Unveiled by the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame on January 13, 1998, the Syl Apps Award recognizes Ontario's Athlete of the Year. Named in honour of the former Toronto Maple Leafs' captain and Olympic and Commonwealth Games pole vaulter Syl Apps, the award is the first of its kind for the Province of Ontario.
Voting for the award is conducted annually by the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame. Those eligible to vote include Ontario-based sports writers, broadcasters/personalities with at least 10 years covering sports in this province, members of the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors and the Hall's Advisory Board. Points are awarded on a five, three and one point structure with voters asked to name their top three athletic performers on their 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.