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The

Windsor Club ~ a historical perspective ~ by Ken A. Severn with contributions by David C. Roberts & J. Mark Skipper

WalkervillePublishing


The Windsor Club a historical perspective Š2012 all rights reserved printed in Canada published by Walkerville Publishing Inc. www.walkerville.com ISBN- 978-1-927591-00-0

WalkervillePublishing


The publication of this book was made possible by a financial contribution from the Past Presidents’ Council Legacy Fund.


Message from the President

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s with any private club The Windsor Club has seen its share of changes over the years and our regions recent economic struggles are no different. In the past our Club was able to thrive based purely on word of mouth and the unique experience we had to offer. This is no longer the case. In today’s environment we need to be willing to go out and tell our story. Today’s Windsor Club members are busier than ever and are looking for a different experience. The current leadership of the Board is well aware of the changes that need to be made in order to meet the needs of our new members. We are confident that we can change the way we offer some of our services while still respecting the great history of The Windsor Club The future of the Windsor Club is in great hands with a strong group of dedicated, progressive thinkers who are not afraid to change with today’s busy professionals and their families. While the experience at the Windsor Club in the future will no doubt be different than the past it will remain a unique one that is reserved for those that appreciate the finer things life has to offer.


Foreword

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rivate clubs: the very term conjures up images of old boys sitting in stuffed chairs smoking cigars with brandy snifters in hand. In the 21st century, nothing could be further from the truth. Today’s clubs are centres for business networking, operate with relaxed dress codes, enjoy the membership of multi-cultural and female members, in a private and comfortable retreat from the stresses of modern life. The earliest English clubs were informal gatherings of friends for the purpose of dining or drinking together. Thomas Occleve (in the time of Henry IV) mentions such a club called La Court de Bonne Compagnie (the Court of Good Company), of which he was a member. It is difficult to ascertain whether the word “club” originated as a knot of people, or whether members “clubbed” together to pay the expenses of their meetings. Around 1880, the popularity of gentlemen’s clubs emerged in both England and North America; London, England listed over 400 such establishments. at that time. An increasing number of clubs in North America were characterized by members’ interest in politics, literature, sport (particularly golf and tennis), art, automobiles, travel or other pursuits. Oftentimes, the connection was membership of the same branch of the armed forces, or alumni a private school or university. Thus the growth of clubs provided an indicator as to what was considered a respectable part of the “Establishment” of the day. By the late 19th century, a man with a credible claim to the status of “gentleman” was able to find a club willing to admit him, unless his character was objectionable in some way, or he was “unclubbable” (incidentally, a word first used by Samuel Johnson). Most gentlemen belonged to one club, which closely corresponded with the trade or social/political identity he felt most defined him. The record number of memberships is believed to have been held by Earl Mountbatten, who belonged to nineteen in the 1960s. Private clubs became, in effect, “second homes,” where gentlemen could relax, mix with friends, play parlour games, enjoy a meal, and in some clubs, stay overnight. Clubs became a place where upper and upper middle class men passed their time in collegial, comfortable surroundings.


Some private clubs featured highly specific membership requirements. For example, the Caledonian Club in London requires “being of direct Scottish descent, that is to say, tracing descent from a Scottish father or mother, grandfather or grandmother” or “having, in the opinion of the Committee, the closest association with Scotland.” The Travellers Club, from its foundation in 1819, excluded from membership anyone who had not met a very specific travelling requirement. Rule 6 of the club’s constitution states that no person be considered eligible to the Travellers Club, who shall not have travelled out of the British islands to a distance of at least 500 miles from London in a direct line. Although traditional private clubs are no longer as popular or influential as they once were, there has been a significant resurgence in popularity and status in recent years. Some clubs still maintain distinctions often undefined and rarely explained to those who do not satisfy their membership requirements. The history of the private club industry has been one of cycles and swings, typically moved by generational values and standards, but what attracted members to clubs generally remains fairly consistent. Evidence now suggests traditional methods and models are no longer attracting new members as they once did, even at the most venerable of clubs. Managers and club boards have had to adapt to changing times, relaxing rules of dress and membership requirements to ensure their very survival. The challenge for clubs remains to satisfy the needs of a wide range of target group. What seems certain is that private clubs will continue to prosper in the coming years. Despite the advent of technology into seemingly every aspect of our lives, private clubs continue to provide a comfortable refuge from the daily grind, a place for camaraderie, friendship and networking, to relax, unwind, enjoy fine dining and most importantly, to have fun. Chris Edwards publisher


Introduction

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he spark of life for this Historical Perspective occurred at the 2009 Annual General Meeting. After the meeting and dinner, Past President Mike Scott was listening to several attendees reminiscing with anecdotes about some senior members. His initial suggestion was that some of these stories be published, from time to time, in the newsletter. However, at a subsequent meeting of the Past Presidents’ Council, his comments did inspire the members to speculate on the feasibility of developing a comprehensive history of the Club. Several attempts had been made in the past to write a historical account of the Club’s activities. About 1985, John Vollmer, a Board member at the time asked Bob Dufty to write a brief history for inclusion in the roster. Leon McPherson revised and expanded Mr. Dufty’s version in 1993. Although commendable, both accounts were hampered somewhat by their brevity and by a lack of knowledge of prior events. Both versions, therefore, contained some errors. When Past President Dave Roberts asked me to write this history my first inclination was to decline. Eventually however, with some reluctance, I agreed. Little was known about the early years of the Club. No Board or committee meeting minutes existed and members from the earlier years were all deceased. Earlier brief accounts were of some assistance but there were many other sources to consider. I quickly determined that a strictly chronological account would not present an appealing and interesting narrative. By organizing the available information into chapters, each with a specific topic, and considering the dearth of information from the early years, as complete and informative an account as possible has, hopefully, been achieved.


A Dream Comes True You have to dream before your dreams can come true. Abdul Kalum

I

t was not a pleasant evening outside but inside the newly renovated building on Chatham Street East it was “both comfortable and cozy,” according to a report in the Windsor Evening Record of March 11, 1904.

The occasion was the formal opening of The Windsor Club the previous evening, March 10, 1904. Before the Club could open, the building underwent many interior alterations and according to the Windsor Evening Record, was pronounced by some attendees as the best appointed club, for its size, in the Province. Many of the seventy-five or so members attended this gala affair. They would have arrived by various means: horse and buggy for many, in a “new fangled” automobile for others, while some with residences nearby would have walked. At nine o’clock, a sumptuous buffet was served to the members and their wives followed by an evening of musical entertainment. Undoubtedly the attendees were dressed in their finest apparel for this auspicious occasion. Perhaps some would be wearing the latest fashions of 1904 similar to the ladies and gentlemen depicted at right. Credit for the extensive alterations and magnificent furnishings was given to Dr. Soper, who was the driving force behind the establishment of the Club and one of the first directors. According to some reports he was secretary of the Club for several years and according to later newspaper reports he often found himself alone at board meetings and “was forced to adopt and pass his own resolutions in camera, put them into execution the next day, and submit the report to himself at the next meeting and ratify it.” However, he was neither elected secretary on incorporation nor was he either secretary or a director the


2 following year. He may have been an elected officer in subsequent years but in any event he seems to have been the de facto secretary or manager for some time early in the Club’s history. There seems to be no doubt that Dr. Soper was passionate about the Club and was instrumental in keeping it going in those early years. The Windsor Club was not the only establishment to open its doors in 1904. The Ford Motor Company of Canada was established in August of that year just a few miles from the Windsor Club. Their first Canadian vehicle, designed by Henry Ford, was the 1904 Model C Ford. It featured a flat two cylinder engine, mounted under the front seats, capable of producing 8 horsepower with a two speed transmission. Production began in late September at the site of the Walkerville Wagon Works, just east of Hiram Walker’s Canadian Club distillery. The Windsor Chapel Funeral Home also opened in 1904.

1904 Wilfred Laurier, Prime Minister average house cost $5,300 life expectancy: 47 years average wage: $0.22/hour tallest structure in world: Eiffel Tower

Henry Ford’s Model C, assembled in Walkerville by Gordon MacGregor. MacGregor owned the Walkerville Wagon Works, which was incorporated as the Ford Motor Company of Canada on August 17, 1904 (top left).


3

The Dream Takes Root We all have our time machines. Some take us back they’re called memories. Some take us forward, they’re called dreams. Jeremy Irons

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ocal business and professional men had long desired a place to meet their peers and “eat, drink and be merry – in moderation.” Several attempts to establish a viable meeting place were unsuccessful. However, in 1903 Dr. Soper, aided by John Henry Rodd, K.C., Joseph Leggatt, a police magistrate and publisher John A. McKay, began the pioneer work that culminated in a charter being obtained on November 13 1903 as the Windsor Club, Limited. John Henry Rodd, K.C. was an eminent Windsor lawyer who established the University of Windsor Award for Conflict in Laws. He was a close friend of Dr. Soper and lived nearby him on Patricia Avenue (formerly called Soper Avenue). John A. McKay arrived in Windsor from Woodstock in 1890 and together with Archibald McNee started the Windsor Daily Record and Windsor Evening Record. Two years earlier, in 1888, Mr. McNee came to Windsor for the express purpose of buying The Record, then a weekly newspaper. Previously, he had been employed at The Winnipeg Free Press. These early local papers were the forerunners of The Windsor Star. Mr. McNee, Francis Cleary and Dr. Sidney Arthur King also aided in the club’s early organization.

Walkerville Tennis Club, 1903


4 A subscription list was started in October and by early November 1903 fifty-eight subscribers had pledged $100 each, enough to ensure that the project could move forward. At the time the charter was obtained, sixty-five founding members were listed and by December 17, 1903, seventy- five of Windsor’s most prominent business and professional men had joined. A petition for incorporation as The Windsor Club, Limited was made on October 28, 1903, “to promote social intercourse amongst its members and to provide for them the conveniences of a club house for their intellectual and liberal culture.” The original five petitioners were Dr. Soper, Dr. King, William Johnson McKee, a lumberman and well known Liberal politician, and lawyers J. H. Rodd and Henry Theophilus Waring Ellis.

Modern Times The formation of the Windsor Club was not the only significant event of 1903 in Windsor. On October 16, the Carnegie Library was officially opened (right). This was housed in a modern building capable of serving the library needs of a population of 100,000 people - even though the population of Windsor at the time was only 13,400!

