Before the park district leased the site, it was home to the Champaign-Urbana Optimists' Babe Ruth baseball program for post-Little League youth. The park was named by the Optimists prior to park district acquisition. It was named for club member Robert E. Canaday, who died along with his wife, Thelma, and three children in an automobile while on a vacation trip in lndiana. Robert Canaday, an Urbana native, had been very active in the Optimists' youth baseball programs, as had his wife, according to long-time Urbana residents.
The lighted ball diamond has been used by the park district for evening softball games.
As new athletic fields are built at other Urbana parks, use of the single diamond at Canaday might diminish.
Text from Mancuso, Dana L. (Ed.). (2007). A century of growth: the Urbana Park District's first 100 years. Urbana, IL: Urbana Park District.