The Toronto Golf Club: First 18 Hole Course in Canada

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Golf Club Grounds
Toronto World, Jan. 22, 1911 drawing
Toronto World, January 22, 1911

Globe, September 3, 1872 First article on golf
Globe, October 30, 1874 Second Globe article on golf
Globe, January 26, 1875 Third article on golf
Globe, October 4, 1875
James Lamond Smith
James Lamond Smith

An 1851 map with the log numbers. The east-west street is Queen St. (Kingston Rd in 1851). Kingston Road turns north just east of Coxwell. A small settlement is at the corner of Coxwell and Queen clustered around a steam saw mill, a tavern and a tollgate. The north south street between Lot 8 and 7 will become Coxwell Avenue. A larger village is clustered around Woodbine and Kingston Road. It was called the Village of Norway for the Norway or Red Pine that grew there so abundantly.
An 1851 map with the lot numbers. The east-west street is Queen St. (Kingston Rd in 1851). Kingston Road turns north just east of Coxwell. A small settlement, called Small’s Corners, is at the corner of Coxwell and Queen clustered around a steam saw mill, a tavern and a tollgate. The north south street between Lot 8 and 7 will become Coxwell Avenue. Lot 7 was originally granted to Paul Wilcott and sold in 1801 to John Small. A larger village is clustered around Woodbine and Kingston Road. It was called the Village of Norway for the Norway or Red Pine that grew there so abundantly.

Small's farm3
Globe, June 5, 1880

Globe, May 7, 1881 First mention of the Toronto Golf Club
Globe, June 3, 1881 Golf at Norway
Globe, October 22, 1881 Toronto vs Brantford

Globe, April 8, 1882 Small's Farm and TGC
Globe, October 6, 1883 Interprovincial
Globe, September 22, 1885

Small's Pond

East of Coxwell Avenue, Goad's Map, 1903.
East of Coxwell Avenue, Goad’s Map, 1903.
1882 Ontario Quebec tournament

Globe, August 7, 1886
Gordon T Cassels map
Map drawn by Gordon T. Cassels, from The Toronto Golf Club, 1876-1976 by Jack Batten.
Matching
Plan of Toronto Golf Club old grounds, Golf, Vol. III, No. 1 (July, 1898)
Toronto World, April 20, 1899
Toronto World, December 5, 1890
Toronto World, April 20, 1899 b
Toronto World, December 5, 1890 continued
Toronto World, December 5, 1890
Toronto World, December 5, 1890
Globe, Feb. 3, 1894
The Canadian Contract Record [Vol. 5, no. 13 (May 3, 1894)]
The Canadian Contract Record, Vol. 5, no. 13 (May 3, 1894)
The Punch Bowl from a private collection (date unknown)
Looking up the Dell from a private collection (date unknown)
Globe, June 16, 1894
Globe, June 16, 1894
Globe, June 16, 1894 Article
The Osler Cup
Globe, March 23, 1895 The Jack Gordon cleet
The Punch Bowl and Plateau from a private collection (date unknown)
The Punch Bowl and Plateau from a private collection (date unknown)
Globe, April 18, 1895
Globe, April 18, 1895
Weekly British Whig, 6 Jun 1895 (Kingston, ON)
Weekly British Whig, June 6, 1895 (Kingston, ON)
Toronto Star, October 30, 1895
1896 Fernhill, Toronto Public Library Collection
Toronto Golf Club House, “Fernhill”, ca. 1895. The photo was reproduced in Athletic Life, Vol. III, No. 1, January 1896, p. 25. Photographer Josiah Bruce also took all the photographs in the Globe article of November 7, 1896. Toronto Public Library.
18960501 TS Ladies CORRECT
Daily Maily and Empire, July 11, 1896 Collage
1
Daily Mail and Empire, July 11, 1896
2
On The Links
Daily Mail and Empire, July 11, 1896
3
Punch Bowl
Daily Mail and Empire, July 11, 1896
4
Daily Mail and Empire, July 11, 1896
A. W. Smith
Daily Mail and Empire, July 11, 1896 Andy Smith was one of Canada’s top golfers
A. W. Smith
A. W. Smith
Globe, Nov. 7, 1894
Globe, November 7, 1896
Globe, November 7, 1896 1
Globe, November 7, 1896 2
Globe, November 7, 1896 5
Globe, November 7, 1896 6
Globe, November 7, 1896
Globe, November 7, 1896 4
Globe, November 7, 1896 7
Globe, November 7, 1896 8
Globe, November 7, 1896 3
Globe, November 7, 1896
Globe, November 7, 1896 A1
Globe, November 7, 1896
Globe, November 7, 1896 A2
Globe, November 7, 1896
Globe, November 7, 1896 A3
Globe, November 7, 1896
Globe, November 7, 1896 A4
Globe, November 7, 1896
Globe, November 7, 1896 A5
Globe, November 7, 1896
Golfers, 1896. Photo by William James.
Golfers, 1896. Photo by William James. Andy Scott putting on the Toronto Golf Club grounds.
Golfers, 1896. Photo by William James. Second photo of group.
Golfers, 1896. Photo by William James on the Toronto Golf Club grounds
18961110 TS Sloane Hunter TGC
The WEEK [Vol. 13, no. 51 (Nov. 13, 1896)]

