Hawks Field: A Dream Coming True in Dominion

It may not look like much on a cold February day (see below) but the Hawks Field in Dominion is undergoing a serious make-over – from field to Dream Field.

Having noticed the construction and wondered about the project, I contacted Councilor Darren Bruckschwaiger, whose District 10 includes Dominion. He put me in touch with Lisa McNeil-Campbell, who chairs the Hawks Dream Field Society which has initiated the project to create a great, accessible, baseball field — as well as a walking trail, a bocce ball court, a splash pad for kids, a canteen with accessible counters, washrooms (including adult changing tables) and covered stands for people recovering from cancer treatments — on the site of the original Hawks Field.

Site of Hawks Dream Field, Dominion, NS

Photo by Donald Clarke

Bruckschwaiger told me:

It’s a wonderful committee that has worked hard on this project. They are very driven and I’m confident that they’re going to see this through to completion. This is going to be an amazing, fully accessible facility and a great benefit for all of CBRM. And I’m just thrilled that it’s here in the community of Dominion.

I can agree with that sentiment, with regard to parks in general, but I really appreciate the focus on including CBRM residents of varying ability in its design. As the project website puts it, “at the moment, there are very few activity/sport venues that offer fully accessible facilities in which to play.” When I asked McNeil-Campbell if this might become a cultural “touchstone” for the community, she said:

Oh 100%! That’s the whole point of it, is for people to have a safe, uninhibited place to be where they feel included. So it doesn’t matter what your ability or your disability, you feel welcome.


The society has received funding from the federal ($400,000), provincial ($333,000) and municipal ($266,000) governments as well as from many community organizations, businesses and residents. (It continues to fundraise the $1.5 million still needed to complete the project.)

A rough list of the work to be done includes:

  • Grading and leveling of the field to make it wheelchair accessible
  • New fully-accessible dugouts and grandstands (also new fencing where required)
  • Walking track around the perimeter of the field
  • Building a new facility on site that will house a fully accessible washroom, regular family wash room, storage area and an accessible canteen.
  • Accessible splash pad
  • Official size bocce ball court for children, adults and seniors.
  • Historical space to depict the rich baseball history in Dominion and the CBRM
  • Lighting installed
  • Electronic scoreboard



To date, the society has spent $1.2 million on Phase 1 of the project, laying the groundwork for the plumbing and wiring necessary for an accessible facility with outdoor lighting and ensuring the stability of the infrastructure. The company contracted for the construction of this phase is Northern Construction, while the design is by landscape architects Glenn Group/Dillon Consulting.


Spend a few minutes with McNeil-Campbell and you will begin to see why she has been able to garner such support for the project, which she’s undertaken in memory of her late father, Walter McNeil. A longtime player turned coach, McNeil was part of Dominion’s proud baseball tradition, one that stretches back 85 years. His passion for baseball — and love of community — seems to have rubbed off on his daughter. Asked where the idea for Hawks Dream Field originated, McNeil Campbell told me:

Walter McNeil

Walter McNeil

Well, my dad, Walter McNeil, passed away on June 23rd in 2019. And after he had passed, my family and I decided that we wanted to do a project just to honor him and his legacy, cause he was a very community-minded person. He loved to volunteer. He loved baseball, and he loved to coach, and to play and to watch ball and he loved kids. So we thought it might help us with the grieving process and it would do something good for the community at the same time. So we got a group of people together, in the community, and we kinda sat around the table. We said, “What can we do to honour him?” And, of course, the first thing that came up was the Hawk’s Field.

Personally, I can’t wait to see how it all comes together. The town of Dominion could definitely do with some improvements – with its poor bus schedule and relatively few events for the municipality at large (such as the fireworks) – it often feels left out of the CBRM’s plans.

Cape Breton in general is lacking in accessible venues, so a baseball field that will allow the differently abled to play represents real progress on this front. But just having a positive, accepting, safe place for young people who live in the town (or who are able to catch a bus out here) will be a step forward. (And who knows, maybe the CBRM will even improve the bus schedule as a result!)

The Hawks Dream Field is scheduled to be completed sometime in the spring of 2023. If you’d like to donate to the project, you can buy merchandise, visit the group’s GoFundMe, or visit the website.


Donald Clarke

A “military brat,” Don Clarke finally put down roots in Dominion, Cape Breton. A graduate of CBU (Communication) and NSCC (Business Administration), he has been active in the local theatrical community for years, having performed and directed at the Boardmore Playhouse and Two Hoots Productions. He has worked in film and television, directed a Canadian Short Film and published poetry in Caper’s Aweigh, Poetry.com and The Caper Times, where he also served as editor.