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Mayfair Clubs Celebrating 50 Years!
“Aside from my own home, Mayfair is probably the most important place in my daily routine,” – Mitch a longtime member of Mayfair Clubs. “Mayfair is like a second home to all of us.” – Rosie Davey, a veteran of the fitness staff.
A home away from home is the sentiment that many members and staff – old and new – feel about Mayfair Clubs. Since the inception of Mayfair Clubs in 1970, 50 years ago, the organization has grown from one facility to four: it has provided opportunities for kids, juniors, and adults to learn, play, and compete in sport at every level. It has evolved with the times, first adding squash and later offering a range of fitness services and a place for wellness treatments, healthy foods, and jubilant social events. But, most importantly, Mayfair Clubs offers an environment where everyone is welcome, and people can pursue their passion for a healthy lifestyle through fitness, social activity, and sport.
In 1970, private tennis clubs in the Greater Toronto Area were not accessible to everyone. It was in this environment that Mayfair Clubs’s founders opened a year-round indoor tennis facility, Mayfair North in Thornhill, that catered to all. The club offered indoor tennis at affordable prices and fostered a spirit of inclusion. The success of this forward thinking strategy was evident in the fact that there was a waiting list on opening day. From the start, Mayfair Clubs has been a place where families and friends can enjoy exercise and a healthy lifestyle together.
“I love this place. It’s like my second home. I love the people and the down to Earth environment. It’s just an awesome place to be.” – Diane, 35-year member
As Mayfair Clubs expanded to new locations, offerings grew from tennis to include squash. The clubs played a pivotal role in the growth of both racquet sports, not only in the Greater Toronto Area, but in Canada at large. Over the last 20 years, Tennis Canada has presented Mayfair Clubs and its directors with multiple awards for significant contributions to the development of tennis, in recognition of dedication to the sport. Mayfair Clubs’s tennis programming provides training and competitive opportunities, from beginner to professional, kids to adults, with a deep commitment to junior tennis, for which it has been recognized by Tennis Canada as an official Tennis Development Centre.
“Mayfair Clubs has been instrumental in the development of the sport of tennis in Canada over the last five decades. They’ve provided top rate facilities, coaches and training programs to grow Canadian athletes.” – Michael Downey, President and CEO of Tennis Canada
Legends such as Bjorn Borg, Billie Jean King, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Gabriella Sabatini, Pete Sampras, and Virginia Wade have all struck the ball on Mayfair’s courts. As longtime and current sponsor and supporter of the Rogers Cup, Mayfair is also the official indoor practice site for the ATP and WTA tours during the annual tennis tournament. Mayfair has been a training ground for the very best tennis players in the world for over 35 years and has always been active in offering some of Canada’s best players and young prospects a place to train, learn, compete, and succeed. Moving forward, who knows what heights Mayfair Clubs’s current crop of high-performance players can attain.
In keeping with Mayfair’s spirit of innovation, the Mayfair Toronto Pro League (MTPL) was developed. Canada’s only professional tennis prize money league, MTPL brings together top tennis professionals from across the city, including former NCAA and CIS players and the odd ATP player to battle it out.
At every level, Mayfair Clubs is providing the facilities, the communities, the coaching, and the competition to raise the bar of tennis in the Greater Toronto Area and, by extension, Canada. Whether it is in the booming participation numbers or the incredible success of professional players, tennis in Canada has exploded in recent years, and Mayfair Clubs has played a pivotal role in fostering that expansion.
Of course, since its inception, Mayfair has always been a leader in the tennis community, but it is important to note that the first international glass backed squash courts in Canada were constructed at Mayfair Lakeshore. Beginning in the late 1980s when the club first opened its doors, the Lakeshore location recruited top-ranked squash coaches with the aim of building a leading-edge, high-performance squash program. The quality of the training of Mayfair Clubs was matched by the quality of its competitions. With plenty of spectator seating, Mayfair Clubs was, and is, a premier hub for squash tournaments in Canada, running events from the grassroots level to the national and international levels. In recent years, the club was awarded a Corporate Special Achievement Award from Squash Ontario, and the Canadian Squash Hall of Fame resides there. Mayfair Clubs has long been a major asset in the health of squash in Canada.
While hosting local, national and international tennis and squash tournaments over the years helped propel many elite athletes to great heights, meeting the needs of members has always been of the utmost importance to the Mayfair team. They continued to provide new offerings to their members in the mid-’90s. New space was created for diverse fitness facilities and they have been continuously renovated and expanded over two and a half decades. Today, state-of-the-art gyms are staffed by highly qualified fitness specialists. Features like saltwater swimming pools, cycling groups, and mind & body exercise studios offer hundreds of classes each week in over 50 different formats.
Mayfair Clubs’s dedication to offering the best possible services and facilities is not restricted to just tennis, squash, and fitness. There is also child care for members through Kidspace. There are full service restaurants with diet options for healthy lifestyles and wellness services including spas, massage therapy, nutrition, naturopathy, sports medicine, physiotherapy, and chiropractic care. There are sports shops offering the latest gear; social events including poker, bridge and wine and beer tastings; not to mention pickleball, a new club favourite.
Mayfair Clubs is a full-service sports, recreation and social destination designed to connect people with the same passions. In fact, the Mayfair experience prompted one member to say, “I not only met a multitude of great people here, but I also met my wife.”
As well as the great facilities and social atmosphere, another reason members often cite as an important element in their overall experience is the staff. Whether it is at the West, East, Parkway, or Lakeshore, Mayfair Clubs is proud of the fact that it has provided thousands of engaging employment opportunities. Many staff members have stayed for 20 years or more. And … the staff also speak fondly of the members:
“My favourite part of Mayfair for the last 30 years has been the members, the staff, and the friendships that have come along with that. To see Mayfair grow to where it is today has been an experience that I’ll never forget. From it being just a tennis club to an all-service club has been the biggest highlight of my career,” – Darlene, Club Manager, Mayfair Lakeshore.
As Mayfair moves beyond 50 years, it will continue to adapt to the needs of its members in an ever changing marketplace, where friends can bump into each other and where sports, health, and wellness bring us all together.
About the Author
David Albertyn is a tennis coach and the author of Undercard.
Want to Learn More?
Learn more about Mayfair Clubs Founding Members and explore our interactive timeline of our 50 years in the Health Club business.