The WEEK [Vol. 13, no. 51 (Nov. 13, 1896)] 2
The WEEK, Vol. 13, no. 51 (Nov. 13, 1896)
Picture1
The WEEK, Vol. 13, no. 51 (Nov. 13, 1896)
The WEEK [Vol. 13, no. 51 (Nov. 13, 1896)] 5
The WEEK, Vol. 13, no. 51 (Nov. 13, 1896)
The WEEK [Vol. 13, no. 51 (Nov. 13, 1896)] 6
The WEEK, Vol. 13, no. 51 (Nov. 13, 1896)
The WEEK [Vol. 13, no. 51 (Nov. 13, 1896)] 7
The WEEK, Vol. 13, no. 51 (Nov. 13, 1896)
The WEEK [Vol. 13, no. 51 (Nov. 13, 1896)] 8
The WEEK, Vol. 13, no. 51 (Nov. 13, 1896)

Toronto Star, July 23, 1898 5
Toronto Star, July 23, 1898
Toronto Star, July 23, 1898 1
Toronto Star, July 23, 1898
Toronto Star, July 23, 1898 6
Toronto Star, July 23, 1898 looking north west. Foreground Gerrard Street. Williamson’s Ravine is visible as is the bridge where the fence ends on the left. The Toronto Golf Club House is on the top of the hill.
Toronto Star, July 23, 1898 2
Toronto Star, July 23, 1898 continued
Toronto Star, July 23, 1898 3
Toronto Star, July 23, 1898 continued
Toronto Star, July 23, 1898 4
Toronto Star, July 23, 1898 whole article.jpg
Toronto Star, July 28, 1898
Golf Magazine, Vol. III, No. 1, July 1898 Cover
Golf Magazine, Vol. III, No. 1, July 1898 Cover
Golf, Vol. III, No. 1, July, 1898 International Team 262
Golf, Vol. III, No. 5, October 1, 1898, International Team, page 262
Golf, Vol. III, No. 1, July, 1898 p 263
Golf, Vol. III, No. 5, October 1, 1898, International Team, page 263
Golf, Vol. III, No. 1, (July, 1898), p. 264
Golf, Vol. III, No. 5, October 1, 1898, International Team, p.264
Golf, Vol. III, No. 1, July, 1898 p 265
Golf, Vol. III, No. 5, October 1, 1898, International Team, p. 265
Golf, Vol. III, No. 1, July, 1898 p 266
Golf, Vol. III, No. 5, October 1, 1898, International Team, p. 266
Golf, Vol. III, No. 1, July, 1898 p 267
Golf, Vol. III, No. 5, October 1, 1898, International Team, p. 267
Globe, October 8, 1898
Globe, October 8, 1898
18981024 TS Lady Golfers
Toronto World, April 20, 1899
Toronto World, April 20, 1899
Toronto World, April 20, 1899 b
Toronto World, April 20, 1899
18990918 TS A W Smith was not Archie Smith
Archie Smith was the golf pro at the Toronto Golf Club — not to be confused with A. W. (Andy) Smith, the champion golfer of the Toronto Golf Club.
19010316 TS AGM
Cassels Avenue at the east side of the course is named for Walter Cassels who donated land to the Toronto Golf Club and was Captain (President)
Globe, June 11, 1901 a
Globe, June 11, 1901
Globe, June 11, 1901 b
Globe, June 11, 1901 continued The women members felt particularly threatened by the flying bullets of the In and Out Club and with good reason. The mound that was the barrier was too small and inadequate. The Toronto Police Force also practiced at this range near Small’s Pond.

