History


The Toronto Hunt, one of the oldest hunt clubs in North America and the second oldest in Canada, was founded in 1843. Records show that on May 15th of that year it held its first hunt in association with the Turf Club at Sheppards Golden Lion Hotel about seven miles north of Toronto.

In its early years, hunting was largely confined to and supported by officers of the Imperial Army stationed at Toronto. The first Masters of the hunt were Colonel Elliott of the Royal Canadian Rifles and Major McKay of the 82nd Regiment. As late as 1866, Colonel Jenyns of the 13th Hussars was Master. These were followed by such well-known gentlemen sportsmen as Messrs. John Hendrie, George Gooderham, James G. Worts, William Copeland, Dr. Andrew Smith and Mr. George W. Beardmore who was Master from 1893 to 1931.

For fifty years, the hunt was conducted from various points in and around Toronto, but in 1895 the present site on Kingston Road was chosen to be the headquarters of the Club, and a Clubhouse and stables were erected.

Under the name of “The Toronto Hunt and Country Club” the Club was first incorporated under the Provincial Letters Patent in May 1894. In 1905, it was re-incorporated under Dominion Charter as “The Toronto Hunt Limited” and finally in October 1930, it was again incorporated under Provincial Letters Patent as “The Toronto Hunt” and still operates under this Charter. The first president was Mr. D’Alton McCarthy who served from 1894 to 1898; he was followed by Mr. George W. Beardmore who was President until 1930, being Master of the Hunt for the same period.

From the Club’s inception, in addition to its hunts, Race Meetings were held at the Woodbine Race Track, and from about 1894, Point-to-Point Meetings and Gymkhanas were regularly held on the grounds of the Club. Polo was also played at the Club, while skeet and trap shooting, and later on tennis were indulged in. However, for most of the members, hunting with the hounds was the most popular sport. It appeared to have reached its peak about the turn of the century, but declined somewhat with the coming of the automobile, only to be revived stronger than ever after the First World War. Golf was first played in Toronto in 1870 in the Common on Kingston Road near Main Street. The sport was rapidly gaining popularity. Consequently, The Toronto Hunt built a golf course on the property it acquired across Kingston Road. Additional acreage for the course was acquired in 1910.

With the expanding city encroaching towards the club’s property, it became necessary to look for better hunting country. Consequently, in about 1909 suitable stable facilities for horses and hounds were provided on property near Thornhill. This hunting centre, used for many years, was known as “Green Bush Lodge”. Just prior to 1920, the stable and arena facilities were added at a location north of Eglinton Avenue and east of Avenue Road. These were known as Toronto Hunt Eglinton Stables. In 1929, these stables became a separate hunting association known as Eglinton Hunt, which later still was renamed The Eglinton & Caledon Hunt. As hunting activities progressed northwards and away from the Club’s Kingston Road property, some of the hounds were kenneled on the farm of the then Master, Mr. Aemelius Jarvis, just south of Aurora, and the remainder were kept at The Eglinton Hunt.

In 1933, The Toronto Hunt transferred all hunting property standing in its name and all rights there to those members engaged in hunting. Such members carried on the sport under the name of Toronto and North York Hunt. With this transfer, golf remained the sole sporting activity at The Toronto Hunt.

As years passed, the impracticality of a golf course bisected by a busy highway became more and more evident. Thus, in 1937, property was acquired to the west of the Clubhouse so that nine holes could be laid out south of Kingston Road. In 1943, the property north of Kingston Road was sold. Today, The Toronto Hunt owns approximately 71 acres table land. The bluffs and beach measure approximately 2000 feet from east to west and the water rights extend 660 feet into Lake Ontario.

The original Clubhouse was completely destroyed by fire in 1910. In 1911, pending the completion of plans for the erection of larger premises, the Clubhouse was re-built rapidly to accommodate the Club’s activities. However, the advent of the First World War prevented the completion of the plans for a larger Clubhouse. Over the years, small additions and improvements were made from time to time to the 1911 structure.

The present addition to the Clubhouse was built in 2003. The primary purpose of the addition was to provide the membership with a great place to dine with friends and family in a more relaxed and casual setting, while enjoying a panoramic view of beautiful Toronto Hunt property.






To read more about
the Club's history,
please click the link above.
'A History of
The Toronto Hunt'

by William M. Gray
(Prepared in 1993 in honour of the Club's Sesquicentennial)