Ottawa is one step, and several shovels full of dirt, closer to having its first and Canada’s second Miracle League Field; a safe and accessible baseball field and playground for children with special needs. Today’s groundbreaking ceremony took place at Notre-Dame des Champs Park in Orléans.
“The City of Ottawa and the Miracle League are working together to make this dream come true,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “The real miracles will take place next summer when children with special needs will finally round the bases of a ball diamond built especially for them.”
The baseball diamond is planned to be opened in summer 2015, followed by a building to house fully accessible washrooms and a canteen.
“Ottawa has diverse offerings for children to play sports, but there is a gap in facilities for children with special needs,” said Councillor Mark Taylor, Chair of the City’s Community and Protective Services Committee. “This tremendous project will go a long way toward filling that gap, and organizations are looking forward to the start of play in 2015.”
The facility is the dream of 12-year-old Bryce Desrochers and his parents Rolly and Michelle. Bryce was born with cerebral palsy, but he would like to play sports like any other child. The Miracle League has partnered with the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre, which will use the field and playground for rehabilitation and programming for more than 4,000 children in the nation’s capital who have physical or mental disabilities.
“Our motto at the Miracle League of Ottawa is that every child deserves to play the game of baseball,” said David Gourlay President of the Miracle League of Ottawa. “We are inspired by Bryce who reminds us always that if you say your dreams out loud, they usually come true. With the help of partners in Ottawa and across the country, we’re going to make his dream a reality.”
The City is making the land available to the Miracle League and will cover up to 50 per cent of the estimated $1.6 million cost of the project.
To date the Miracle League of Ottawa has secured pledges of $1.4 million, including pledges made at today’s groundbreaking of $150,000 and $12,000 by the Malhotra Family Foundation and Tunis Shriners respectively.
The Miracle League of Ottawa would like to thank the City of Ottawa, The Blue Jays Care Foundation, the Malhotra Family Foundation, BFI/The Friends of Mer Bleue Community Fund, Kraft, Telus, The Ottawa Champions, Pathway Hyundai, the Rotary Clubs of Ottawa, Orléans and Ottawa South, and the Tunis Shriners.