Welcome to the International Club of Canada
"Hands across the net, friendship across the ocean "
To promote friendship and sportsmanship in tennis between Canada and other countries by hosting tennis events with other IC countries and supporting tennis development in Canada by providing mentorship for young tennis players.
The first meeting of Active Members of the International Lawn Tennis Club of Canada was held at the Albany Club in Toronto on Wednesday, August 11, 1965, at 12.30 p.m. Laird Watt, the first president of the Club, was unable to attend and Gilbert Nunns chaired the meeting. In addition to Gilbert those attending the meeting in person or by proxy were familiar names in Canadian tennis history: Peter Barnard, John Bassett, Bob Barnard, François Godbout, Bruce Harrison, Sydney Hermant, Jim Macken, Harry Marpole and Walter Martin. Don Fontana, captain of the Club, agreed to approach the I.C. of the USA for a match in 1966. There were discussions of a black tie dinner, a match against a touring team from England and plans to participate in I.C. matches in Holland. The Canadian I.C. was up and operating. It had officially received “International Club” recognition just six weeks before, at the annual meeting of the Council of I.C.’s held each year during the fortnight of Wimbledon. It joined thirteen other nations with International Clubs, all existing with a common interest in the game of tennis.
The annual match with the USA Club has been the main regular event of the Club since that time, with matches alternating each year between the Donalda Club and various locations in the USA. The Piping Rock Club on Long Island, The Merion Cricket Club in Philadelphia, The West Side Tennis Club on Long Island. In 1971 the matches were divided in an open event competing for the Proctor Cup and a seniors event for the new Lawrence Baker Trophy. Women’s matches were included in the late 90’s and starting in the year 2000 teams will play for the Carole Graebner Trophy.
There is no doubt that tournaments for the Windmill, Christiane Mercelis, and Columbus Trophies represent the highlights of the I.C. Movement. On these occasions many of the now 42 International Clubs meet in team competition. In these tournaments old friendships across the net and across the nations are renewed, and new ones made. Equally enjoyable are the I.C. Tours where teams of I.C. players tour other countries at the invitation of their I.C.’s, or host visiting teams.
This brief review of the Club’s history would not be complete without an expression of gratitude to the spirit behind the creation of the I.C. Club of Canada, the Late Bruce Harrison and those who have served on the Club’s executive, particularly its presidents: Laird Watt, Walter Martin, John Proctor, Jim Skelton, Frank Mott-Trille, Brian Flood and David Dimmer.
The IC Business Report is designed to provide the IC Council and all ICs of the World with a yearly update of the club’s members, events and general activities. It allows ICs to share best practices, to learn from each other, and to give feedback to the IC Council. Furthermore, the Council is then able to address ‘issues of major concerns and general improvements’ and to ascertain how it can help to improve these. Due to the eruption of COVID-19, we did not run the program in 2020, and we adapted the 2021 questions to assess the impact of the pandemic and to understand the actions adopted by different ICs to overcome it.
35 out of 41 ICs responded to the 2021 survey, which was distributed via Survey Monkey. The missing ICs were Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Finland, Hong Kong and Romania. For completeness, the 2019 reports for Austria and Hong Kong, the 2018 report for Finland and the member demographics for Bulgaria from previous years have been included in this analysis for a vis-à-vis comparison. This means we included data for a total of 39 ICs (out of 41 which excludes Russia), with missing data for Croatia and Romania. In the 2019 analysis, we recorded data for 40 ICs (out of 42), including 38 template responses and two email messages.
It is positive to see such high responses. Ideally, every single IC should be responding as this ensures that the information collected is more informative for both the Council, Regional Representatives and each individual IC.
Each ICs President and Honorary Secretary has already received a copy of their responses and an individual report.
For any questions or feedback, please email both Gustavo Herrero (Honorary Secretary) and Tash Starling (Website & Communications) at the IC Council:
IC Rod Laver Junior Challenge.
Areas of concern and other comments
In comparison to the 2019 Business Returns, there has been a 8% net decrease in the total number of members (accounting for deceased members). However, we must note that the 2021 data excludes the IC of Russia and so an exact comparison accounts for a 7% decrease. Gender distribution is seeing a slow increase in female proportion over the last eight years, with 71% male and 29% female members. It can be perceived that we are experiencing an aging effect of our membership, with approximately 69% of the total being ‘senior’ (i.e. over 55 for males and over 50 for females), with only 14% in the ‘younger’ category (i.e. under 45 for males and under 40 for females). This trend has become more pronounced over the last eight years.
Understandably, activity was dramatically down in 2021 with most ICs reporting 0-5 IC events, and with only four ICs reporting more than 5 events or fixtures due to restrictions imposed by Covid-19. To this end, the IC Council are offering an exceptional $1,000 support for quadrilateral regional events held in 2022 and 2023, to contribute to the restart of IC activities, fulfilling the mission of our organisation.
There are some general consistent areas of concern and request for help cited.
The Council was pleased to observe that in spite of the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, most ICs managed to adopt creative ways of maintaining the cohesion of their membership, upholding the spirit of the IC. The calendar of events for 2022 and 2023 is quickly filling up, depicting a commendable sign of resilience on the part of ICs, that the Council fully supports. The development of philanthropic activities that enhance the lives of disadvantaged young people and the expansion of the practice of tennis amongst junior players that foster relations amongst nations from all continents, is really positive to see. As the IC approaches its centenary (in 2024), the community continues to broaden and deepen its impact around the World.
Included this year were five questions pertaining to the impact of Covid-19, with one in each section. They key findings are as follows:
End of year for which the template was requested
# Clubs responded
No data due to Covid-19
Number of members
% of females members
% of members <45 male and <40 female*
% of members >55 male and >50 female*
*Data for years 2013 – 2017 is <45 and >55 for both male and female.
*Number of IC events/ activities, which the club participated in (excluding the IC Junior Challenge): Council events, IC international matches, bilateral matches, internal competitions, and social events...
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