Arctic Bay’s recreation co-ordinator has been hoping to get a baseball diamond for his community for quite some time.
He, along with the community of Whale Cove, will get that chance thanks to the charitable arm of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Arctic Bay and Whale Cove were two communities announced as recipients of a grant from the Jays Care Foundation’s Field of Dreams initiative. A total of $1.2 million was announced on April 22 for 16 communities around the country with the two Nunavut communities being the only ones North of 60 receiving money. Arctic Bay will be receiving approximately $45,000 while Whale Cove’s grant is worth $16,000 and will go toward covering the cost of installing a new backstop for the existing diamond.
Thomas Levi, Arctic Bay’s recreation co-ordinator, said he’s been waiting on this grant since 2019.
“It’s been pushed back because of Covid-19,” he said. “I was really happy and relieved when they told me the grant was approved.”
That grant money will take care of the lion’s share of the funds needed to build the diamond. The total cost has been pegged at $55,000 with Levi saying the hamlet will take care of the rest.
“They approved the other $10,000 we needed,” he said.
Once it’s completed, Levi hopes to have a full-size diamond with artificial turf, dugouts for the teams and stands for spectators. To help make sure that happens, Levi got in touch with Synthetic Turf International out of Kelowna, B.C., to see what they could do to help.
“I called them and told them what we were looking to do,” he said. “They gave me a quote for four people to come up and help build and they’ll be coming up once the snow disappears.”
If you’ve ever been to Arctic Bay, you’ll know there isn’t a lot of flat land in which to work with and Levi said the diamond will be built on the flattest land available: by the mountains.
“That’s the only place we can build it,” he said. “There’s not much flat land in the community.”
Levi has other projects he’s looking to have completed now that many of the Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted, one of which is to have turf laid down over the holes on the golf course in the community.
“I’ll see if the people coming can help with that if they have the time,” he said.
Other projects, such as two new playgrounds, are on hold for the present time, he added.
But he’s just happy to get the baseball business taken care of.
“It’s been four years since I applied,” he said. “People have been waiting for it and once it’s built, everyone can come and play on it.”