THE PETERBOROUGH LAWN BOWLING CLUB
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The Peterborough Lawn Bowling Club has a long history in the City of Peterborough dating back to April 30, 190l, when a large number of citizens organized the Club. The location was the north east corner of Simcoe and Aylmer Streets, with seven rinks available for play. By June 4, 190l, 94 bowlers were registered with an annual fee of $2.00. It took only two weeks to ready the grounds and the members were requested to wear rubber shoes.
In 1904, the plot of land was sold in order to build the YWCA and the Club located at the corner of Brock and Aylmer Streets on what was referred to as the “postage stamp” greens. The area is presently Fleming Park. The Club remained there for 25 years.
As the popularity of the sport grew, the Club purchased the area of the present Club, between McDonnel and Walnut Streets, in two parcels. The first parcel being 300 x 200 was purchased in the fall of 1928. Six members applied for and obtained from the Ontario Government a charter incorporating “The Peterborough Lawn Bowling Club Limited”, with authority to issue shares of common stock. The charter is dated December 13, 1928. The first share was sold on January 23, 1929 to J.H. Sedgewick, who was also the first President of the newly incorporated Club. Four of the founding members are commemorated in the brass plaques displayed on the handsome walnut columns in the Clubhouse.
The property was purchased from Mr. David Hatton and the surveyors, Smith and Smith were paid $16.00 on May 22, 1929. The new Clubhouse was to be built with the estimated cost of $10,000. The original mortgage of $7,900.00 was held by Canadian Order of Woodmen of the World. The first meeting in the new Clubhouse was held on May 6, 1930.
Additional land was later purchased from Mr. Hatton, and the property now comprises 18 lots with three superb greens of eight rinks each. At one time, there were tennis and shuffleboard courts where green one is now located. The Kawartha Croquet club affiliated in 2000 and uses green one.
Women were not permitted to play until the late 1940's, and then only in the daytime as the gentlemen had the greens in the evening. The ladies were required to wear long skirts.
The beautiful 1 3/4 storey brick building, with dormers, a verandah on the south side to view the greens, contains a large reception room with brick fireplace, beveled glass French doors hardwood floors, walnut wainscot, beamed ceiling, decorative cornice, a built-in trophy case, and kitchen facilities. The second floor provides a meeting room and small office overlooking the greens. The basement contains a large recreation, scoring room, and washroom facilities.
Our motto in 2004 year was “Proud of our Past, Building our Future”. We had our first inductee into the Peterborough Sports Hall of Fame. Our Junior Program produced the first ever Provincial Under 18 Junior Lady Champion, and this season we were privileged to have had Lawn Bowls accepted into the School Curriculum and Instructional Programs with the Recreation Department of the City of Peterborough. Interesting to note that under the new school program, the children paid $2.00 to cover the cost of refreshments, and were instructed by 43 volunteers.
In 2004, the Peterborough Lawn Bowling Club had 180 members who enjoyed a choice of 6 leagues, as well as 12 "In Club” events during the season. Our Clubhouse basement was devastated by the “great flood” of July 15, 2004, and we worked towards restoring it during the winter of 2005 to maintain the legacy left by our “founding Fathers”. J.H. Sedgewick, the first President of the Incorporated Club, was quoted in the “DailyExaminer” as saying that the Club planned to create “the finest bowling greens in Canada” and we are proud to say his prediction holds true today.
Archival Author: Doris Nickson
100th Anniversary Tournament
In 2009, the Peterborough Lawn Bowling Club and the Whitlaw Mariners Seniors Club jointly agreed to the construction of a clubhouse on the property to be known and operated as the McDonnel St. Activity Centre. The Peterborough Lawn Bowling Club is the sole registered owner of the property municipally known as 577 McDonnel St. Peterborough, Ontario. The Facility is owned 60% by the Peterborough Lawn Bowling Club and 40% by the Whitlaw Mariners Social Club. In September 2012, the Memorandum of Agreement was signed by the two clubs. Each club would continue to be governed by a Board of Directors. As well, a Joint Board was formed to interface between the clubs in the running of the facility.