1970: Niagara-on-the-Lake Tennis Club was founded with 26 dedicated, enthusiastic Members. Our courts were located on the windswept grounds of Niagara District Secondary School in Virgil. Conditions were challenging.
1986: Following two years of determined efforts and fundraising, the Club partnered with the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake to develop the Memorial Park Tennis Centre. An omni-court surface (sand-filled carpet) was selected. The ball plays a little slower than on a hard court but the surface was less jarring on bodily joints than traditional asphalt surfaces.
1990: The tennis pavilion was built by Club volunteers, with significant support from the Town, and continues to be the centre of Club social activities.
2002: The courts were resurfaced with the same omni-court material, with an estimated lifespan of 10-15 years.
2009: The pavilion interior was painted and the space improved with the donation of a cupboard and a refrigerator. A little "kitchen" was born. Volunteer carpentry provided new shelving and the artistry of Dorothy Booth provided our welcoming mural. Club Membership had climbed to 304.
2011: It was clear that the court surface was wearing out from greatly increased usage and discussions began regarding resurfacing funding options. The Town had allocated some funds for this project but not enough to bring the courts to current standards of comparable community tennis facilities in the region. The Club incorporated as an Ontario Not-For-Profit Corporation to facilitate applying for various public funding opportunities.
2012: The pavilion was expanded, again with amazing volunteer efforts, this time overseen by Richard Berti, to provide much needed storage space and additional lighting for our evening social events. Fresh paint and a welcoming flowerpot helped pull our little "cottage" together even more. Materials funding came from Club reserve funds.
2014: The current acrylic-coated cushioned asphalt court surfaces were installed. Funding was provided by the Town, Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Club's reserve fund.
2017: New lighting was installed by the Town with significant financial support from the Club.
See Ontario Tennis History Mysteries for more on Canadian Championships in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Archival content courtesy of Rosemary Goodwin