Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Granite Club

Without a doubt, some of my best memories as a young teen have to do with my hours and hours spent at The Granite Club in Toronto. It was the 'old' and 'original' Granite Club on St. Clair and it was heavenly. I'd arrive after school and eat cinnamon toast and sip hot chocolate with Barbara Ann Scott's Mother. (she seemed to be 100 then!) My friends and I would bowl and run up and down the wide staircase to the different floors. Amazing how I took for granted the 'chit'. Ordering whatever I wanted and 'just' signing for it. The halls of The Granite Club are filled with a rich history. The decor was 'old money'. Lovely. Traditional. Velvets. Deep greens and burgundys. Solid wood trim and banisters. One time when I was ice skating there was a bomb scare and all the members had to be evacuated! That was exciting.

The Granite Club name is rich with meaning for those who honour the values of tradition and family.
For generation after generation, the Granite Club has been a place where families enrich their lives, value time together, and share special moments. With its warm, caring atmosphere, the Club fulfills its founders' vision by taking on an important role in the family traditions, celebrations and lives of members. The traditions and prestige of the Granite Club can be traced back to 1836 when a half dozen gentlemen organized an "uptown" curling facility located at Chapel and St. Mary Streets which provided the members with a clubhouse and a covered two-sheet curling rink and an outdoor skating rink. During these first years several prominent Canadians became members, including Sir John A. Macdonald, Sir Edmund Osler, and J.D. Edgar, Speaker of the House of Commons and by 1875, there were approximately forty-two members. In 1925 a piece of land on St. Clair Avenue West, near Yonge Street, was purchased to accommodate a growing membership, the changing face of recreational activities and conversion from a gentlemen's to a family club. The St. Clair location housed seven badminton courts, several five-pin bowling lanes, a swimming pool and two squash courts in addition to curling, skating, lawn bowling and tennis. In 1929, the Granite Club held its first Skating Carnival, which became a family tradition. Over time, demand required expansion, and additional curling, squash, bowling and social facilities were added.
Those were amazing times that I will never forget. Today the new Granite Club is on Bayview Ave. and the old entrance was preserved and moved to the Guild Inn Gardens. I can't tell you how many times I walked, skipped and jumped in and out of these doors!
Toronto Life Magazine Says:

Arguably Toronto’s most luxurious club. In addition to the elegant decor and swanky facilities, there are 24 personal trainers on hand to give new members detailed fitness assessments. The reward: access to two spacious floors of immaculate cardio and weight machines, massage tables, an active therapy clinic, and Stott Pilates Reformers (for one-on-one sessions). Curling, one of the club’s raisons d’ĂȘtre, is still popular. Spinning, martial arts and boxing are taught in the fitness studio. Also on offer: figure and power skating, two 25-metre indoor pools, four badminton courts and seven squash courts. Of 12 Har-Tru clay tennis courts, nine are in play year-round.
How much:
initiation fee $12,000–$30,000, annual fee $205–$2,530

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