History of the Dufferin Club

ClubThe Dufferin Club was established in 1910 after a movement by a group of citizens interested in sport and the pursuit of a place to improve the appearance of the Dufferin area, in the vicinity of the school for the Blind. A portion of the property owned by the Province of Ontario at the Ontario School for the Blind (later the W. Ross Macdonald School) facing St. Paul Avenue was placed under the supervision of the City of Brantford Parks and Recreation Department to be used for the advancement of sport in the city. The Dufferin Club was officially formed that year and a portion of the property was designated for lawn bowling.

In the fall of 1910, the grounds were ploughed and scraped in preparation for being leveled in 1911. Financing for the club was raised through a membership campaign and solicitation of funds. A loan from Mr. H. Cockshutt was also obtained, secured by a bond signed by a number of friends and members of the club to the amount of $10 each.

In May of 1911, the grass on the northern half of the green was sowed and sod was laid on the southern half. Around the same time, a clubhouse was also built. The club officially opened July 1, 1911, when the first bowls were thrown and the club has functioned every season since.

In 1912, the Brantford Lawn Tennis Club relocated to the Dufferin Club when the northern half of the greens were converted into tennis courts. Members of each club had full privileges of the whole club. Additional property was acquired by Parks and Recreation to enlarge the tennis courts at the rear of the clubhouse, and the northern part of the front was again used for lawn bowling.

ClubhouseThe Brantford Lawn Tennis Club itself was established in 1886 with George H. Wilkes and J. Kerr Osborne as the presidents. At first the members used the private lawns of the two presidents as tennis courts. When they needed more space Mr. Wilkes leased grounds on Sheridan Street between Clarence Street and Park Avenue for courts. In 1891 "non-players" were admitted to the club. The tennis club moved to Ava Road (on the grounds of the Ontario School for the Blind) before relocating to St. Paul Avenue.

In 1966, the court surface was described as asphalt with rough sand. Tennis shoes only lasted one season and the tennis balls lost their fuzz very fast and became black, lasting only a couple of sets. The lights dangled, strung from post to post.

In 1969, The Dufferin Club was incorporated, operating under a new constitution, where the club was divided into two constituents, the Lawn Bowling Club and the Tennis Club, each operating with an elected Executive to govern it's affairs.

In 1972, the current clubhouse was built. Around the same time, the courts were resurfaced and new lights were installed. There were approximately 700 tennis members in 1972. During play a bell rang every half hour for court changes. There was a reservation board to sign when arriving to play and it was doubles only when the courts were full.