The Ontario Sports Hall of Fame is an association dedicated to honouring athletes and personalities with outstanding achievement in sports in Ontario, Canada. The hall of fame was established in 1994 by Bruce Prentice, following his 15-year tenure as founder and president of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame (CBHF). The inaugural class of honoured members was inducted in 1994.
The OSHOF currently lists 115 inductees, including 101 players and 14 sports personalities. Each year the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame also honours recipients of the Brian Williams Media Award, the Sandy Hawley Community Service Award, the Ferguson Jenkins Heritage Award, the Syl Apps Athlete of the Year Award, and the Bruce Prentice Legacy Award.
The Ontario Sports Hall of Fame was established through the efforts of Bruce Prentice, the founder and former President of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame (CBHF). Noticing a void in the Canadian Hall of Fame scene, Prentice realized that Ontario was the only province in Canada without its own sports Hall of Fame. Originally called the “Ontario Sport Legends Hall of Fame”, its role on behalf of all Ontarians is to ensure that time will not diminish the nature of our legends' deeds for generations to come.
Initially, some of the board of directors who took on the role of developing the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, were Dr. Al Fruman, Marcia Vandenbosch, the late Mark Dailey, George McConnachie, Nao Seco, John Brossard, Ian Smith and others were added later. As the "Hall" began to grow in prominence and stature, the inaugural induction event, in 1995, was held in Toronto's Metro Convention Centre, with Paul Godfrey as honorary chairman; 1996 with Bruce Simmons as honorary chairman in the Pickering Recreation Centre; and 1997 saw the event return to the Convention Centre in Toronto, with Richard Peddie the honorary chairman.
Since 2015, the Syl Apps Athlete of the Year Award has been determined by the people of Ontario who vote in an online poll with pre-selected athletes. A write-in option is available for athletes who are not on the ballot. To be eligible for the award, athletes must be Ontario-born or Ontario-based and made an outstanding and memorable contribution to Ontario sports during the previous calendar year.
The Class of 2017 will be honoured at the 2017 Induction Ceremony & Awards Gala in Toronto at The Westin Harbour Castle (Metropolitan Ballroom) on October 2, 2017. The 2017 Ontario Sports Hall of Fame inductees include Paul Coffey, John Campbell, Bob Allan, Marnie McBean, Bob Gainey, and John Hiller.
The Ferguson Jenkins Heritage Award, presented annually by the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, was introduced in 2011 to commemorate those one-of-a-kind events or special moments in time that so embellish the long history of sports in Ontario. The first recipient was Terry Fox, who, back in 1980, just happened to be passing through these parts on his heart-lifting Marathon of Hope.
|2011||Terry Fox||Distance Runner|
|2014||Babe Ruth's first professional home run||Baseball|
|2015||Joe Carter's home run wins the 1993 World Series||Baseball|
|2016||Toronto Varsity Blues football team winning the first Grey Cup in 1909||Football|
|2017||No Award Recipient Selected|
The Sandy Hawley Community Service Award, presented annually by the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, is given to an individual who best exemplifies a dedication to the community. The award is named after Sandy Hawley, one of the most successful jockeys in history.
The Bruce Prentice Legacy Award, unveiled in 2015, is named in honour of Bruce Prentice. who founded the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame and has served as the its chairman for several years. The Bruce Prentice Legacy Award is presented to an individual or group that has demonstrated remarkable, long term contribution to sport in Ontario and the people involved. The Award may or may not be given out annually. Voting for this award is conducted by the Hall's Board members and a selected group of experienced sports media professionals.
|2016||Frank Selke Sr. and Frank Selke Jr.||Hockey|
|2017||The Queen's Plate||Thoroughbred horse racing|