The Granite Club name is rich with meaning for those who honour the values of tradition and family.
For generation after generation, the Granite Club has been a place where families enrich their lives, value time together and share special moments. With its warm, caring atmosphere, the Club fulfills its founders' vision by taking on an important role in the family traditions, celebrations and lives of Members.
St. Mary Street Location, 1875-1881
The traditions and prestige of the Granite Club (“Club”) can be traced back to 1875, when a half-dozen gentlemen organized an ‘uptown’ curling facility located at Chapel Street and St. Mary Street, providing the Members with a clubhouse, a covered two-sheet curling rink and an outdoor skating rink. During these first years, several prominent Canadians became Members, including Mayor W.B. McMurrich, Sir Edmund Osler and J.D. Edgar, Speaker of the House of Commons. Sir John A. Macdonald was the Club’s first honorary patron.
After only five years on St. Mary Street, expansion was needed to improve existing facilities and to accommodate the growing Membership. In 1880, the Club moved to 471 Church Street—a location considered to be one of the finest residential areas in Toronto. In 1884, the first outdoor tennis courts were built and, in 1887, lawn bowling became part of the Club facilities. In fact, the Club’s greens soon became recognized to be among the finest in Canada. By 1885, the Membership had reached 447 Members.
The Church Street location also provided its Members with beautiful social facilities for dining, billiards, cards and an area for reading. During the Club’s tenure on Church Street, it became the leading ‘uptown’ social club, boasting the largest Membership of any club in Canada. It became the scene of magnificent Victorian balls, some of which were held by the Royal Canadian Yacht Club and the St. Andrew’s Society.
In 1925, a piece of land on St. Clair Avenue West, near Yonge Street, was purchased to accommodate a still-growing Membership, the changing face of recreational activities and conversion from a gentlemen’s to a family club. The St. Clair location housed seven badminton courts, several five-pin bowling lanes, a swimming pool and two squash courts in addition to curling, skating, lawn bowling and tennis. In 1929, the Club held its first Skating Carnival, which became a family tradition. Over time, demand required expansion, and additional curling, squash, bowling and social facilities were added.
In the early 1960s, after 35 years at St. Clair, the need was felt to either make major alterations to the building or move to new quarters once again. Committees were struck to study the alternatives, with the decision to move being taken in 1969.
The fourth Club home was opened in 1972 on a beautiful 22-acre site on Bayview Avenue, bordering on the Don Valley. A spectacular combination of the elegant and the athletic, it offered a modern answer to changing desires and trends, with scope to comfortably handle its now large and sophisticated Membership.
Alterations and additions to the new building have continued and the acquisition of adjacent properties to the north have both expanded the Club’s developable table land and established the ability to add floor space to the Clubhouse. In 1994, five new tennis courts were added to the property to the north with attractively designed landscaping surrounding the area. In 2006, the Club added one tennis court and introduced a state-of-the-art Aquatics Complex with a retractable roof. In 2012, the Club broke ground on its most significant capital project since moving to Bayview. The Shiftingravity
expansion will feature expanded Fitness offerings, a new children’s area and Activity Centre, a consolidated pro shop and additional space for parking—additions that will meet the needs of the Club’s Membership and ever-changing physical and cultural environment.
The traditions, which today are an integral part of the Club, are founded in a history that is long, successful and prosperous. The balance between social and athletics is one that makes the Granite Club a unique family Club.