Blue Jays' annual Winter Tour set for January

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays will be hitting the road in January for their annual Winter Tour, with stops in Fredericton, Ottawa and Toronto.

The annual fan event is based on a caravan tour Toronto did during the early 1980s. It was brought back in 2011 by former president Paul Beeston and current vice president of business operations Stephen Brooks.

The Blue Jays attempt to change the locations of their tour every year, and after previous stops on the West Coast and in the Prairies, the 2016 version will include a city in the Maritimes.

"Winter Tour presented by TD, continues to be extremely popular with fans and is the unofficial kickoff to the 2016 season," Brooks said in a statement released by the club. "The 2016 tour is particularly special in that we are coming off an extremely exciting season and are entering the new year as defending American League East champions.

"Fan interest in Canadian baseball has never been stronger, and we look forward to continuing to promote the game and bring the Blue Jays to the entire country."

The tour will officially begin on Jan. 17 in Fredericton, where members from the club will visit New Maryland Elementary School before heading to the 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown to interact with members of the Canadian armed forces. There also will an autograph session available to the public at Regent Mall from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. AT.

The Winter Tour will then continue in Toronto from Jan. 19-21. There will be an autograph session at Upper Canada Mall in Newmarket, a visit to Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and a stop at Marvin Heights Public School.

The Ottawa portion of the trip is from Jan. 22-23. The Blue Jays will visit the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario and the Boys & Girls Club of Ottawa. They will also hold an autograph session at St. Laurent Centre and take in a National Hockey League game between the Senators and Islanders.

Toronto has yet to announce which players will be making the trip, but more information is expected to become available over the next couple of weeks. Full details can be found at www.bluejays.com/wintertour.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.