The amount of capital stock was $20,000 divided into 200 shares of $100 although it was never fully subscribed. The charter was granted subject to the requirement that no alcohol was to be sold on club premises. Whether or not this requirement was strictly observed is not recorded. The election of officers took place on November 23, 1903. Francis Cleary was elected as the president and Dr. King as vice president. The house committee was listed as: Mr. McKay, Mr. Rodd, Mr. McNee, Hon. W. C. Kennedy and George Mair. Francis Cleary was born in Ireland in 1840 and emigrated to Canada as a young child. He moved to Windsor from Toronto in 1867 and became a partner with R. F. Sutherland in a well-known law firm. He had a keen interest in public affairs, serving as President of the Liberal Association of North Essex for several years and as the Mayor of Windsor for three years in 1883, 1884 and


5 1885. In 1901 he was appointed Clerk of the County Court and Registrar of the Surrogate Court, at which time he retired from law and active politics. Dr. King was born in Kingsville in 1844. He was educated at Victoria College in Toronto and subsequently became a prominent local physician. He became involved with many businesses throughout Ontario and in Detroit and eventually, in 1893 he retired from medicine to devote his time to his various business interests. They included the Lake Erie and Detroit Railroad Company, of which he was president, and United Gas. He was also one of the founders of the Essex Terminal Railway. William Costello Kennedy was a local politician who served as Minister of Roads and Canals and for whom Kennedy Collegiate is named. George Mair was a respected local banker known as the “Dean of Banking� and one of the founders in 1902 of the Oak Ridge Golf Club, later renamed Essex Golf and Country Club. The following year (1904) George Bartlet, one of the owners of the Bartlet, MacDonald and Gow department store and a member of the town council, was listed as president, J. O. Peck as secretary and D. Macgillivray as treasurer

Founding Members: Francis Cleary; Kennedy Collegiate, (top right) is named after W.C. Kennedy; George Bartlet was one of the owners of Bartlet, MacDonald & Gow Department Store on Sandwich Street (Riverside Drive).


6

Augustus Soper, M.D. B

efore moving to Oxford County, Ontario, Dr. Augustus Soper’s father was a farmer in New York State.

After receiving his early education in Ontario schools Dr. Soper studied medicine in the United States. Early in his career, he made a decision to specialize in the treatment of chronic diseases. He eventually began practicing in Detroit from about 1893, maintaining a residence in Windsor. Dr. Soper became quite wealthy from various real estate transactions. In addition to his beautiful house in Windsor at the corner of Ouellette and Wyandotte, he also maintained a winter residence in California and a summer home in Galt. A prolific letter writer, a poet and a world traveller, Dr. Soper enjoyed life to the fullest extent. He died peacefully in his sleep at the age of seventy six. In 2004 James Moore, great-great nephew of Dr. Soper, submitted the following profile: Augustus Soper was born in Dereham, Ontario on April 30, 1853, one of ten children of Augustus Soper and Charlotte Vedre Towne. His parents were born in New York State but later came to Canada. He became a medical doctor practicing first in Tillsonburg. Dr. Soper later moved to Windsor where he was active in many aspects of the community. In 1904, Dr. Soper was one of the founders of the Windsor Club. He was also a land developer, buying Colonel Rankin’s home and property on Riverside Drive (then known as Sandwich Street), subdividing the land on the south side of the street for housing, and donating the river side to the City as a park. These lands now form part of Windsor’s sculpture garden on the Detroit River. The nearby Patricia Road was previously known as Soper Avenue. When I was a university student you could still find the name Soper Avenue imprinted on the sidewalk near Riverside Drive.


7 Later Dr. Soper and his family moved to Galt (now part of Cambridge) where he continued to practice medicine and philanthropy. He donated Soper Park to that city. His family home, an imposing mansion on a hill adjacent to the park is now the head office for the Gore Mutual Life Insurance Company. Dr. Soper died in Galt on November. 16, 1928.


8

Location, Location, Location It is not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are. Roy E. Disney

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efore applying for a charter, Dr. Soper and his colleagues scouted out several residences in the downtown area that might be suitable for the new club. Their final choice was the building that still stands at 25 Chatham Street East occupied by a nightclub and previously for many years by Danny’s, Jason’s and the Commodore Supper Club. This two story, red brick, former residence was not the most imposing building on Chatham Street when viewed from outside but the interior held great promise. Dr. Soper et al. were eminently successful in transforming it into a luxurious meeting place. The building was moved to its present location from the corner of Chatham Street and Ouellette Avenue in 1902. It bears the distinction of being the first brick building in Windsor to be moved, a tremendous feat in those days. It was originally the home of Vital Ouellette, a pioneer of downtown Windsor. It eventually passed to John Curry and was known as the Curry House. On being moved by Mr. Curry it was converted into a two family residence and was occupied by various tenants until being leased to the Windsor Club. At the time it was acquired by Mr. Curry, circa 1887, it was valued at about 13,000 but was offered to the Windsor Club for $8,000 in 1903. Dr. Soper was in favour of buying the building, but could not convince the majority of the members that the purchase would be a good investment. Many club members were overly cautious, unsure if the Club would survive. So a lease was arranged. However, sometime later, when the Club was firmly established, the property was purchased for an undisclosed amount $


9

Inflation $8,000 could have bought the building at 25 Chatham Street East at the beginning of 1904 but by 1924, two decades later, the property was valued at $75,000. By 2004, one hundred years after the Club opened, it was worth over $450,000. (In September 2008 the building and entertainment licence were sold for over $1,000,000)

The Commodore in the 1930s. The building was occupied by The Windsor Club from 1903-1928.

By 1925, the financial status of the Windsor Club was deemed as excellent. In fact, in January 1927, plans were announced to build a new club house on the site of the existing one. This ambitious project called for a three story building estimated to cost $100,000. Stores and offices were envisaged for the ground floor with the Club occupying the two upper levels. The plans included a bowling alley, ballroom, lounges, billiard room, shower baths and many other fine facilities. Alas, this was not to be. Just a few years later, before the project had got off the ground, the finances of the Club hit rock bottom. Some members had long held the opinion that the Club ceased operating due to the stock market crash of 1929. In fact, the Windsor Club closed its doors in November 1928, a year before the disastrous financial meltdown. The closure was due to declining membership caused by the proliferation of golf clubs and country clubs in the Essex County area. The proceeds from the sale of the property for $50,000, plus collection of some outstanding membership dues was almost sufficient to pay off the $33,000 mortgage and other liabilities of $16,700, narrowly avoiding bankruptcy. In an ironic twist, Dr. Soper died a few days before the Club closed.


10 It would appear that some efforts were made to keep the Club functioning. In 1930, the Club operated from rented premises in what is now the Canada Trust Building. In 1933, it moved to the third floor of the Prince Edward Hotel at Ouellette Avenue and Park Street – Windsor’s leading hotel at the time. Over the next several years, the Club outgrew the original three rooms it occupied. In 1937, the Prince Edward engaged Sam Dinsmore to build a tenth floor specifically to accommodate the Windsor Club. The elevator did not extend to the tenth floor; members were obliged to climb the stairs from the ninth story to access the Club premises In December 1937, membership was limited to 150 members. This number was reached in January 1938 when construction was well under way. The grand opening of the addition was March 5, 1938. Wives and families were invited to inspect the new club rooms on Sunday March 13.

Prince Edward Hotel, corner of Park and Ouellette: Original design (top left); note the rooftop addition for the Windsor Club, at right. .


11

Main Dining Room- Norton Palmer Hotel The new premises featured a lounge, dining room, card rooms, golf school and a health club complete with showers and sauna. The construction of a handball court was approved in January 1939, but by 1943 due to poor usage members voted to turn the court into a card room. When the Prince Edward closed in 1968 the Club temporarily moved to the Norton Palmer Hotel, another distinguished establishment, at the invitation of the owner Pres Norton. Space in this hotel was limited so a committee was formed to find adequate premises. Fortunately the ground floor of the Bartlet Building at 76 University Avenue was at that time being vacated by Bell Telephone, and was available for lease. Accordingly a ten year lease, with options for two five year extensions, Norton Palmer Hotel, corner of Pelissier and Park


12 was entered into. In May 1968 negotiations began with Trend Millwork and Eastern Construction to perform extensive renovations. Preliminary drawings were presented in June, 1968. The start date of the new lease was June 28 1968, for ten years at $1,834 per month. Dues were increased to $250 annually, the board stipulating that after three years they would be reduced to $150. Although the Club was located in the Norton Palmer Hotel, the Prince Edward premises were officially vacated in October 1968 and furniture stored in the Bartlet building. The lease allowed for two possible extensions of five years each, the first ending July 1983, and the second July 1988. The address was changed to 88 University Avenue for the Club portion of the building. The original proposal for renovations totalled $131,500. But the final bill, presented in January 1969 was $123,690. The interior of the club premises at this location was transformed, featuring sumptuous wood panelling comparable to prestigious men’s clubs in London and New York. From planning to fruition the move to the Bartlet Building took about 15 months with occupancy taking place in November 1968.

The Bartlet Building, corner of University and Pelissier.


13 In 1986, the Club had to decide whether or not to negotiate a new lease at the Bartlet Building at an increased rental or move to new premises. The decision to move to the current location in what was then known as the CIBC. Building was not made lightly. Many meetings were held before members voted to make the move. Finally, in November 1987, the CIBC premises were ready and the Bartlet Building was vacated. Considerable expense was involved and debentures were issued. Members were encouraged to purchase at least one $1,000 debenture which were gradually redeemed by an annual draw. The new location with its luxurious furnishings and magnificent view of the Detroit skyline proved an instant success. Membership increased from less than 200 at the time of the Club’s announcement to move, to almost 300 on occupation of the riverfront property. The future of the Club seemed be assured for many years to come (membership was capped at 350).

Top Floor, CIBC Building, before it was transformed into the new Windsor Club.


14 The new facility was, however, a marked change from the Bartlet Building and some members were not without misgivings; the contrast was, in fact, dramatic. From the ground floor of an older building to the 14th floor of a relatively new high rise structure; from virtually no view to a spectacular panorama and an increased, younger membership. And yet, the Bartlet Building was not without its charm. We no longer had the elegant wood panelling, the full size billiard table, or the quiet, “old-world� atmosphere. The Bartlet Building would continue to be fondly remembered by many members for years to come.

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5

photo: Walter Manzig

The five Windsor Club sites are visible in this aerial photo of downtown Windsor: 1-25 Chatham Street East; 2 & 3-The Prince Edward Hotel and the Norton Palmer Hotels were demolished in the 1960s; 4- the Bartlet Building; 5- CIBC Building, current site of the club.


