Part of the history of this great Province of Ontario is the outstanding achievements of its athletes.
Many were born here and some found their way here by various pathways to perform as members of Ontario-based teams. Collectively, they have provided us with thousands of hours of excitement, joy, stress, heartbreak, enjoyment and most of all, pride.
Sports heroes and their accomplishments become firmly entrenched in our memories. It is the role of the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame (OSHOF) on behalf of all Ontarians to ensure that time will not diminish the nature of our heroes' deeds for generations to come.
The Province of Ontario is the last province in this great country to have its own Sports Hall of Fame.
In the 1990's, the North American economy took a nose dive, and corporations pulled back sponsorships of all kinds of museums and halls of fame, including the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. After several exciting annual celebrity filled black tie baseball dinners, beginning in 1983, “Willie, Mickey and the Duke", and the last being with Joe DiMaggio in 1991, the CBHF like so many others went into a financial decline, and finally, and sadly, ended up in storage.
However, thanks to many individuals who financially bailed out the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, it now exists comfortably in St. Mary’s, Ontario, on land donated by the St. Mary’s Cement Company.
In 1993, following his 15 year tenure as founder and full time President of the CBHF, Bruce Prentice resigned his position and took a hiatus to regenerate.
Noticing a void in the Canadian Hall of Fame scene, Bruce realized that Ontario was the only province in Canada without its own sports Hall of Fame. Then gathering together a few sports/business people, the constitution/bylaws, selection criteria, and other documents, the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame was registered as a not-for-profit company. Plans were then put in place to elect the first 12 inaugural Inductees in to the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame. For the first 3 years only, it was decreed that 12 athletes/personalities would be elected, following which a maximum of 5 would be elected each year.
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 of CITY TV; George McConnachie; Nao Seco; John Brossard; Ian Smith and others were added later. When Bruce Prentice moved to the Board of Advisors, he turned the OSHOF over to the guidance of Nao Seco, and the Board of Directors at the time, Les Sperinck was elected President, and two more Induction Events were then held at Toronto's Second City revue, with Sandy Hawley and then Daryl Sittler being the Honourary Chairmen, following the '95, '96, and '97 events.
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 Honourary Chairman; 1996 with Bruce Simmons as Honourary Chairman in the Pickering Recreation Centre; and 1997 saw the event return to the Convention Centre in Toronto, with Richard Peddie the Honourary Chairman.