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.
As part of The North American IC Rod Laver Junior Challenge in The Bahamas, 25 kids who are refugees from Hurricane Dorian enjoyed a tennis clinic run by coaches and the junior players participating in the Junior Challenge.
In September, Hurricane Dorian devastated two northern Islands of The Bahamas and for almost two months the kids in the clinic have been living in temporary accommodation on the capital island in Nassau.
On the second day of the Junior Challenge, 25 refugee kids were brought to The National Tennis Centre where the coaches and juniors were initially organised in to four groups. There were juniors from each country put in to every group which also helped them get to know each other. Over the next two hours the refugee kids then rotated through the groups in a series of different fun drills which they enjoyed.
At the end they were split in to groups to have a volleying match with soft balls across a tennis court. The juniors in The Junior Challenge went behind and to the side of the refugee kids to help keep the rallies going. There was much laughter and everyone enjoyed the whole event.
Before the kids left they were given small gifts and a tennis ball so they could hopefully continue some of the fun games they had back at their temporary homes.
Overall it was a great success and a superb experience for both the refugee kids and the juniors from The Junior Challenge. Perry Newton, the BLTA Head of Junior Development was also involved and is looking in to ways of continuing future clinics for these unfortunate refugee kids.
It was a good example of the IC Philosophy of "Hands across the net, friendship across the ocean" as the kids had crossed the Bahamas seas to come from their devastated island to the main Bahamas Island where they are currently living. The Philanthropy Clinic also helped the Juniors in the Challenge appreciate their own good fortune and it provided a lesson in "Giving back".
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