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.
The inaugural Sedgman Tills Trophy was held on the Gold Coast October 19 - 20, with a 24-strong group from the IC of New Zealand making the trip across the Tasman. It's many years since the neighbouring IC's held matches, so this marked the beginning of a new chapter of the friendly rivalry and good times between these nations.
It was very special to have Frank Sedgman and his wife Jean travel from Melbourne to be present for the entire weekend supporting the IC match and his namesake event. The trophy itself was donated by Frank - from one of his many European tournament wins - and reinvented as the ST Trophy, symbolic of Aussie/Kiwi mateship.
The trophy is co-named for New Zealander Athol Tills, now deceased, who Frank played at Wimbledon many years ago. Their friendship developed through the respective IC's and their activities, including creating the Junior Challenge between Australia and NZ, the genesis of today's IC RLWJC.
The Gold Coast weekend started with social tennis on the Saturday afternoon at Royal Pines Resort, the New Zealanders played some golf, and the IC of Australia hosted drinks and a casual welcome BBQ in the evening. This was attended by all of the IC NZ team and 25 IC Australia members and guests. IC Australia President Kerryn Pratt officially welcomed the team, with NZ President Cecilie McIntyre responding. There was a fun trivia contest, and guests were thrilled to meet and hear stories from two legends of the game attending, Frank Sedgman and Ken Rosewall. Ken was very pleased to be made an honorary international member of the IC NZ. The evening had to conclude on time for guests to watch the All Blacks doing battle in the Rugby World Cup! A big sporting weekend!
On Sunday morning the STT match commenced at KDV club, on claycourts, with 11 rubbers of singles, doubles and mixed, player ages from late 40's to 70.
A light lunch was enjoyed at KDV for players and supporters. After a hard fought match, in hot windy conditions, NZ came out winners 8-3. The tourists had a number of strong players in fine form, and although the home team put up their best efforts the Aussies couldn't counter the overall match toughness of the Kiwis.
A Presentation dinner was held on Sunday night at the lovely Videre restaurant overlooking the Gold Coast. Frank spoke and then (graciously but reluctantly!) presented the ST Trophy to NZ match captain Paul White.
NZ Vice President Russell Tills spoke of his father Athol and the IC movement, the day's players were recognised, and thanks given to the organisers IC Australia Treasurer Noel Jensen and Committee member and match captain Dianne Evers. Further presentations were made, including Cecilie receiving honorary international membership of IC Australia, and Kerryn being honoured with the same for NZIC.
It was a fabulous weekend, with a great group of people attending. We intend to play for the Sedgman Tills Trophy every two years, hosting turn-about, with the next match planned for 2021 in NZ.
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