A century of tennis

[attach]6136[/attach]It’s safe to say the score at Lawrence Park Tennis Club is 100-love.

The popular club recently celebrated its 100th birthday.

For community members such as Stuart Cameron, who has lived in the Yonge Street and Lawrence Avenue area for about 35 years, the club is as indispensable to the neighbourhood as Lawrence Park itself.

“I think it’d be a huge loss if it were to go, even as a visual thing,” he said. “Apart from the fact that it provides all these people in the neighbourhood with courts, it’s aesthetically nice.”

Cameron, who joined the club about 12 years ago, has fond memories of running in Lawrence Park’s trails when he first moved into the neighbourhood.

While he also enjoys the exercise he gets from tennis, the club is about more than that to him.

“It’s also about getting down here and seeing everybody,” he said. “We all know each other and after we’ve played we go for coffee together and shoot the breeze.”

The friendships he built at Lawrence Park Tennis Club were especially meaningful for him after his wife passed away.

“This became a place for me to hang out with good people,” Cameron said. “It kept me going for a while, that’s for sure.”

The current clubhouse is where the original Lawrence Park Lawn Bowling and Croquet Club were previously located.

In the past, the tennis club was more of a supplement to the lawn bowling club, whereas now they enjoy equal popularity, said former member Marg Fortin, who is writing a book about the club’s 100 years.

“Bowling was the main activity at the time and bowling in 1911 and 1912 was a male activity,” Fortin said. “So if the wives or daughters came down, the tennis club effectively gave them something to do.”

Fortin has always been fond of the club for its unique queue system, which makes sure everyone has a chance to play via a board with names.

“One of the attractive things about the club is you don’t need to know a lot of people and you can go and still be guaranteed a game at some point,” she said. “At a lot of other clubs, you just don’t go by yourself because everyone else knows everyone else and sticks to who they know.”

Fortin and Cameron are also fans of the club’s clay courts, which they say are uncommon in Toronto.

“It’s much nicer to play on, because hard courts are harder on your legs as you get older,” Cameron said.

Life-long member John Selby was happy to join the club in 1953. It was quite the improvement from public courts, which were less than accommodating due to austerity at the time.

“I remember until the Second World War was over, you’d have to bring your own net to the public courts,” Selby said with a chuckle.

While things have come a long way since then at public courts, the Lawrence Park Tennis Club still holds a special place in the hearts of members.

“I don’t know what I’d do without it,” said Cameron.