Photo credit: Vancouver Canadians
Vancouver Canadians Baseball Games
There is only one place in this West Coast city where you can watch mutant sushi pieces battle for bragging rights and grown men clamor for a chance to take pictures with a giant stuffed bear, all while kicking back with a beer or a soda in a beautiful open-air setting. Welcome to the world of minor league baseball at Nat Bailey Stadium, home of the Vancouver Canadians.
The giggles of playing children, shouts from vendors selling beers and peanuts, and chants of “Go C’s Go” fills The Nat, as it’s affectionately known, are infectious on the warm summer nights from June through September, whenever the Canadians take the field. The crowd spans all demographics; from parents treating their kids to a night out, twentysomethings sharing laughs and beers, and diehard fans decked out in team paraphernalia.
Many visitors remark on the sense of nostalgia and historical perspective that a visit to The Nat gives them. From the moment you walk up to the stadium you are immediately greeted by the portraits of baseball legends including Jackie Robinson and Joe DiMaggio. Baseball aficionados will also find the intimate nature of the stadium appealing as every seat offers a spectacular view overlooking the diamond from the in-field – the kind of view few are privy to at a major-league ballpark (without putting a sizable dent in their wallets).
There are also plenty of reasons for the baseball purists to indulge in a night at The Nat, not the least of which is an opportunity to see some of the sport’s rising stars. The Canadians have had a long history of future major leaguers passing through its ranks -- with names such as Jim Abbott, Jack McDowell, Rich Harden and Nick Swisher. A popular attraction is the Wall of Fame exhibit highlighting some of the former players who once donned the “C” and have since gone on to make a mark in the majors.
While there might be a brand new big-screen thanks to a recent ballpark face-lift, when it comes to in- stadium entertainment, the Canadians are not relying solely on technology. Enter dance routines, theme nights, and, of course, the sushi races. The latter is one of the most unique traditions in minor league baseball, with three raw-seafood inspired mascots -- Ms. BC Roll, Mr. Kappa Maki, and Chef Wasabi taking part in a race around the diamond. And yes, you can actually buy sushi from the concession stands.
With tickets starting at just $14 CAD, a Canadians game is an affordable and family-friendly sporting entertainment option. So kick back on a lazy summer night, entertain the kids for an evening, shoot the breeze over a beer or two, and maybe even catch the baseball game while you’re at it.
Major credit and debit cards are accepted at the concession stands, and there are a couple of ATMs in the building.
Parking at The Nat:
There is a parking lot at the stadium, as well as 200 spaces across the street at Queen Elizabeth Park. The stadium is in a primarily residential area, so you’ll also find plenty of street parking in the area.
Getting to Nat Bailey Stadium via public transit is easy. The first option is taking SkyTrain’s Expo or Millennium lines to Main Street-Science World Station and then the “#3 – Main Street” bus south to East 30th Avenue. From there it’s a two-block walk west to the stadium. Alternatively, take SkyTrain’s Canada Line to Kind Edward Station and walk about six blocks south-east.
Food for Thought:
Nat Bailey Stadium offers traditional ballpark fare, from popcorn to peanuts to hot dogs, as well as some non-traditional options like sushi. If ballpark food isn’t up your alley, there are several dining options located within close proximity to the stadium on Main Street. Don’t miss the Vietnamese and Chinese offerings here. Or bring your own fixings for a pre-ballpark picnic across the road at Queen Elizabeth Park, just steps away from the stadium entrance.