Despite spending most of their 125-plus-year history as a minor-league organization, the Bisons began play as a major-league club from 1879–85. All told, nearly 3,000 players and managers have donned the Bisons uniform, including 20 who have been immortalized in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Currently, the Bisons compete every summer for an International League title, as well as the Thruway Cup—a regional- and bragging rights–based trophy chased by the Bisons, the Rochester Red Wings, and the Syracuse Chiefs. The Bisons have done half of their competing since 1988 at Coca-Cola Field, which boasts the largest video board in the minors and an infield kept moist by hoses that spray water and not soda as the field’s name would suggest.
The Hamilton Thunderbirds, a shining star in the 92-year-old Intercounty Baseball League's galaxy, electrify baseball fans with a slate of matches against teams sourced from all corners of Ontario. The Thunderbirds, led by batting ace Chris Piano, take on the league-leading Barrie Baycats on May 29 and the second-place Brantford Red Sox on June 26, seeking to best their vaunted opponents in fielding, pitching, hitting, and downward-facing-dog poses. TBird Family Day Packs provide nine innings' worth of diversion for two adults and two children at the recently renovated, 2,700-seat Bernie Arbour Memorial Stadium. While cheering on the diamond's denizens or practicing astral projection, groups can split four ballpark hot dogs and four drinks between them.
The staff at Spinner’s Rink dispatch rented roller-skates to feet of all ages and skating abilities so guests can jump, whirl, and boogie across the wooden floor. Packs of rolling revelers lap an oval track under technicolor lights during open skate sessions on Saturdays and Sundays and spin with all the grace of a gyroscope trapped in a blender. On Friday nights, kids ages 16 and younger can mingle in supervised skate and dance celebrations, and adults can skate until midnight on the first Friday of each month. After mastering their dodecatuple axels, skaters replenish themselves at the rink’s snack bar with hot dogs, pizza, and soda.
The Toronto International Boat Show enthralls maritime enthusiasts and novices alike with more than 1,000 sailboats, canoes, kayaks, and cruisers on display and a plethora of attractions. Requiring six days of construction, an indoor lake grants attendees free inflatable and paddleboat rides atop more than one million gallons of Lake Ontario water. Five thousand gallons of water and native aquatic Ontarian critters occupy the 40-foot long Great Canadian Fish Tank, and Duma, a 6-year-old Jack Russell terrier, enchants onlookers by waterskiing, steering a boat, and emitting a series of sacred barks that summon Poseidon from the rippling waves below. Seafarers such as Zac Sunderland, the youngest person to circumnavigate the Pacific Ocean solo at age 16, discuss their travels and experiences at more than 140 enrapturing seminars. Toronto International Boat Show’s Discover Boating Centre stays staffed throughout the event’s duration with experts that can help spectators traverse their way through the show, answer boating-related queries, and dispense tips on which brand of pipe cleaners makes the most convincing catfish masks.
Longtime OHL coach Stan Butler is on his way to leading the Brampton Battalion to a tenth consecutive trip to the playoffs. Over the Batallion's relatively short lifespan, 35 players have been drafted to the NHL, with 13 signing on professionally, including Raffi Torres, Wojtek Wolski, and Matt Duchene. The current roster boasts a similar stock of promising talent, including one rising star who is legally allowed to play with two sticks and infinite distraction pucks.
• For $39, you get two half-hour sessions of skating treadmill (a $120 value), shooting (a $90 value), or goalie training (a $100 value). • For $5, you get admission to one Zumba or Jazzercise class (a $10 value). This option must be redeemed by August 31.