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 34 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.
After a lot of soul searching, discussion and in the end failure to come up with positive answers to many tricky questions, it is with a huge amount of regret that we have decided to cancel the proposed inaugural Legends event. You will recall that we postponed the event in 2020 and hoped to hold it this year, but the circumstances that we still find ourselves in, leave us with very little or no alternative but to cancel.
The situation regarding the Covid pandemic both here and around the world has left far too many questions unanswerable for us to consider holding the event. We also owe a huge responsibility to those players who would be taking part to ensure their complete safety at all times.
Travel to and from South Africa is still difficult with some countries still reluctant to operate a service and then if players could get here what quarantine stipulations would be in place to say nothing of possible quarantine when they return home.
Chairman Mike Dunk issued the following statement.
“It is with a heavy heart that we have come to the decision to cancel our Legends event. Sad to say there are far too many unanswerable questions surrounding the holding of such an event under the current situation. It is still our ardent hope that in time we can re look at staging such a unique event for the benefit of the whole IC movement, but when that will be, time will decide. I wish to pay a huge tribute and thanks to both Leonie Grondel, who conceptualized the event and Lorna Krog for the massive amount of planning, thought and dedication in trying to get the event to fruition, but outside forces have conspired against them. Their efforts, sadly, came to nought but I extend my sincere gratitude for their diligence and commitment to the task. Where would we be without two such dedicated people as Leonie and Lorna.”
It is planned that later in the year we will be in a position to hold a dinner to honour the Legends of South African tennis which was planned as part of the original event.
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