Globe, August 30, 1901
Globe, August 30, 1901
Globe, September 11, 1901 a
Globe, September 11, 1901
Globe, September 11, 1901 b
Globe, September 11, 1901
Globe, September 11, 1901 c
Globe, September 11, 1901
Globe, September 11, 1901 d
Globe, September 11, 1901
Globe, September 28, 1901 1
Missing
Globe, September 28, 1901 3
Globe, September 28, 1901 4
Globe, September 28, 1901 5
Globe, September 28, 1901

19030627 TS George Cummings
George Cumming followed Archie Brown as Toronto Golf Club’s pro. He went on to be the Club’s “Old Man of Golf” and Professional for the next 50 years.
Club house (2)
By well known Canadian artist C. W. Jefferys. Note the windmill in the background for pumping water up to fill the water tank (not visible) that supplied the Grand Trunk Railway’s steam locomotives. Also note the new extension to the north side of the building.
Toronto Star, Sept. 24, 1903 a
Toronto Star, Sept. 24, 1903
Looking south September 25 1903
Looking south September 24, 1903 by C. W. Jefferys
Toronto Star, Sept. 24, 1903 new
Globe, May 11, 1904
Globe, May 11, 1904 Tea on the wide verandah is delightful.
Globe, October 4, 1904
Globe, October 4, 1904
Manitoba Free Press, Winnipeg, August 26, 1905 a
Manitoba Free Press, Winnipeg, August 26, 1905
Manitoba Free Press, Winnipeg, August 26, 1905 b
Manitoba Free Press, Winnipeg, August 26, 1905 continued
Mable Thomson winner, Toronto Star, September 26, 1906