15

A New Beginning The best way to predict the future is to invent it. Alan Kay

W

hile detailed records are not available, it would appear that there was little or no activity under the Club name following the closing of the Club premises in November 1928. In 1930, a few members met at what later became the Canada Trust Building. Then in 1933, John D. Mansfield, President of Chrysler Canada, persuaded the management of The Prince Edward Hotel to rent out several rooms on the third floor of the hotel to the Club. Lunches were served by the hotel and many members remained for a rubber of bridge. At this time, the name The New Windsor Club appears to have been in use, although a charter under that name was yet to be obtained. The original charter was never surrendered; no returns had been made for several years, and operations under that charter were, to all intents, nonexistent. Even though Windsor was still suffering from the depression several prominent citizens were anxious to revive the Club. An organization meeting was held on the third floor of the Prince Edward Hotel on November 12, 1934. At this meeting Francis Cleary declared: “Is it our intention to have a large membership from all walks of life or should we limit participation to a selected group.” W.J. Pulling replied: “It is my opinion that the forty-four persons who have already signified their intention to join should be considered charter members and the membership should be closed. Future members should be considered under such by-laws the Club might eventually decide upon.” Dr. Carl Fuller said some persons who had been approached felt that they needed more time, and therefore he was opposed to closing the membership at this time. Mr. Swaisland suggested a limit of seventy five charter members to encourage those currently undecided to join at once.


16 At a follow up meeting the next day apparently no limit was set and a General Meeting was arranged for December, 1934. The optimism and confidence of these gentlemen was truly amazing. Here they were halfway through the depression (although they did not know that at the time), discussing the formation of an upscale establishment, despite the doom and gloom atmosphere of the times. With unemployment running at 45% there was little cause for optimism. And yet, these leaders of industry and the professions maintained a positive attitude which proved to be justified.

Great Depression per capita income in Ontario:1928= $549 1933= $310 Ontario Unemployment (1933): 27% Number of Years Before Stock Market Returned to Pre-1929 Crash Levels: 27 1932: 40% of US Banks Failed

T. Walker Whiteside

At this first General Meeting, the ten person Committee of Management was formed with John D. Mansfield, President, J. M. Duck, First Vice President, George Swaisland, Second V/P and Walker Whiteside Secretary/Treasurer. Mr. Duck was a prominent businessman and brother -in-law of Gordon McGregor, Ford Motor Company of Canada founder. Mr. Swaisland was a well known banker. This committee had their first meeting on January 21, 1935, following incorporation January 12, 1935, with eighty-six paid up members reported. A General Meeting was held January 28 to ratify the actions of the management committee, at which it was agreed that the Prince Edward Hotel would receive $ 15 per annum per member for up to 100 members. While meetings were held at the hotel, the official head office was 1102 Canada Building (the office of T. Walker Whiteside). A copy of the original letters patent appear on the opporsite page. T. Walker Whiteside was born in 1896, and was a lifelong Windsor resident. He was called to the Bar in 1919 and went into practice with the firm of Rodd, Wigle and McHugh headed by John H. Rodd, Q.C., one of the directors of the original Windsor Club. Mr. Rodd’s daughter Olivia and Mr. Whiteside were married in 1923. Through several changes the law firm was eventually known as Whiteside, Coughlin and Whiteside. He was active in many Windsor organizations and despite poor health remained Secretary/Treasurer of the New Windsor Club for many years. He died in 1958 at the age of sixty-two. The fee paid to the hotel was later amended to $5 per member for the six month period ending October 31, 1935, but did not include food on club nights (Mondays). Members had to pay for their own lunches, not to exceed 25 cents per meal. Dues were later increased to $25 per member annually. At the annual general meeting the same officers were elected for 1936 except that John Stuart replaced George Swaisland as second V/P. Other prominent members at this time included Dr. Charles Stover, Charles Isaac, Clarence Smith and John Stuart Sr.


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18

1935: Windsor Club meetings were held at the Prince Edward Hotel (at right), while the official head office was 1102 Canada Building (centre) – the office of T. Walker Whiteside.


19

Prince Edward Hotel, 1930s


20

Club

Activities Enthusiasm is life. Paul Scofield

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s cultural and entertainment choices changed and evolved over the years so did the Windsor Club’s. The stated purposes of the original charter to: “promote social intercourse and provide for intellectual and liberal culture” were broadly translated to provide for billiards, card playing, checkers, chess, other games, – and of course – dining. In the original location on Chatham Street, several small bedrooms provided adequate overnight accommodation for out of town business travellers, who were guests of members, a welcome luxury, considering the lack of good hotels in the city at that time. The bedrooms probably also provided a comfortable “dog house” on a few occasions The first major change in the scope of club activities came in 1938 with the move to the newly constructed tenth floor of the Prince Edward Hotel. In addition to the lounge, dining room and card rooms, the expansion included a health and a golf school. The hotel recouped the costs of the addition by a rental charge of $30 annually per member. Mose Suzor was employed to take charge of the bath house and rubbing room in the health club from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. continuously. A Turkish bath with a Swedish massage was $1; a Turkish bath with alcohol rub was 50 cents, while exercises cost 25 cents. The new premises were so popular that the cap on membership was lifted; by December 1938, there were 186 resident members and 35 non-residents


21 In January 1939, the building of a hand ball court was approved by the committee of management. However, this project did not prove to be successful over the next few years and the court was turned into a card room in 1943. Card playing was immensely popular and one of the card rooms was soundproofed in May 1943.

Prince Edward Hotel dining room. Once the Club moved into the Bartlet Building in 1968, the sauna and health club were no longer available but card games continued to be popular. The pool tables, however, were a major attraction at the University Avenue location. Annual outings to baseball games, the theatre and the Detroit Race Track were arranged. Golf and pool tournaments were instituted and continued to be popular after the move into the Bank of Commerce Building.

Pool room at the Bartlet Building.


22 The first Secretaries’ Day was arranged in April 1985, and was well received for many years, eventually expanding to week long events. Cards and pool continued to be popular for some time after moving to the riverfront property but gradually, participation declined. In April 1996, the card room was converted to a dining area (although card games continue to be played there), and in July 2004, the pool room was changed to a small private dining room. During the ‘90s fashion shows, sports events, theatre trips, golf tournaments and progressive dinners involving other area private clubs proved to be popular. In fact, in some years during the fall and winter months a theatre trip was planned almost every month. Wine and scotch tastings have been well attended for many years. The move to the riverfront allowed the spectacular fireworks display, presented each June, to be enjoyed from the comfort of the Club’s splendid dining room following a magnificent meal. Directly in line with the exploding firecrackers, fourteen stories above the Detroit River, there is simply no better venue to observe this amazing pyrotechnic presentation. In more recent years the same can be said for the Red Bull Air Races, the Club’s ideal location offering the best vantage point to view the skilled pilots demonstrating their skills. The new millennium brought little change in the scope of activities. Most events enjoyed upon moving to the riverfront site have continued and show no signs of abating.

Golf at the Club The Windsor Club has held an annual golf tournament for its members for many years. In 2002, Gordon Boggs, the Chair of the tournament committee and Agnes Stainton, the Club General Manager, proposed hosting the golf tournament to raise funds for a designated charity to benefit the community while raising the profile of the Club. Since then the Club, through its tournament, has raised $85,000 for various charities, including Transition to Betterness, John McGivney Childrens’ Centre, Alzheimer Society, Teen Health Centre, Autism Services and Dragon Boats Breast Cancer. The Windsor Cancer Centre and the Prostate Cancer Centre have each placed plaques on their Walls of Honor naming the Windsor Club and acknowledging the Club’s charitable efforts.


23

A Momentous Move The more alternatives, the more difficult the choice. Abbe D’Allanival

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he genesis for the move to 100 Ouellette Avenue began in 1976, although at that time no one had the slightest idea that this was where the Club would reside in twelve years time. The Forward Planning Committee met in February 1976 and again in March 1978 to consider the purchase of the Bartlet Building; the asking price was $190,000. The committee feared that in ten years time relocating or negotiating a new lease would be expensive; they were, in fact, correct! Some members of the committee considered the purchase of the building as the least expensive option. Certainly some improvements would have been necessary but possession of the property would have provided ample room for expansion on the second floor with banquet rooms and perhaps, a health and fitness centre. However, no decision to buy was made.


24 In April 8 1980, a proposal from Canada Trust Building was considered but no action was taken. As the expiry date of the lease approached several attempts to negotiate a new lease on favourable terms were made. The terms of the original agreement were extremely favourable and became even more so as time passed. Understandably the owners wanted rental income more in keeping with the times and in 1985 notified the Club that the rent would increase 300% to current market values. In addition, the Club was also facing the cost of necessary improvements. The annual lease cost for 7,200 sq. ft. was pegged at $30,000 in 1985. On renewal, rates would rise to between $103,000 and $109,000. An estimated dues increase of over $300 per annum would have been necessary. In July 1985, 52% of members voted in favour of moving to a new location. In October 1985, under the leadership of then President John Vollmer the first proposal to study relocating to a riverfront location was made. Although other locations were considered, notably the Red Oak Inn and the Metropolitan Building, the one that appealed the most was the Bank of Commerce building newly completed in 1974, and owned by the Standard Life Insurance Company. The proposal to move was first made in November 1985, but the actual decision to relocate was not made until the following year. Many meetings were held during 1986 but by October of that year the Board was unanimous regarding the move to 100 Ouellette, impressed by the classic panorama. The initial budget was set at $350,000 in October 1986 and information was circulated to members at that time. After several meetings the move was approved by members at the annual meeting in December 1986 ,subject to securing a minimum of $275,000 in pledges. Final board approval was given December 18, 1986. David Butler was Club President in 1987, and under his leadership progress began to be made in organizing this momentous move. There was much work to be done; weekly meetings of the board were instituted. Many meetings combined the Board of Management and Building Committees. Early in the year an anticipated occupancy date was set for late June 1987. In February, 1987, Glos Associates was chosen as the architects. By March $300,000 had been pledged and $240,000 collected. Standard Life provided a cash inducement of $50,000. The lease was for 6,359 sq. ft. of space @ $10 per square foot, $5299 per month for the first sixty months starting October 1, 1987, plus $3340 for hydro electric, realty taxes and operating costs. For the second period of sixty months, the rent was set at $12 per square foot and two subsequent sixty month terms at rates comparable to other tenants. As with most ambitious projects some problems arose. By April 1987, the cost had risen to $435,000 after revising the floor plan and by June to $512,000. An earlier estimate in April had indicated a total cost of possibly $560,000 against a budget of $350,000. This would have meant a deficit of $210,000, offset by a club surplus of $125.000 giving a net deficit of $85,000.


25 It was soon evident that the June occupancy date was too optimistic. The completion date was pushed to September and later to October. Bids tendered June 3, 1987 ranged from $276,000 to $310,000 for the general contractor for a total of $512,000. Interthon was chosen as the general contractor, June 5 1987. On July 24, manager Vic Lavoie was instructed to design a chart detailing all aspects of the move. The total membership during most of 1987 was under 300 with resident membership at around 230. However, by October total membership had risen to 335 in anticipation of moving to the new desirable location. It was decided that resident membership would be limited to 350, and when that figure was reached initiation fees would be increased to $1,000. Regular dinner service was planned for January 13 1988, on Thursdays, Fridays and the last Saturday of the month. The minimum age for guests was set at 19, although four family nights per annum allowing children to attend were allocated. Guests, including wives, were allowed once weekly for lunch. No restrictions were placed on the number of guests or their frequency of attendance for dinner. Finally in October, the new premises were occupied and plans began to be made for the Grand Opening. January 9, 1988 was selected for this gala occasion. Not since the original Grand Opening in 1904 had the Club officiated over such a prestigious occasion. One hundred and forty-two members and spouses, at $150 per couple, attended this outstanding black tie event, enjoying the gorgeous view and sumptuous food. This was an auspicious start to a new era and was a prelude to several eventual significant changes.

