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On Islington Avenue in Etobicoke is St. George’s Golf and Country Club. This prestigious club is ranked among the top three in Canada and the top 100 in the world.
St. George’s was the vision of two men: developer Robert Home Smith and Sir Edward Beatty, President of the Canadian Pacific Railway. In the early 1900s, Smith was rapidly acquiring picturesque land close to the Humber River that would become lucrative real estate developments. Around the same time, his friend Beatty was developing the Royal York Hotel, among the largest hotels in the chain of CPR hotels. It was also an architectural masterpiece at the time, revered the world over.
Beatty wanted a place to entertain guests of the hotel. And so, between Beatty and Smith, a new golf club for this west end area became a reality. The name of the club was borne: “The Royal York Golf Club” named primarily for the connection to the hotel.
High respected golf architect, Stanley Thompson was hired to design the course. Thompson was involved in the completion of some 145 courses worldwide. Here, Thompson designed an 18-hole course as well as an additional nine holes on the northern part of the property.
In the late 1920s, as the course was close to being complete, work went ahead on the clubhouse, designed by Home Smith’s architectural team. Seen in this photo from 1929, the style of the building is said to mirror the personal taste of Robert Home Smith as well as the philosophy of his company: ”A little bit of England — far from England.
The “Royal York Golf Club” opened in 1931, renamed “St. George’s Golf and Country Club.” Today the picturesque grounds remain an important landmark in the history of Etobicoke.
Many thanks to both Gary Switzer of MOD Developments and Maya Bilbao for putting together the photos and research.