The Birth of BVTC in 1975
In the 1960’s, small communities surrounding the City of Toronto were fast developing into boroughs. In 1967, one such area north of Toronto became known as the Borough of North York (eventually evolving into a city of its own in 1979). Within this borough (in the vicinity of Bayview and Sheppard Aves) is a community known as Bayview Village. The hub of this community in 1967 was a strip plaza known as Bayview Village Plaza that consisted of approximately 20 stores. At either end of this plaza was a K-Mart department store and a Loblaws supermarket. Nearby parks were the scene of many family-related activities.
In the fall of 1974, Fred Speed of the Bayview Village Community Association sent a letter to all residents in the area requesting feedback on interest in establishing a community tennis club in a small park across the road from the plaza. The response was so overwhelming that a committee was formed to develop a strategic business plan and subsequent charter. The group was led by local businessman and tennis enthusiast, John Millyard. With the support of his team, the North York Tennis Association, and the Parks and Recreation Department a plan was formulated to build three fenced asphalt tennis courts on the south side of Hawksbury Park. The founding members of the executive also included Catherine Mullaly, Barbara Kohan, Ann Craig and David Holt. From the vision of a dedicated few, the Bayview Village Tennis Club (BVTC) was born in the spring of 1975.
This first year was met with challenges for the BVTC officials which included a lack of proper clubhouse facilities and available court time. This necessitated neighbourhood residents offering members their homes for washroom facilities. Initially, local members were tasked with supplying drinking water for everyone. One such member, Bill Calderone, subsequently designed a temporary hose that stretched from a nearby house to the park supplying members with fresh drinking water.
In 1976, an additional three tennis courts were built along with a makeshift clubhouse that was designed and built by club members. The construction of this new clubhouse was spearheaded by Milt Seddon and five other dedicated members who erected it in just one weekend through sheer determination. This original clubhouse is now used as a storage shed. The following spring, lights were installed to service a membership of 600 seniors and 625 juniors. Back then, membership fees were $15.00 for seniors and $10.00 for juniors.
In 1978, Herb Shepherd, President of BVTC, initiated plans to build a proper and professional clubhouse. He enlisted two local architects, Harvey Beecroft and Milt Seddon for guidance and expertise in developing the structure. Herb formed a building committee consisting of himself, Harvey Beecroft, Milt Seddon, B. Hawtin and Ken Gadd. Herb asked Ken Gadd to chair this building committee. After many hours of planning and meetings over the next year and with the help of a Wintario grant and funds saved by the tennis club, proud members had a new clubhouse built in 1979. Harvey’s architectural firm designed the clubhouse and Milt Seddon came up with surrounding interlocking brickwork at no charge to the club.
Today, Bayview Village Tennis Club continues to be looked upon as the premier tennis club of North York.