A new vision for the Canadian Football Hall of Fame

HAMILTON – A proposed new era for the Canadian Football Hall of Fame includes a plan to honour the members of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame by showcasing their busts at Tim Hortons Field.

“Our shared vision is to take the Hall of Fame to where the fans are,” said Jeffrey L. Orridge, Commissioner of the Canadian Football League.

“In this way, we can give our most faithful fans the best opportunity to relive tremendous memories, our youngest fans the chance to know and understand our history, and, most importantly, our legends and their legacy the respect they truly deserve.”

League officials have been working with members of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame’s governing committee and staff at Hamilton City Hall on a new plan that has been sent to Hamilton City Council for discussion on June 30.

If adopted by Council, it would:

• Formally recognize the City of Hamilton as the Canadian Football Hall of Fame’s permanent foundation and home.
• Ensure the CFL’s annual Hall of Fame game takes place in Hamilton through at least 2020.
• Feature the centerpiece of the Hall of Fame, the member busts of the inductees to a modern new fan accessible “studio” at Tim Horton’s Field, the home of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, for the 2016 season and beyond.
• Create a signature Hall of Fame display to honour the members of the media wing of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, with photos, plaques and artifacts, in the press box at Tim Horton’s Field.
• Recognize the City of Hamilton’s significant and historic contributions to Canadian football and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame with a plaque at Tim Horton’s Field.
• Make hundreds of additional Canadian football artifacts, currently stored by the Hall, available for travelling exhibitions across the country, so they can be enjoyed by Canadian football fans everywhere.
• Assign the responsibility for future operation of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame to the CFL, including member selection, expenses and capital expenditures.
• Return the Jackson Street building that currently hosts the Canadian Football Hall of Fame to the City of Hamilton by January, 2016.

• Reserve the special climate controlled basement of the Jackson Street building, designed for the preservation of artifacts to museum standards, for Canadian Football Hall of Fame storage until 2025.

“The goal is a thriving, vibrant and financially stable Canadian Football Hall of Fame that will always have Hamilton as its base, but which also engages Canadians more deeply, and in new ways, from coast to coast to coast,” said Dave Marler, Chair of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame organizing committee.

“This plan will evolve and our members and their family and fans will be at the heart of its’ evolution. But this represents a giant step forward from the status quo.”

The 1968 agreement between the CFL and the City of Hamilton that governs the Canadian Football Hall Fame expires in 2018, further necessitating change.

“The purpose of a Hall of Fame — to ensure that our best and brightest are immortal and their stories are timeless – remains the same,” Orridge said.

“But to fulfill that purpose, in a digital age where people and information are more mobile than ever before, we need to change with the times, and be where the people truly are. This proposal does that. It elevates the Hall and amplifies its reach.”