Above: Vic Lavoie, General Manager, cutting ribbon with President Brian Ralph. Past President David Butler addresses the members and guests at the Windsor Club’s grand opening, at right.


26

What’s In A Name? Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress. Mahatma Gandhi

I

n October 1903, an application was prepared bearing the name of the Club as The Windsor Country Club. The word “Country” was quickly discarded before the petition was submitted. It is not recorded why the sudden change was made but presumably “Country” did not fit with Windsor’s status as a growing, thriving metropolitan city. A request was also made to omit the word “Limited” but the petitioners were informed that this was an obligatory requirement under The Ontario Companies Act. The Club then operated as The Windsor Club, Limited for almost three decades. There is some evidence of another charter as The Windsor Club, Limited obtained July 9, 1912 but the reasons are obscure. Why a second charter with an identical name was granted without the original being surrendered or withdrawn is somewhat of a mystery. Neither of the original charters was ever dissolved but no returns were filed for many years and letters patent for both charters were cancelled by the Provincial government in 1953. Reorganization took place in 1935. On January 12 of that year, the association incorporated as The New Windsor Club. This name survived for almost 20 years and in February 1953, the Committee of Management voted to change the name to simply WINDSOR CLUB, the name that survives to this day. In October 1953, a by-law was enacted and April 1954, it was ratified by the general membership and granted effective April 14, 1954. Despite the official name change, reference was still made on many occasions to The New Windsor Club – even as late as 1981.


27 The Club title was not the only name that underwent changes. The original charter called for the Club to be managed by a “Committee of Management.” In subsequent years (and certainly by 1985,)this committee was often referred as the “Board of Management.” The revised by-laws of January 1988 refer to the governing body as the “Board of Management. The two terms seemed to be interchangeable. For instance, in November 1990, it was called the “Committee of Management;” in December as the “Board of Management;” back to “Committee” in January 1991; and back again to “Board” in February. In 2005, a by-law change was made to describe the managerial and supervisory body as the “Board of Directors.”

Official announcement from provincial officials of original letters patent, 1903


28

Official attempts to serve liquor at the club were rebutted by the Ontario Government.


29

Good Management: An essential element Management is nothing more than motivating other people. Lee Iacocca

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o records of early managers have survived through the years, although there is no doubt Dr. Soper was active in the smooth running of the Club in its early days. But of salaried managers, or stewards, as they were referred to in those days, there is no mention. In the early nineteen thirties, Mr. Darryl Heisler was hired to manage the Club. What an insightful choice that was! For over forty years, (except for service during the Second World War as a chief petty officer), Mr. Heisler ran the Club with machine-like efficiency. His recommendations to the Board of Management were usually accepted with little debate. He knew every member’s name, their preferences and dislikes. Whenever possible he greeted each member warmly on entering the premises. He offered sage advice to new members. Without a doubt he was a great asset to the Club. He followed the progress of the Club from the Prince Edward Hotel, to the Norton Palmer Hotel and then the Bartlet Building, finally retiring in 1978. He was honoured in November 1969 for more than 30 years of association with the Club. Following Mr. Heisler’s retirement, the Board of Management (also known as the Committee of Management) supervised the running of the Club assisted by the chief bar steward George Chiarkos. George was well liked by the members but had a mind of his own, and sometimes found himself in a clash of wills with some members. However, most members found his slightly eccentric manner refreshing and were satisfied with his supervisory efforts. A tailor by trade, he originally hailed from Hungary. Mr. Chiarkos was employed by the Norton Palmer Hotel, attending to the needs of the Windsor Club during its


30

Darryl Heisler

brief stay there. He became an employee of the Club with the move to the Bartlet Building. This arrangement continued for several years but with the Board of Management, meeting only once a month and the house committee also meeting infrequently, several deficiencies began to be noted. While Mr. Chiarkos was competent as a bar manager and Maitre d’ he lacked the background and training required of a full time supervisor. In 1984, a decision was made to hire a full time manager with the necessary qualifications. Vic Lavoie’ s background in the food and hospitality industry included working for the Holiday Inn, among other hotels. Filling Darryl Heisler’s shoes was a formidable task but Vic rose to the occasion. He was hired February 18, 1985 and the Club quickly flourished under his management. He oversaw the logistics of the relocation to 100 Ouellette Avenue. The Board of Management was much impressed with his supervision of the big move, so much so that he and his wife were awarded a $2000 bonus, and a trip to Las Vegas for his efforts. Lavoie resigned from the club in 1999. For a short time (pending a replacement for Mr. Lavoie), the Club was managed by the President at the time. Although strictly on a voluntary basis, James Scorgie did a fine job in running the Club for several months and handed over a thriving organization to the incoming manager. Mr. Scorgie’s lifetime


31

Vic Lavoie (left); Jim Scorgie (above)

career was with the marketing department of Hiram Walker & Sons. On retirement in 1987, he became executive director of Heritage Windsor, later known as the Greater Windsor Community Foundation, and now known as Windsor Essex Community Foundation. Agnes M. Stainton was hired by the Club as General Manager in April, 2000. She was eminently suited to this position, with more than 23 years experience in the hospitality industry, including Food and Beverage Manager at Essex Golf and Country Club, from 1987 to 1995, and from 1995 until 2000 as Clubhouse Manager at Pointe West Golf Club. Previous engagements following her graduation from St. Clair College were at the Richelieu Inn and Windsor Raceway. Originally from Sao Miguel, one of the nine islands comprising the Portuguese Azores, Mrs. Stainton immigrated to Canada as a child with her family, settling in Leamington. She is married to David Stainton, a former executive with Allied Domecq (Hiram Walkers) and has two grown children, Kelly and Kyle. For more than a decade, through good times and difficult periods, Mrs. Stainton has demonstrated her managerial skills with enthusiasm and a flair for providing second to none service. She describes her management style as


32

Agnes M. Stainton “leading by example” and this is reflected in the courteous attention to detail and pleasant, welcoming demeanour of all staff. On her first visit to the Windsor Club, years before becoming the General Manager, Agnes was impressed by the ambience and great view.; she still is!

Bob Kuklj- 25 Years Behind the Bar! Branco (Bob) Kukolj came to Canada from the Croatian area of the former country of Yugoslavia in 1965. In Europe, he was employed in the hospitality industry, latterly as a hotel manager. Due to language difficulties, he did not initially seek employment in that field in Canada. Until 1972, he was employed as a foundry worker but then, now more conversant with the language, was hired as a bartender by the Windsor Club. For the next twenty-five years he was productively and happily employed as bar tender and later as bar manager. He enthusiastically described the Windsor Club as “the best club in Canada.” He had great respect for Darryl Heisler, his man-

ager, but remembers one occasion when he felt his job was in jeopardy. Four card playing members requested a bottle of champagne but as none was stocked at the time, persuaded Bob to visit the liquor store to purchase a bottle. Reluctant to decline a request by a member, he acquiesced. However, Mr. Heisler found the empty bottle and severely chastised him. Luckily for Mr. Kukolj and the club, he was not fired but he had learned his lesson and from then on did everything “ by the book” and proved to be a tremendous asset to the club. Mr. Kukolj retired in 1997 and was made an honorary member. He now resides with his son and daughter in law in Toronto.


33

Fabulous Food There is no love sincerer than the love of food. George Bernard Shaw

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he original downtown Chatham Street clubhouse contained several private dining rooms, as well as the main dining room. It is believed that business lunches were provided daily with occasional evening functions. The premises were certainly well equipped to provide adequate meals with good kitchen facilities including modern (for the times) refrigeration. Rooms were provided for staff in the attic. At the Prince Edward Hotel lunches and an occasional evening meal were provided by the hotel. Charges were minimal; at one time the stipulation being that no meal should cost more than 25 cents. Payment was made directly to the hotel. In July 1968, upon moving to the Bartlet Building, an agreement was made with Canteen of Canada for a fee of 12% of sales, to supply lunches and occasional evening meals. While the service from Canteen of Canada was considered to be very good, the Committee of Management felt that meals prepared by the Club’s own staff would be more appropriate and would afford better control. This policy was put into effect in April, 1969. When the agreement with Canteen of Canada ended, their employees at the Bartlet Building location were transferred to the Windsor Club payroll. The first chef was a lady known by the first name of Eileen. Unfortunately no record can be found of her last name. It would appear that she managed the Club’s culinary needs in a professional manner until she left in 1979.

Darryl Heisler with unidentified chef at the Prince Edward Hotel.


34 For the period from 1968 until 1987 while at the Bartlet Building, the food service consisted mainly of daily lunches with only occasional evening meals catered. In March, 1985 the first Secretaries’ Day Lunch was proposed and organized. Also in 1985, the Committee of Management decided evening meals were not justified emphasizing that the Club was primarily a business mens’ lunch club. However, beginning in June of that year, the committee relented slightly and sandwiches and/or cheese and crackers were made available in the evenings. Children were rarely allowed on the premises and it was not until 1987 that family nights were introduced with children allowed four times per year. Regular dinner service was not provided until moving to the Riverside location in 1988. The assistant chef was Sandra Blake who began her career at the Club on November 6, 1978. Previously she had worked at the Cook’s Shop for about 18 months where, incidentally, George Chiarkos also was employed. George worked at the popular restaurant in the evenings while maintaining his daytime job at the Norton Palmer Hotel and later at the Windsor Club.