Dorothy Campbell, Hamilton, runner up, Toronto Star, September 26, 1906
Dorothy Campbell, Hamilton, runner up, Toronto Star, September 26, 1906
Toronto Star, September 26, 1906
Toronto Star, September 26, 1906
Toronto Star, September 26, 1906 two
Toronto Star, September 26, 1906
Golfers and Caddie, 1907, by William James, Toronto Golf Club
Golfers and Caddie, 1907, by William James, Toronto Golf Club
The Canadian Courier, Vol. II, No. 6, July 6th, 1907 Hole 3
The Canadian Courier, Vol. II, No. 6, July 6th, 1907
The Canadian Courier, Vol. II, No. 13 (August 24th, 1907) Lady golfer
The Canadian Courier, Vol. II, No. 13 (August 24th, 1907)
Dorothy Campbell, from the City of Toronto Archives
Dorothy Campbell, 1908, Toronto Golf Club grounds, City of Toronto Archives
Globe, March 12, 1909
Globe, March 12, 1909 The Toronto Golf Club failed to negotiate a special deal on taxation with the City of Toronto, probably because it was political suicide for East End aldermen to support such a “goodie” for the privileged members of the Club.
Canadian Courier, Vol. VI, No. 6, July 6, 1909 stile scene
Canadian Courier, Vol. VI, No. 6, 1909 Note the stile in the background. These little steps over fences, allowed pedestrian access across fields and roads.
Canadian Courier, Vol. VI, No. 6, July 6, 1909
The Canadian courier Vol. VI, No. 6 (July 10th, 1909) bush
Canadian Courier, Vol. VI, No. 6, 1909
Globe, July 3, 1909
Globe, July 3, 1909
Globe, July 10, 1909
Globe, July 10, 1909. The shanties of “Shacktown” on Coxwell Avenue are visible in the background. The presence of these unwanted neighbours violated the club members’ sense of privacy. The lower crust stared at the upper crust through the fence and, although many local boys found jobs as caddies, the gulf between the classes made the golfers uncomfortable. Privacy was an important value to those who played “the Royal Game” then and is still now.
Toronto Golf Club 1910 Canadian Ladies’ Championship
Toronto Golf Club 1910 Canadian Ladies’ Championship
1910 Goad's Atlas
Goad’s Atlas, 1910, showing the location of the Toronto Golf Club House
Toronto Star, June 16, 1911
Toronto Star, June 16, 1911
Bridge over Small’s Creek, Upper Gerrard, Toronto Golf Club grounds, 1911
Summer, 1911, The City of Toronto’s Civic Car Line’s streetcar tracks being laid. This is looking eastward on Upper Gerrard at the bridge over Small’s Creek at Williamson Park ravine.
Canadian Courier, Vol. X, No. 22, October 28, 1911
Building Civic Car line on Upper Gerrard Street — with Toronto Golf Clubhouse in background, Canadian Courier, Vol. X, No. 22, October 28, 1911
Civic Car Line COnstruction Gerrard St E
Civic Car Line Construction – Upper Gerrard Street, 1911 – Bowmore Hill
From rattlesnake hunt to hockey, 1934, p. 189
W. Perkins Bull, From rattlesnake hunt to hockey, 1934, p. 189
Toronto World, Jan. 22, 1911
Toronto World, January 22, 1911
Globe, January 23, 1911
Globe, January 23, 1911
Globe, March 14, 1911
Globe, March 14, 1911 Harry Colt was a famous golf course designer.
Globe, April 29, 1911
Globe, April 29, 1911
Dorothy Campbell, Canadian Courier, Vol. X, No. 1, June 3, 1911
Dorothy Campbell, Canadian Courier, Vol. X, No. 1, June 3, 1911
London Standard, October 9, 1911, London, England
London Standard, October 9, 1911, London, England
London Standard, November 9, 1911, London, England
London Standard, November 9, 1911, London, England
London Standard, Feb. 1, 1912
London Standard, Feb. 1, 1912
Toronto Star, Feb. 12, 1912
Toronto Star, Feb. 12, 1912
Toronto Star, October 12, 1900
Toronto Star, Feb. 12, 1912
Globe, March 18, 1912
Globe, March 18, 1912
Toronto Star, June 18, 1912
Toronto Star, June 18, 1912 Note the somewhat misleading wording regarding sewers, roads, telephone, hydro, etc. This is what comprised “every convenience” at the time. The ad says “Every convenience is already installed in around this property”. Nothing was actually installed on the property yet and the Civic Car line wasn’t finished so there were no conveniences except golf greens. $35 dollars a foot frontage was expensive in those days. Craven Road sold for $5 and free lumber.
Toronto Star, June 19, 1912
Toronto Star, June 19, 1912 The Toronto Golf Club was stilling playing on its grounds while Frederick B. Robins and his sales people where taking buyers out to select lots. The property was already subdivided.
Toronto Star, Oct. 21, 1912

Kelvin Park.jpg
Close up of 1912 Subdivision Map
Detail, Toronto Star, October 25, 1912
Toronto World, December 26, 1912
Toronto World, December 2, 1912 a
Toronto World, December 26, 1912
Toronto World, December 2, 1912 b
Toronto World, December 26, 1912
19130328 TW George Cumming
The new course in Etobicoke and “The daddy of them all”.
From rattlesnake hunt to hockey, 1934, p. 189 new
W. Perkins Bull, From rattlesnake hunt to hockey, 1934, p. 189
George Cummings, October 2, 1925
George Cummings, Toronto Golf Club’s Professional for 50 years
Kingston Gleaner, December 9, 1916, Kingston, Jamaica
Kingston Gleaner, December 9, 1916, Kingston, Jamaica. Canadian golf professionals spent their winters in the Caribbean working at courses there.

