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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

[URBAN NOTE] “Burned down Badminton and Racquet Club had 90-year storied history”

CBC News’ Alexandra Sienkiewicz looks at the long history of the Badminton and Racquet Club destroyed by fire, noting–among other things–a conservatism that once extended down to barring non-white males from membership.

When a devastating fire swept through the 90-year-old Badminton and Racquet Club near Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue Tuesday afternoon, the organization added yet another chapter to its storied history.

The club opened in 1924 when the old TTC streetcar barns on St. Clair Avenue were converted into seven badminton courts. The B & R, as it’s affectionately known among those who use it, started with only a few members from Toronto’s elite — but has since grown to include more than 2,750 members. To this day, it remains a private facility and access can be gained by membership only.

The club has also been known for its history of segregation of the sexes. It wasn’t until 1980 that women were allowed to sit in on board meetings — but without voting rights. “Women are to be seen and not heard,” says the club’s website in describing that period of its history.

“The idea of women on the board had been rejected annually as many of the men on the board felt that the “right kind of man” would not serve if there were women at the table,” it adds.

It was only in 1997 when men and women could sit together when a co-ed dining room was introduced — nearly 75 years after the club’s opening.

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Written by Randy McDonald

February 15, 2017 at 5:30 pm

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