Chef Sandra Blake

Sandra was promoted to head chef in 1979, and continued providing excellent meals until her retirement January 1, 2001. She was the only chef to work with four different managers: George Chiarkos, Vic Lavoie, President Jim Scorgie (temporarily) and Agnes Stainton. Twenty two years of dedicated service! Sandra describes her cooking creations as “home style;” however, do not let that description mislead you. Her meals were always impeccably presented using only the very best ingredients; this was North American cuisine at its best. Probably her favourite creation was her clam chowder. One of the most popular meals was the rack of lamb and she always produced a great poached grilled salmon. Accompanied by delicious soups and fresh salads, her meals were always appreciated by members and guests. Let us not forget the deserts: mouth watering rice pudding and the hot fudge brownie were member favourites. For diabetic members and guests, Sandra prepared sugar free deserts. Chef Sandra always produced a superlative buffet meal for special occasions. As if preparing meals for her “family” of Club members was not enough, Sandra raised eight children and later three step children from a subsequent marriage. She continues to cook for her family and often for community “pot luck” suppers, where her clam chowder is especially welcomed. For her enormous contribution to the Club, a Cocktail and Hors D’oeurve Party was presented in her honour in February, 2001. Jim Scorgie relates a story about the well regarded and staunch member Clifford Hatch. It seems the Bartlet Building kitchen facilities and equipment


35 were not conducive to preparing cole slaw on a regular basis. Cole slaw had to be prepared by hand and it was not practical to provide it every day. Mr. Hatch was very partial to this side dish and several times requested that it be included daily on the menu. Knowing Mr. Hatch, this would have been done in a deferential, undemanding manner. However, Sandra Blake was adamant that it was just not practical. Imagine Sandra’s surprise, when, upon occupying the kitchen at the new Riverside facilities, when she received a package containing a state of the art cole slaw making machine. This generous gesture by Mr. Hatch went unnoticed by the majority of members. From time to time, the popular Hiram Walker president donated, without fanfare, other useful kitchen items. Cole slaw has been available on a daily basis ever since. Upon Sandra’s retirement, Michael Jimmerfield was hired in January 2001. He began his professional career in 1994 at Overtures in Tecumseh where he quickly progressed to the role of Sous Chef. For two years prior to joining the Windsor Club, he was the Sous Chef at the Essex Golf and Country Club. The Windsor Club was Mike’s first executive position and he looks on it as a great learning experience. Mike introduced Asian flavours to the Club’s menu describing his culinary style as contemporary. His favourite creation was a duck and orange wanton. He also introduced ice sculptures to enhance the ambience of the dining room.

Chef Michael Jimmerfield

Chef Mike departed in August, 2002 to work for the Tecumseh Chop House and later as Executive Chef for St. Clair College, a position he continues to hold. Jeff White, who was previously employed at Pointe West Golf and Country Club, was hired as chef in August 2002. Previous positions include Head Chef at Alabazam in Detroit, Casino Windsor, and Executive Chef at the Windsor Hilton. Jeff was very well regarded for his culinary expertise for the short time he was with the Club. However, a business opportunity arose shortly after starting and he left in October 2002 to start a catering company known as Just Jeff’s Gourmet Express, which he continues to operate.

Chef Jeff White

Dan Beaulieu was appointed chef in November 2002. He joined the Club staff as First Cook in November 2000, later becoming the Sous Chef. He played a key role in developing new menu selections. His received training at at St. Clair College, finishing the advanced culinary program with high honours. From there he honed his skills at the Casa Bianca, the Muskoka Sands Resort, Pointe West Golf and Country Club and the Windsor Hilton. He departed in 2005 and is currently employed at the Kingsville Golf and Country Club.

Chef Dan Beaulieu


36

Chef Steven lay

Hailing from Ottawa, Steven Lay began working for his uncle, a chef, at the tender age of twelve. The catering business owned by his uncle served many Parliament Hill functions and Steven was privileged to work in the House of Commons kitchens. Following a brief period of employment in Windsor, he moved to Alberta where he worked as Sous Chef and later as Executive Chef for six seasons at Moraine Lake Resort, and five seasons at Sunshine Village Resort in Banff. He returned to Windsor in 2003, and was employed as an instructor at the Cooking Studio. In February 2005, he joined the Windsor Club as Executive Chef. For six years Steven delighted members with his culinary creations. Describing his cooking style as Classical French, augmented by Canadian influences, his favourite foods are duck and pork. The lure of the West eventually proved irresistible, and in April 2011, he returned to Lake Louise as the Executive Chef at the Moraine Lake Lodge. Upon Steven Lay’s departure, Sous Chef David Grascoeur accepted the position of Executive Chef. David is a native of Brittany, France and received his training in some of the finest restaurants and hotels in Europe, including George Blanc and Le Domaine d’Auriac. In Canada, he was employed at the Inn at Manitou, Starfish Oyster Bed and Grill, Toronto, the California Dream in Montreal and other fine dining venues. Since coming to Windsor, David has worked at Le Steak at Filmore East, Caesars and the Windsor Yacht Club.

Chef David Grascoeur

The Windsor Club is privileged to have two fine chefs. In addition to David Grascoeur, Sous Chef Bledar Garunja is a talented cook trained by Chef Jimmy Schmidt, owner of the Rattlesnake restaurants in Detroit and Denver. In Windsor, he has been employed as Chef at Spago’s, La Cucina and the Cellar. David and Bledar, supported by a dedicated kitchen and wait staff, continue to ensure that the Windsor Club is the premiere dining venue in the region.

Rice Pudding, Anyone? Although Sandra Blake states that rice pudding was often a menu option, Fred Sorrell recalls a period when every time he went for lunch, rice pudding, his favourite desert, was not available. After several frustrating requests the kitchen finally got the message. One lunchtime Fred was presented with a huge bowl filled to the brim with the delicious pudding, enough for perhaps thirty or more servings. Needless to say Fred did not consume the entire contents but ever since he has rarely missed his preferred desert.


37


38


39


40

Windsor Club Coat of Arms

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hen Frederic G.Farrell Q.C. became President of the Club in 1998, he set himself and his board the formidable task of designing a suitable Coat of Arms. The task was accomplished in time for the annual meeting in November, and was proudly displayed at that meeting and the outgoing president’s dinner. The lion holding the red rose reflects Windsor’s designation as the City of Roses. The crown bearing the fleur-de-lis symbol is in honour of the French influence in our city and Club. The lion passant on the shield, again holding the red rose, reflects our Royal name. The red maple leaves and white stars represent our Canadian and U.S. membership separated only by the Detroit River.

Our motto is “FRIENDSHIP AND LOYALTY FOREVER.” Although the design was developed and completed in 1998, it was not until the following year that letters patent were issued granting the Windsor Club our “Grant of Arms” under the powers exercised by the Governor General Romeo Leblanc. The Herald Chancellor issued a warrant to the Chief Herald of Canada, Robert Douglas Watt, authorizing the issuance of the Letters Patent, which was duly signed under his hand and seal on September 16, 1999, at Rideau Hall, Ottawa. The Coat of Arms was then entered in the Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada.


41

Some members felt the position of the maple leafs representing Canada on the shield (at left) and the stars representing the USA should have been reversed since the geographic uniqueness of Windsor’s location is south of the USA.


42

The Women’s

Membership Controversy I believe I’ve always been a big believer in equality. No one has ever been able to tell me I couldn’t do something because I was a girl. Anne Hathaway

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hen the Club was formed in 1903, neither men nor women probably gave any thought to its designation as a “male only” organization. At that time, few women were in business or the professions, and men forming a club for the exclusive use of men seemed to be the natural order. The Women’s Movement, pioneered by Dr. Emily Howard Stowe in the Province of Quebec, was still in its infancy. Suffragettes were active but it would be another two decades before they were really influential.

Women Suffragettes c. 1905


43 To their credit, members did invite their wives to the grand opening, and some women remarked on this male refuge. But for many years, women were only invited on special occasions. As late as 1968, house rules stipulated that females were not allowed on the premises. If evening meals had been served some consideration may have been given to allowing female attendance but for most of its years of existence only lunches and sometimes evening snacks were catered. However, upon moving to the Bartlet Building in 1968, kitchen facilities were available to provide more elaborate meals .At an open house in December 1968, wives were invited. Some private parties were arranged and eventually Friday evening dinners were provided with ladies invited on those occasions. In 1982, the Rules and Regulations were amended to allow mixed groups on Fridays from 6.30 to 9.00 pm. But the rules stipulated that no private parties were to begin before 6.00 pm. This policy continued for several more years but the resolve by some members to restrict not only membership but attendance to males only had clearly been weakened. Opinions on this issue began to shift by 1984. By the end of that year, the Facilities Committee recommended that there should be more mixed dinners and ladies should be allowed as guests any day for lunch, albeit with separate dining facilities. The first review of male only membership was presented in January 1985. Although in April 1985, it was confirmed that current rules restricted female attendance to Friday evenings and private parties, this policy was being challenged. The 1985 Board of Management, headed by John Vollmer, introduced the concept of opening up the Club to wives accompanied by their husbands. Opposition to female membership was still strong, but opinions regarding female attendance were divided. At a May, 1985 meeting of the Membership Sub-Committee no member of that Committee was opposed to female membership. Some members even concluded that women members were needed. Despite this unanimous support for female membership by the Committee, subsequent Boards of Management sensed that the general membership was not yet ready to accept females as members. In July 1985, under President John Vollmer’s leadership it was moved to allow women guests for the whole week of December 16, 1985, (leading up to Christmas). In response to a questionnaire in July 1985, out of 87 respondents, 53 were in favour of allowing women guests daily, 11 felt that accepting female guests once monthly was appropriate, and 8 were opposed to allowing women guests at any time; 13 respondents were undecided. At the October, 1985 board meeting a resolution was proposed for the annual meeting that the Club should be available to members and female guests during all regular hours. This resolution was ratified at the Annual General Meeting.


44 While this was a big step forward, membership for females was still a long way ahead. However, the situation was gradually changing. More and more women were entering the professions and heading up businesses and were proving themselves as competent as their male counterparts. The expense of belonging to a private club was borne, in many cases, by financial institutions and large corporations. Many of those organizations questioned why their female executives could not be afforded the same privileges as their male counterparts. But resistance to change continued with most members adamantly opposed to admitting women members. Some argued that the traditional men’s club was a refuge, a place where men could meet and discuss male oriented topics. “We don’t wish to join a women’s sewing class,” they argued, “why do women want to belong to our organization?” But this restrictive attitude ignored the reality of changing times; the Club was now a business and professional person’s club rather than a purely social organization. The status quo continued during the move to the Riverside Drive location, but pressure for change was building. In the early 1990’s, Boards of Management were asked to address the problem, but sensing that most members were opposed they were reluctant to propose any change. In response to several concerned members, the 1992 board replied that it was neutral on the issue. Members were advised in 1992 and 1993 that under the Club by-laws, any group of fifteen members or more could organize a special meeting and call for a vote. The 1993 board offered to help arrange any such initiative; this action, however, was not taken. The boards were reluctant to propose a by-law change or call a meeting for discussion where the apparent interest was by less than fifteen members. As pressure continued to mount the 1994 board, under Norman Kelk’s presidency, called a special meeting of members to put the question to a vote. The result was not to allow women members by a vote of 105 in favour, 150 opposed. As more and more corporations and financial institutions withdrew support, the financial well-being of the Club appeared to be in grave danger. Len Neal, in a letter to President Dave Butler in 1988, doubted that the expense of moving to the new riverfront premises would be viable without admitting female members. While the unqualified success of the relocation would appear to have quelled his doubts at the time, years later, once the euphoria of the move abated, his words would prove to be prophetic. Norman Kelk, President, 1994,


45

J. Mark Skipper, President, 1995 The incoming President, Mark Skipper, in 1995 recognized the danger of the status quo and boldly suggested that the Club accept women members or risk extinction. Mr. Skipper writes: I always prided myself on being enlightened in matters such as gender equality. However, there was little altruism in what I realized the Club had to do. It had now become a matter of economic necessity to allow female members. I did not want to be known as the president under whose watch the Club failed. Many institutional and corporate members were resigning or threatening to resign in protest to the “all male rule.� Soon after my induction as president, membership began to weaken. At the low point, membership declined to less than 150 members, which was insufficient to support Club services. Together with the help of a very forward looking board, a position paper was propounded, substantiating the need to open the membership to women. Not without significant debate, the Board of Management was persuaded to agree with me, and in the spring of 1995, the board resolved to convene a special members’ meeting to again debate this issue. A historic meeting was held on January 25th, 1995 and was well attended by those in support and against; the politics had drastically changed in one short year. After some


46 impassioned discussion, the 1994 vote was overturned. The membership also voted to destroy ballots, so that the exact number of votes for and against was not formally recorded. However, it is safe to say that the members voted resoundingly to bring women into the Club. The membership base immediately grew significantly in response to the rule change. A milestone was reached in 2004 when Susan Easterbrook was elected at the November AGM as the first female Board of Management member. Ms. Easterbrook served on the board in various capacities eventually becoming the first female President for the year 2009.

