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.
Closely monitored by the IC of Germany, children from the city slums of Ethiopia are given tennis coaching, education and free meals. Discipline in tennis and at school is a requirement for participation in TDKET and each year over 50 children take part.
In 2019, the project was recognized by the government as the best private sports funding program for poor children in Ethiopia! As a result, Tariku Tesfaye, the founder and manager of the project, was invited to two tv-shows and was able to present his project to a wider public. Some local sponsors were found through this presentation.
Once more Tariku and some of the best kids spent some weeks in the Racket-Center Nussloch, Germany, in order to train and to play junior tournaments.
In October 2019, TDKET for the first time participated in the African IC Rod Laver Junior Challenge representing Ethiopia very well, Tariku´s team (2 boys and girls aged 16 or younger) beat a Development Team from South Africa 5:1 and a team from Botswana 6:0. Only the South African top team could stop Tariku´s team on the final day. The participation in this event was a wonderful experience for the players. It was their first trip to South Africa.
In November 2019, Tariku received a high-ranking delegation from Germany led by the Minister for Economy and Building of the State Baden-Württemberg. The minister was very impressed and spontaneously donated 1.000,00 €.
Thanks to private sponsors, some of Tariku´s kids can attend a private high-school. 2 of them successfully passed their final exam some months ago.
Last, but not least, we can report a reactivation of Manfred Lautenschläger, a former top-sponsor of the project. With his foundation he is ready to fund for up to 30 boys or girls from TDKET the attendance of a private high-school for a period of 5 years. This is an annual engagement of 21.000 €.
For further information, see the IC Philanthropy webpage and TDKET website.
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