It’s been around for 100 years and yet they call it one of the city’s best kept secrets.
The Quaker Park Tennis Club, founded in 1922 by the Quaker Oats Fellowship as a social venue for employees on the east bank of the Otonabee River, sitting in the shadow of the Hunter Street Bridge, celebrates its centenary with a special day June 4 starting at 10 a.m., with a rain date of June 5.
“It’s 100 years and 100 years of self-sufficiency,” said Forge Hamu, chairman of QPTC. “We haven’t really depended on anyone except the members, and we don’t see it going anywhere except growing up.”
The club started with two hard courts and a log clubhouse in 1922. It expanded to five courts and in 1985 converted the surfaces to clay. The clubhouse has been modernized to the original log frame.
Hamu said that after the war the club opened up to members of the community and the connection with Quaker Oats eventually died out.
“It was a group of people interested in playing tennis who weren’t Quaker employees who kind of took it over and it’s been going on ever since,” he said.
The club has weathered the COVID-19 pandemic and registrations are bouncing back. Last year, they had 223 members, which is close to pre-pandemic numbers.
“We have all of our programs in place, our day camps and all the adult programs,” Hamu said.
At a board meeting three weeks ago, Hamu was informed that 32 new members signed up this year.
“It’s huge,” he said. “During the year we usually average six to 10 (new members) and most years we lose six to 10, so you’re about the same number.”
The club is working to attract younger members as the roster ages and to make up for the loss of some pickleball players, he said. There are discussions among board members about creating a pickleball court, he said.
“It’s in the early stages and we haven’t even really spoken to the owner about this possibility yet,” Hamu said.
The land is owned by the Kawartha Credit Union.
Events scheduled for the day include a tennis exhibition with period costumes, a tennis trial session for children and adults interested in playing, an exhibition match involving high caliber players, the the Ontario Tennis Association where players can have their timed serves and refreshments. Everyone is welcome.
A first-year sponsored membership costs $215. To visit quakerparktennis.ca for more information.