Susan Easterbrook, first female Club President


47

The Members’ Club Table There’s flattery in friendship. William Shakespeare

F

rom the beginning of occupancy in the Bartlet Building, the round table in the lounge area was a focal point. Members would meet to have a drink or two and socialize before going to the member’s dining table for lunch. Although there was no written rule, both members’ tables were considered to be for members only – not guests. Members with guests usually sat at other tables both in the bar area and dining room. Occasionally, a guest would be invited to sit at the members’ table. George Robarts, who drew up the lease for the Bartlet Building, reminisces about some of the colourful members who enjoyed the atmosphere of the round table. One was “Tex” Colbert, a Chrysler Canada executive. As his nickname implies, he was very much a Texan, a big man with a Texas drawl and a commanding presence. So much so that younger members were often intimidated by him. Another member, also with Chrysler, was popular president Ron Todgham, who enjoyed his two martinis but rarely stayed for lunch. Many other members, too numerous to mention all of them, graced the round table at the Bartlet Building. Some of the more well known members were Cliff Hatch, President of Hiram Walkers; Rudy Horvath, insurance executive and champion amateur golfer. No food was served in the bar and pool room areas. As early as January 1985, the Future Viability Committee proposed that “a quick soup and sandwich” be served in the bar area, pool room and card room. However, no action was taken on this suggestion at the time.


48

This tradition continued with the relocation to the CIBC building. The Members’ dining table was located at the eastern end of the dining room with the round beverage table in the north-west corner of the building. About 1988, a few members who enjoyed a game of pool after a drink at the members’ table requested that a sandwich be served in the pool room so that the two functions of eating lunch and playing a game could be accomplished at the same time. This request was granted. Gradually this practice evolved into sandwiches being served at the table. This practice was frowned upon by many members who continued to head down to the members’ dining table after having a beverage or two. As more and more members began ordering lunch at the bar table, the dining room table became so infrequently attended that it was eventually abandoned. The actual table, which had been in continual service at both the Bartlet Building and the new location, eventually wore out. A new table was purchased, generously funded by Russell Farrow. This table, however, was poorly constructed and had to be replaced. Mr. Farrow again came to the rescue assisted by other frequent diners. Mr. Farrow enjoyed meeting his friends at this popular venue and a suitable inscription on the table attests to his generosity. Another frequent attendee was Ross Mingay. He was usually early for lunch and invariably occupied the chair in the North-West corner where he could observe any member approaching the table. Mr. Mingay could be quite outspo-


49 ken and did not mince words when something met with his disapproval. Well dressed in white shirt and conservative tie, he exploded with some choice words when a member arrived wearing a pink shirt and an even brighter pink tie. But he was well regarded by fellow members and a plaque recording his proprietary interest in “His chair” sits in his memory near “His corner.” Following Mr. Mingay’s passing, Richard “Dick” Innes has invariably occupied the corner chair. With his quick, Scottish wit, Dick keeps the members at the table entertained. His sometimes acerbic comments are a source of amusement and not taken seriously. Faulkner Gauthier, an expert airplane pilot, would sometimes, when pressed, regale the table with his exploits which included flying his plane under the Ambassador Bridge. Although food is still served at the bar table a Member’s only dining table was established in 2010 on Thursdays in the dining room, mainly as an opportunity for networking and the exchange of ideas. An enhancement to the Club Table area in 2011 was the installation of beautiful wooden and glass doors affording a measure of privacy in addition to providing an elegant ambient feature.


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~ One Hundred Years ~ A Celebration Recollections from 2004 by David C. Roberts, President

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ne day in March 2004, Agnes Stainton, Windsor Club General Manager, casually mentioned there was a box of old Club records and files stored in the basement. Upon retrieval, Gerry Angus (Second VicePresident) and I set about rummaging through the papers and discovered Letters of Patent incorporating “The New Windsor Club,” dated 1935. As members, we always thought the Club was founded in 1910, but we didn’t have any proof or documents to substantiate the fact. We also believed the Club reorganized sometime during the Great Depression; uncovering these 1935 Letters of Patent sparked our curiosity. We contacted the Management Board Secretarial at the Archives of Ontario and requested a search of historical provincial records. The response arrived a month later with a copy of the documents authenticating the fact that the Club was originally founded on November 13, 1903. We were in our 100th year as a Club and didn’t know it! With the hardcopy proof in hand, we were proudly able to claim ourselves as the oldest private club in Windsor, and one of the oldest clubs in the entire country. As a private club, we never drew attention to our activities or members. In fact, we even had an old, unwritten policy of barring media from the facility; this was about to change. Being 100 years old is certainly an ideal cause for a celebration and the perfect time to promote the Club and generate awareness in the community. Thus, plans were drawn up to promote the 100th Anniversary and on April 26,


51 2004. The Windsor Star published an article written by Marty Gervais about our discovery, which served to launch our celebration and theme for the year. We developed a special 100th Anniversary logo and applied it everywhere. Embossed gold foil decals were attached to all correspondence, a large easel in the lobby displayed a poster of the anniversary logo and newsletters and flyers featured the logo to constantly remind members. Later that year, we held a reception at Hiram Walkers & Sons for the Past Presidents and current Board of Management, followed by a dinner at the Club. Hiram Walkers & Sons was selected as the venue for a photograph session and cocktails, since the famous distillery was visible from the Club. Clifford Hatch was a Windsor Club member and former owner of the distillery, while Jim Scorgie was a Club Past President and also a long term employee at Hiram Walkers. Naturally, our bar was always stocked with a wide variety of Walker’s most popular brands.

Board of Directors, 2004 (front row, from left to right) Susan A. Easterbrook, Steven Vollmer, Dave R. Roberts, Michael Scott, Agnes M. Stainton (General Manager): (back row): Matthew Tobin, Jerry Angus, Greg Monforton, John St. Aubin, Paul Kriz


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Gathering of Past Presidents for One Hundred Years Celebrations at Hiram Walker & Sons

On September 24 and 25, we held 100th Anniversary Dinners and the Presidents from Essex Golf & Country Club, Beach Grove Golf Club and Pointe West Golf Club were invited to join our celebration. The Club was decorated to create a festive yet elegant atmosphere, gold lapel pins of the Club logo were distributed and the event was covered by The Windsor Star on their social page. Each couple was photographed upon arrival and their images were placed in a time capsule. Other items in the time capsule include a gold logo lapel pin, and copies of letters from Prime Minister Paul Martin, Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, Premier of Ontario Dalton McGuinty, Honourable Dwight Duncan, M.P.P. and City of Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis congratulating the Club on our 100th Anniversary.


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Letter of Congratulations to The Windsor Club on its 100th anniversary from then Prime Minister Paul Martin.


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Royalty Visits The Windsor Club As a highlight to our the 100th Anniversary, The Windsor Club was privileged to host a dinner to honour His Royal Highness, Prince Michael of Kent, Colonel in Chief, Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment. This was the first person from the Royal Family to visit the Club and everyone was very excited. Prince Michael was visiting Windsor to officially open the Major F. A. Tilston Armoury & Police Training Centre. Behind the scenes, Michael Robinson, a member of the Board of Management, arranged for a dinner to honour Prince Michael on October 15, 2004. As President of the Windsor Club, I was very proud to be the official host and introduce Prince Michael to the distinguished guests in attendance. During the cocktail reception, a member of the wait staff approached Prince Michael, inquiring if we would care for a cocktail. Prince Michael was suffering with a terrible cold and requested “a wee bit of whiskey in the bottom of a glass and fill it with water.” Upon receiving the drinks, we clinked glasses and took a sip. Prince Michael then looked me directly in the eyes and stated, “It adds so much flavour to water, don’t you agree?” Naturally, I agreed with his comment. His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent, Colonel in Chief, Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment and David C. Roberts, Windsor Club President, October 2004

We sat together at dinner and discussed many things, including hunting, a sport we both enjoyed. On completion of one of the finest club dinners ever served, I made a short speech about Prince Michael, recognised the dignitaries in attendance and invited His Royal Highness to the podium to accept an Honorary Membership. Prince Michael commented on the special evening, thanked everyone for their attendance and in a classic form of British humour stated, “It’s only rightfully so I accept this Honorary Membership to your Club, after all, I’ve been a “Windsor” all of my life!’ The entire house erupted in laughter and applause. A few weeks later I received a letter from his Private Secretary thanking the Club for our hospitality and stating Prince Michael was delighted to have been able to participate in our centenary celebrations and grateful for the membership to the Club. A copy of the letter was also placed in the time capsule. The visit by His Royal Highness, Prince Michael of Kent was the highlight of my year as president and is an event my wife Sue and I will always cherish.


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2004: A Year Of Change In 1986/87, the Club issued over $250,000 in debentures through $1,000 certificates to finance the move from the University Avenue location to the corner of Ouellette and Riverside Drive. Some club members purchased one or more certificates while banks and trust companies were persuaded to purchase larger quantities up to $15,000. In the past, new member initiation fees collected were allocated to re-pay the $1,000. Debentures by a random drawing. In theory, if $ 10,000 was collected in initiation fees, then ten debentures would be repaid. The plan didn’t always work out as intended and it was a slow process. The debentures were intended to be non-interest bearing and the names of debenture holders being redeemed was announced at the Annual General Meeting each November. The 2004 Board of Management accepted the challenge to focus efforts on eliminating the remaining $50,000 of outstanding debentures held by members and banks. We approached the banks and trust companies with proposals to convert their debentures into memberships for their key staff with funds applied to initiation fees, dues and events. We also paid out some remaining balances to individuals and a few members forgave their certificates as a donation back to Club. By 2005, all of the debentures were converted, redeemed or forgiven and the Club was debt free.