Afterword: After the Toronto Golf Club moved to Etobicoke

19261015ts-street-name-changes
Toronto Star, October 15, 1926
19270127-gl-street-name-changes-gainsborough-wildwood-etc
Globe, January 27, 1927
19470402ts-streets-renumbered-and-renamed
Toronto Star, April 2, 1947
00107
Goad’s Atlas, 1924, the southern part of the Toronto Golf Course Grounds is all built up as is the original few acres of 1876’s course at Queen Street East and Kingston Road.
00110
Globe, April 14, 1922
Globe, April 14, 1922 This house still remains at the s.w. corner of Gainsborough and Upper Gerrard. Kelvin Park was marketed as “The Beach Annex”.
20160822_104107_resized
The Electric House today.
Aerial shot, 1947. Dominion of Canada photo
Aerial shot, 1947. Dominon of Canada photo.

TIMELINE

DATETime line to 1912 Toronto Golf Club (Toronto Golf Club)
1801July 18 Paul Wilcott sold 200 acre property to John Small
1859Scotland hosts the first Open Golf Championship
1869James Lamond Smith introduced golf to Toronto
1873Royal Montreal is the first golf club formed in Canada, and in the present is the oldest continuously operating golf club in North America.
1876 – 1879James Lamond Smith, Captain  (President) & founder
1876Toronto Golf Club established
1876-1889Toronto Golf Club played just north of the Woodbine racetrack on leased land
1880Toronto Golf Club had 30 members
1880 – 1888R. H. Bethune, Captain (President)
1881Organization incorporated as “The Toronto Golf Club”
1886Aug. 7 Woodbine fire destroys Toronto Golf Club clubs and other equipment
1889Charles Hunter, Captain (President)
1889Toronto Golf Club evicted & Course near Queen north of Woodbine subdivided for housing.
1889Toronto Golf Club had 6 hole short course at Woodbine
1890 – 1891Col. G. A. Sweny, Captain (President)
1892 – 1893Sir E. B. Osler, Captain (President)
1894 – 1908Judge W. Cassels, Captain (President)
1894Women admitted
1894Incorporated as the “Toronto Golf Club Association”
1894Fernhill Land Company incorporated to manage the Fernhill property
1894Fernhill Land Company purchased 30 acres Fernhill & Opened Club House
1894Osler Cup presented to the Toronto Golf Club
1895 – 1910William Troughton, Steward Toronto Golf Club
1895Archie Smith, Toronto Golf Club Professional
1895April Toronto Golf Club leased fields to the east, bringing course up to full 18 holes
1895June Five Toronto Golf Club members charged with violating “The Lord’s Day Act”
1895First Royal Canadian Golf Association annual tournament
1896150 members (plus 125 lady associates)
1896A. W. (Andy) Smith returned to Scotland
1899Dec. 12 Five caddies charged under “Lord’s Day Act”
1899May Clubhouse remodeled with an extension on the back known as “the new clubhouse”.
1900George Cummings Toronto Golf Club Professional March 20 arrives from Scotland.
1900George Cummings redesigned the course
1901In and Out Gun Club
1905George Cumming wins Canada Open
1909Charles Cockshutt, Captain (President)
1909A new charter and name is again officially “The Toronto Golf Club”
1909City of Toronto annexed Midway
1910 – 1912Col. G. A. Sweny, Captain (President)
1910 – 1912J. Williams, Steward
1911Jan. Toronto Golf Club purchased land Etobicoke Creek
1912Oct. 12 Farewell dinner Club House
1912Dec. 16 Civic Car line opened
1912Jan. F. B. Robbins & Henry Pellatt buy Toronto Golf Club land for Kelvin Park Subdivision

Jack Batten, The Toronto Golf Club 1876 to 1976
An excellent history and an enjoyable read.

20151003_1425160
The graceful evergreen Wood fern grew on the sand soil under the pines of Fernhill. Other species of ferns grew in the wet rich soil of Small’s Creek ravine. Many species have “gone missing” due to the heavy use of this small ravine park.
ferns
img00118

2 thoughts on “The Toronto Golf Club: First 18 Hole Course in Canada

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