served as the home for the Ottawa Fat Cats of the Intercounty Baseball League and also hosted some Can-Am Association contests while plans to bring another professional team to the Canadian capital were in the works. After the Ottawa Champions disbanded after the 2019 season, the ballpark lay empty for a spell, until the Titans were created as a Frontier League team in 2021, beginning play in 2022.

Just outside the stadium, next to its parking lot, is a very large metal sculpture entitled "Switch-hitter", which indeed shows a lefthanded hitter from one side, and a righty when viewed from the other direction. The parking lot was in the news in February 2022 when it was used as the main staging ground by the infamous truckers convoy that immobilized downtown Ottawa for three weeks in protest of health and safety measures to combat the Coronavirus pandemic. The city had offered the unused lot to keep some of the big rigs out of the downtown core, but the protesters soon set up a veritable encampment with mobile kitchens and other amenities to provide supplies to those making life a living hell for downtown residents. That was broken up when the province of Ontario and the federal government adopted emergency measures, giving Ottawa police the tools to force the occupiers to leave the city.