56 Numerous other changes throughout the year altered some long held traditions and some might say, tore at the very fabric of the Club and its ways. Some of these changes included: • Converting the billiard room into a lounge area. This upset many long term members since the billiard room was the last recreational area within the facility. In prior years, the west side of the Club also featured specially designed card tables and a few dart boards. As their usage began to decline, they were removed.

• The decision to convert the billiard room was not easy but has proven to be an effective use of space. • The Club began to email the monthly newsletter. As email usage began to grow and postal rates continued to climb, the Club considered eliminating sending mail to members. But upon review, we realised the majority of our members didn’t even use email. Thus, we requested members email addresses and continued to use Canada Post. Eventually, we stopped mailing the newsletter and email took over as the dominant form of communication. • The Club introduced the use of debit and credit cards. This upset some members because they felt as a private club, we should extend credit to our members and collect a cheque once a month. The thought of someone paying a bill with a credit card in the dining room was simply not acceptable. But the Board saw it as a way to enhance Club usage and improve cash flow. • The Club introduced valet service for special events. • To improve comfort and decor, new furniture and curtains made the


57 cocktail lounge more inviting and new chandeliers replaced the old fixtures in the dining room. • Through the efforts of Member Brad McLaren, the Club’s entire artwork collection was digitally photographed. We then consulted with an art appraiser and discovered some of our paintings were created by well known Canadian and European artists dating back to the 1800’s. • A new tradition was launched at the 2004 AGM by presenting a club pin to new members and recognizing their sponsors. In addition to the Honourary Membership presented to HRH, Prince Michael of Kent, 38 new members joined the Club that year which helped to establish a stronger financial position for years to come. As I write these recollections in 2012, I look back to the year 2004 and wonder why it took us so long to change. We dragged ourselves into the next century because we held onto some traditions too tightly. Fortunately, today we still retain our best traditions which is providing the finest service and cuisine within a membership club atmosphere designed for business and professional people, and their families. Submitted by David C. Roberts


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Progress Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. George Bernard Shaw

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f the original founders of the Windsor Club could come back now and see the way the Club and life in general has changed, what would be their likely reaction? Amazement, bewilderment, perhaps even annoyance. Automobiles and telephones were relatively new inventions in 1903. Refrigeration of food had yet to become universal. Most members probably thought it can’t get much more modern than this but progress, like it or not, cannot be halted. Would they approve of the location on the riverfront? Hopefully most would, but that same majority would probably be aghast at the casual attire that we now take for granted.. The first suggestion to relax the jacket and tie rules was made in 1984 but no action was taken. Five years later the dress code was confirmed, and not until 1992 were concessions made to allow more casual attire in parts of the Club. In 1994, the dress code was relaxed during the summer months in all areas with no jacket or tie required. In September 2000, “smart business casual” was announced as acceptable throughout the Club except for Saturday evenings in the main dining room, where a jacket and tie were still required. Finally, in October 2007, even that rule was abandoned so that “smart casual” is now de rigueur at all times in all areas of the Club. The use of computers to do billing and accounting tasks as well as e-mailing statements and newsletters would be baffling to Dr. Soper et al. The first suggestion to computerize accounting was made in 1982. However, it was not until 1990 that serious consideration was given to what is now taken for granted. Finally in December 1990, the decision was made to purchase a computer. Equally puzzling to those early members would be the acceptance, in May 2004, 100 years after the founding, of credit and debit cards to pay for meals and drinks thereby allowing guests to purchase all or part of an evening’s enter-


59 tainment. A year earlier internet banking was made available for the convenience of members to pay dues and monthly charges. What would they think about the modern slim line television? Or even the first black and white set purchased by the Club in May 1949 for $807. The Club’s newsletter has undergone several changes since it was introduced in 1985. Its appeal was enhanced in 1990 with a full colour format and in 1994 a revamped version was given the title of “The 14th floor.” Further progress was made with a decision to distribute the newsletter via e-mail to most members. E-mail is now the preferred means of communication for not only the newsletter but also for statements and announcements of future events. A Corporate Membership Category was first discussed in 1985, but it was not until 2004 that it was finally introduced. The year 2004 was also when a time capsule was prepared. Who knows what future generations will make of its contents? While some members were opposed, a major change occurred in May 2006, when a total smoking ban went into effect. Most members accepted the inevitable and welcomed the move as a progressive innovation. One thing is certain: changes will continue to be made. That’s progress!


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~ Jack Longman ~ A Giant of a Man

H

e was not very tall, well under five feet, but in terms of courage and support of the physically handicapped he was a giant. Born with a rare bone disease that caused his bones to break numerous times and resulted in his short stature he was unable to walk until age 22. Jack worked as an insurance salesman, forming a partnership in 1960, and becoming the sole owner in 1970. He worked with many organizations to improve the well-being of the handicapped. Jack was a long time member of the Windsor Club and a coat hook, set appropriately at 3 feet, was installed in his honour in the Club cloak room. Jack died in 1985.


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photo by Owen Wolter


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Windsor Club Art A work of art cannot be satisfied with being a representation, it should be a presentation. Jacques Reverdy

T

he theme of much of the artwork in the club is, appropriately, the City of Windsor. The history and heritage of the city is portrayed by a series of prints by E. A. Hodginson hung on the East wall of the main hallway. Below is an unusual rendering of the Ambassador Bridge, the centerpiece of the display, together with an illustration of the Armouries Building in Downtown Windsor.


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Another series of four prints called Centennial Depictions was commissioned by the City of Windsor for the centennial celebration of the city. The talented artist is Al Martin, a Windsorite, who “remarqued� each print with a distinctive design especially for the Windsor Club, making this set of prints uniquely one of a kind; two of these are shown above.


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Al Martin was also commissioned by the Windsor Club to paint a maritime scene which hangs in the main dining room.


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Also on the wall of the main dining room is this painting by B. Cogill Haworth. B. Cogill Haworth was born in South Africa, later coming to England where she studied at the Royal College of Art in London. She came to Canada in 1923 and together with her husband, Peter Haworth, painted many Canadian landscapes.


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Another picture displayed on the South wall of the main dining room is a print by Group of Seven artist Frederick Horsman Varley. He was born in England in 1881 and emigrated to Canada in 1912. During the First World War he was an official war artist accompanying Canadian troops in France and Belgium. Following the war, he became associated with other Group of Seven painters including Arthur Lismer, also from his home town of Sheffield, England.


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In the main lobby of the club hangs a magnificent work by Frederic Marlett Bell-Smith, a renowned landscape painter. Originally from England he came to Canada in 1866 at the age of twenty. One of his favourite subjects was Lake Louise and this rendition is a fine example of his talent. Although primarily a landscape artist he was one of the few painters to persuade Queen Victoria to sit for a portrait.


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Another fine painting by Windsor artist Ken Saltmarsh is this somewhat whimsical rendition of Three Hanging Pheasants. Mr. Saltmarsh was the curator for many years of the Windsor Art Gallery.


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The paintings of the Beluga whales, one of which is shown above, are by Michael Dumas a talented Canadian painter residing in Ontario. Dumas describes his drawings and paintings as a “realistic interpretation of nature�. His works have been exhibited in numerous galleries including The National Museum of Canada, The Royal Ontario Museum, and many galleries in the United States, Japan and England. He has won numerous awards from conservation societies in Canada and the United States.


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The Craig Ainslie Room

T

he private dining room at the South-East corner of the Club was named in honour of Mr. Ainslie in October, 2007. He joined the Club in 1957 and was an active member until he passed away in 2007. He became president in 1973 after serving on the Board of Management for several years. He lived in his birth place of Comber all his life, except for service in the RCAF during World War 2. He flew 38 missions with bomber squadron # 420 and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air force Cross. After the war he was involved with the family farm and retail store until becoming president of the Essex County Automobile Club (now the CAA) in 1957. The Craig Ainslie Room contains two limited edition prints by the internationally acclaimed artist Wentworth Folkins. Both prints depict locomotives with strong connections to Windsor. One is a painting of “the Spirit of Windsor,� on display on the waterfront and visible from the Club, depicted at right. The other is a rendering of a diesel locomotive owned by Essex Terminal Railway and donated to the club by Brian McKeown, former president of ETR.


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Past Presidents

1936 – J.B. Mansfield

1937 – J. Duck

1938 – J.B. Aylesworth

1939 – A.F. Fuerth

1940 – R.W. Keeley

1941 – T. W. Whiteside

1942 – C.R. Musselman

1943 – C.W. Isaacs

1944 – C.E. Sennett


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1945 – H. Warner

1946 – K. Crittenden

1947 – C.J. O’Neill

1948 – L. Downie

1949 – F. Webster

1950 – J.H. Hickey

1951 – J.J. Stuart

1952 – J.R. McFarlane

1953 – E.C. Row

1954 – S.E. Loveridge

1955 – C.W. Corbin

1956 – W.A. Harrison


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1957 – Dr. M.S.Douglas

1958 – R.J. Jones

1959 – W.J. Haslam

1960 – R.W. Pingle

1961 – K. Laird

1962 – R.W. Todgham

1963 – C.H. Ramin

1964 – A.E. Gignac

1965 – Dr. G.M. Morton

1966 – M.S. Stuart

1967 – D.B. McGee

1968 – J.C. Williams


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1969 – L.Z. McPherson

1970 – W.W. Bradley

1971 – C. Gress

1972 – C.M. Armstrong

1973 – C. Ainslie

1974 – R.G. Lancaster

1975 – D.A. Deziel

1976 – J.S. Clark

1977 – F. Smith

1978 – W.H. Prince

1979 – R.H. Larkin

1980 – H.C. Wellington


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1981 – Judge J.P. McMahon

1982 – R.E. Burnell

1983 – D.G. Morand

1984 – R.R. Hogarth

1985 – J.E. Vollmer

1986 – R.A. Thompson

1987 – J.D. Butler

1988 – B.F. Ralph

1989 – I.M. Henderson

1990 – G.J. Murray

1991 – R.C. Taylor

1992 – T.E. Whitehead


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1993 – K.A. Severn

1994 – N. Kelk

1995 – J.M. Skipper

1996 – G.J. Waghorn

1997 – J.J. Beneteau

1998 – F.G. Farrell

1999 – J.L. Scorgie

2000 – B.C. Ducharme

2001 – G.D. Boggs

2002 – E.N. Timperio

2003 – M.T. Scott

2004 – D.C. Roberts


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2005 – S.J. Vollmer

2006 – J.C. Angus

2007 – J.W. St. Aubin

2008 – M.P. Robinson

2009 – P.J. Kriz

2010 – S.A. Easterbrook

2011 – W.F. Wright

2012 – M. Bates


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Affiliations CANADIAN RECIPROCAL CLUBS

Winnipeg Squash & Racquet Club Winnipeg

Alberta The Bow Valley Club Calgary

New Brunswick The Fredericton Garrison Club Inc. Fredericton

Calgary Petroleum Club Calgary

Nova Scotia The Halifax Club Halifax, Nova

The Ranchmen’s Club Calgary Cypress Club Medicine Hat Royal Mayfair Golf & Country Club Edmonton British Columbia Terminal City Club Vancouver The Union Club of British Columbia Victoria Westminster Club New Westminster The Vancouver Club Vancouver Manitoba Manitoba Club Winnipeg

Ontario Albany Club of Toronto Toronto Beach Grove Golf and Country Club Windsor The Brantford Club Brantford The Chelsea Club Ottawa Essex Golf and Country Club LaSalle Faculty Club University of Toronto Toronto The Hamilton Club Hamilton The London Club London

The Ontario Club Toronto Peterborough Golf and Country Club Peterborough Pointe West Golf and Country Club Amherstburg Port Credit Yacht Club Mississauga Riverbend Golf Club London Rideau Club Ottawa St. Thomas Golf and Country Club St. Thomas St. Catharines Club St. Catharines Westhaven Golf and Country Club London Westmount Golf and Country Club London Quebec Club Saint James Montreal


80 Forest and Stream Club Dorval

El Paso Club Colorado Springs

The Algonquin Club Boston

Montefiore Club Montreal

Connecticut Waterbury Club Waterbury

University Club of Boston Boston

Mount Stephen Club Montreal Quebec Garrison Club Quebec City U.S. RECIPROCAL CLUBS Alabama The Club, Inc. Birmingham Arizona University Club of Phoenix Phoenix California Bellevue Club Oakland Faculty Club University of California Berkeley

Delaware University and Whist Club Wilmington Georgia Ashford Club Atlanta City Club of Macon Macon The Georgian Club Atlanta Idaho Arid Club Boise Illinois Buckingham Athletic Club Chicago DuPage Club Oakbrook Terrace

Wamsutta Club New Bedford Maryland Engineers Club, Garrett-Jacobs Mansion Baltimore Michigan Detroit Club Detroit Western Golf & Country Club (Detroit Society) Redford Fairlane Club (Detroit Society) Dearborn Bay Pointe Golf Club (Detroit Society) West Bloomfield Bloomfield Open Hunt (Detroit Society) Bloomfield Hills

Berkeley City Club Berkeley

Sangamo Club Springfield

Marines’ Memorial Club and Hotel San Francisco

Standard Club Chicago

Cherry Creek Golf Club (Detroit Society) Shelby Township

Indiana Columbia Club Indianapolis

Dunham Hills Golf Club (Detroit Society) Hartland

Kentucky Metropolitan Club Covington

Franklin Athletic Club (Detroit Society) Southfield

Maine Cumberland Club Portland

Gateway Golf Club (Detroit Society) Romulus

Massachusetts The Colony Club Springfield

Mystic Creek Golf Club (Detroit Club) Milford

Topa Tower Club Oxnard University Club of Pasadena Pasadena University Club of San Francisco San Francisco University Club of Santa Barbara Santa Barbara Colorado Denver Athletic Club Denver


81 Northville Hills Golf Club (Detroit Society) Northville Oak Pointe Country Club (Detroit Society) Brighton The Pinnacle Club (Detroit Society) Bellaire, MI Rattle Run Golf Course (Detroit Society) St. Clair Skyline Club (Detroit Society) Southfield The Standard Club (Detroit Society) Chicago Twin Lakes Golf Club (Detroit Society) Oakland University Club of MSU (Detroit Society) Lansing Detroit Tennis & Squash Club (Detroit Society) Farmington Hills Saginaw Club Saginaw Mississippi Great Southern Club Gulfport Capital Club Jackson Missouri Tower Club Springfield New York Fort Schuyler Club Utica

Town Club of Jamestown Jamestown

City Tattersall’s Club Brisbane

North Carolina Charlotte City Club Charlotte

United Service Club Queensland Brisbane

String and Splinter Club High Point

Bolivia Circulo de la Union La Paz

Ohio Toledo Club Toledo

Chile Club Vina del Mar PVina del

Pennsylvania Lafayette Club York

China Capital Club of Beijing Beijing

Texas Park City Club Dallas

Costa Rica Club Union San Jose

Petroleum Club of Fort Worth Fort Worth

Germany Der Ubersee Club Amsinck

Wisconsin Madison Club Madison Wisconsin Club Milwaukee

India Best Club Bangalore PYC Hindu Gymkhana Maharashtra

INTERNATIONAL RECIPROCAL CLUBS Indonesia Financial Club Jakarta Australia Jakarta American Club Sydney Jakarta International Club Jakarta New South Wales Masonic Club Sydney South Ireland Royal Dublin Society Alice Springs Memorial Club Ballsbridge Alice Springs Japan Newcastle Club Kobe Club Newcastle Kobe The Riverine Club Wagga Wagga

Luxemburg Grand-Duche de Luxembourg

The Western Australian Club. (Inc.) Perth

Malaysia Stampark Place Kuching


82 Kelab P.J. Selangor Darul

Bath and County Club Bath, England

Mexico The University Club of Mexico Mexico

City University Club London

New Zealand The Canterbury Club Christchurch Norway Shippingklubben Postboks Philippines The Manila Club Bangkal, Makati City Singapore Ceylon Sports Club South Africa Albany Club Grahamstown The Bulawayo Club Bulawayo Cape Town Club Gardens, Cape Town Durban Club Durban, KwaZulu-Natal Rand Club Johannesburg Victoria Country Club Pietermaritzburg KZN Wanderers Club Johannesburg Spain Club Financiero Genova Madrid Sociedad Bilbaina Bilbao United Kingdom Athenaeum Liverpool

Clifton Club Clifton National Liberal Club London Naval Club Mayfair New Cavendish Club London New Club Cheltenham, Gloucestershire Royal Scots Club Edinborough


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A Scrap book of People & Places at the Club


Long time member Gerald Freed was the recipient of the Order of Canada Award in 2005. Mr. Freed, active in the family retail business from an early age, was well deserving of this prestigious award having served on numerous Boards of local organizations and charities. He is pictured above with Shania Twain, also a recipient, at the Award ceremony. (Incidentally, Ms. Twain was also born in Windsor as Eilleen Regina Edwards).


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About the Author & Contributors Ken Severn

Kenneth Alan Severn was born in England in 1930. He was educated there and worked mainly in the retail furniture field before coming to Canada in 1957. He resided in Hamilton and Toronto before moving to Windsor in 1959. In 1960 he married his wife Nora and they subsequently became proud parents of two daughters. Nora passed away in 2008 after a brief illness. Ken worked for Dun & Bradstreet and the Windsor Credit Bureau prior to becoming a partner in the latter in 1977. He retired in 2001. He was a founding member and former Secretary–Treasurer of Credit Counseling Services of South Western Ontario, former Secretary–Treasurer of the Credit Granters’ Association (Windsor), former Secretary–Treasurer of Windsor Builders Supplies Association, former President of the Canadian Anglo Club, former President of the Windsor Executives Association and active with several other organizations. He joined the Windsor Club in 1986 and served on the board in various capacities until becoming President in 1993.

David C. Roberts

Dave was born, raised and educated in Windsor. He attended the University of Windsor and St. Clair College and with his diploma in Advertising Business, pursued a career with ad agencies. After gaining valuable experience working with famous brand names, he formed Roberts Advertising in 1988. He is also co-owner of Newblock Corp. which licenses technology to concrete block manufacturers and he has developed new markets for environmental remediation services across Canada. Dave joined the Windsor Club in 1989 and served on the Board in various positions before becoming president in 2004, the Club’s 100th Anniversary year. During those years he developed membership drive campaigns, the capital improvement fund, the Corporate Membership Category, organized the Past Presidents Council and launched the Windsor Club Legacy Fund. He is married to his college sweetheart Sue and together they have two great children, Shannon and David.


95 Jerry Beneteau

Jerry Beneteau was raised and educated in both Amherstburg and Windsor. Upon completion of his education, he moved to Toronto where he worked in the property casualty field for several years. Returning to Amherstburg in 1965, he worked in his own business as an insurance broker as well as in real estate sales. In 1979, focusing on insurance, he expanded his business interests to Windsor, buying several insurance brokerages with partners, and after a busy 41 years in the insurance field, retired in 2001. Active in many community organizations, he served as President of several groups including the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce, the Essex County Tourist Association and the Essex-Kent Regional Tourist Council. He continues as an active member of the Amherstburg Lions Club, with 47 years of service. He served on the board of management at the Windsor Club, and was its President in 1997. He continues to be involved with several local and church groups. Married to Pat for 47 years, he has three children, seven grandchildren and one great grandchild.

J. Mark Skipper

Mark was born and raised in the farming region of Kent County. However, Mark decided at a fairly young age to leave the farm and to become a lawyer. After matriculating high school, Mark obtained a degree in economics from University of Windsor, and later a law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. Mark spent a year working in Toronto after graduation, and eventually settled permanently in Windsor. Mark is a member of the law firm Paroian Skipper Lawyers. He has dedicated his practice to business and commercial law. Mark is married to Amy, and they are proud parents of two daughters, Sarah and Victoria. Mark joined the Windsor Club in 1987, about the same time as the Club relocated to 100 Ouellette Avenue. He was elected to the board of directors shortly thereafter, and served on the board in various capacities until he assumed the office of president in 1995. Since vacating the board, Mark has continued to serve the Club by providing pro bono legal advice, and also by serving on the Past President’s Council. Mark has thoroughly enjoyed and feels he has been enriched by his membership in and volunteer service given to the Windsor Club. Many fellow members have become comrades and lifetime friends.


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Acknowledgements First I would like to thank the dedicated committee of Jerry Beneteau, Dave Roberts and Mark Skipper for their invaluable contribution. Thank you Susan Easterbrook for your great help in editing the first drafts. The Windsor Club staff, especially manager Agnes Stainton, was always available to assist with our many requests. Many members of the Club assisted me with encouragement and information that may well have gone unnoticed without their cooperation, notably Jim Scorgie, Gord Boggs and Fred Sorrell. Member Marty Pederson supplied some valuable real estate information. Thank you Marty. The Windsor Community Museum curator, Madelyn Della Valle, and her assistant, Matt Pritchard were helpful in supplying detailed historical facts, as was the staff of the Second Floor Reference Department, Windsor Public Library. The support of the Past Presidents’ Council and its financial contribution is greatly appreciated. The help of the Internet cannot be ignored, but whom do we thank? Finally, this historical perspective would not have been possible without the dedication and expertise of Chris Edwards of Walkerville Publishing. We had many productive meetings together. Thank you Chris.



The Windsor Club- an historical perspective