Club History in Brampton

Lawn Bowling in Brampton

Lawn bowling was first introduced to Brampton in the 1870's when a member of the Haggert family returned from a visit to Scotland and brought back with him several sets of lawn bowls.  The first game of lawn bowls was played in Brampton on the beautiful front lawn of the home of Brampton resident John Haggert.  "Haggert Lea" was located on the southeast corner of Elizabeth Street North and Nelson Street West and fronting onto the west side of George Street.  The private bowling green was located on the lower level of the property below the terrace.  It is here that the Haggert family and local residents as their guests learned the game and enjoyed the sport of lawn bowling both as participants and spectators.  

Around 1895 the first lawn bowling club known as the Brampton Lawn Bowling Club was organized on the property currently occupied by Rosalea Park in downtown Brampton.  At the time, Richard Jennings owned the whole park area and also operated a greenhouse on the location of the present Parkside apartments.  Lacrosse, tennis, baseball and cricket were also played in the park which had by then become an athletic centre.  The "Rosalea" green contained three rinks and was located on Union Street almost on the spot which would later become the tennis club.  Bowling was done only North-South as space did not permit East-West bowling.  A two story clubhouse served not only the bowlers but other sports groups using the beautiful grounds.  By 1899 the membership in the Club had grown and more space was needed to accommodate the game.  

The Brampton Lawn Bowling Club was officially incorporated on April 7, 1907.  The original Club was organized and operated for men only.

In addition to needing more space, the soil at Rosalea Park was found to not be suitable for a good lawn bowling surface.  The Club was moved in 1908 to George Street South in Brampton near Christ Church Anglican in downtown Brampton.  The property was located on the east side of George Street just south of Queen Street.  Ten men in the Club purchased the George Street property for $100.00.  The property was 60 feet by 120 feet and included a small house which was suitable for use as a clubhouse.  An additional $400.00 was borrowed to construct the green. 

In 1916 the ladies of Brampton also took up the sport and began to lawn bowl at the Club.  Overall membership increased to approximately 60 and the green was no longer wide enough to accommodate everyone to play.  The Club began to look for another location.

In 1919, just after the end of World War I, the Club moved to its next home at 9 William Street in Brampton.  This property was acquired from the estate of Josiah Mason.  Two greens containing 15 rinks were constructed.  One green of approximately 100 feet by 110 feet was built for the men.  A smaller green of approximately 60 by 100 feet became the ladies side in 1926.  A clubhouse situated between the two greens was also built.  The telephone that hung on the wall of the men's side of the clubhouse was for the Club's summer use.  In the Fall, a Bell Telephone employee would remove the telephone and take it to the Brampton Curling Club which was located on Byng Avenue at the time.  In the Spring, the same telephone would be returned and connected at the Lawn Bowling Club.  Water used to maintain the greens was supplied by the Town of Brampton at a flat rate.  There was no water meter for many years.  The valve to control the water supply was located beside the sidewalk on William Street.  A key was need to open the valve and every Spring the Water Commissioner would open this valve and return every Fall to close it.  The Town of Brampton installed the first water meter in 1967.

During the 1960's, accommodation at William Street was becoming quite crowded.  Alternatives were considered for a larger facility in negotiation with the City of Brampton.  In 1973, Mayor Jim Archdekin of Brampton told the "Flower City Festival" gathering about plans for a new bowling green in the "Madoc Sports Complex" in the Madoc housing subdivision.  An agreement was reached to include a new lawn bowling facility at the corner of Vodden Street East and Rutherford Road North in Brampton.  A draft agreement was signed on January 15, 1975 and the final agreement was signed in 1976 by Mayor Jim Archdekin, Clerk of the Council K.R. Richardson for the City and Len Hollran, J. Dearlove and Fred Bacon for the Club.  The name of the "Madoc Sports Complex" was changed to "Century Gardens" in honour of Canada's Centennial Year.  The Club agreed to sell its William Street property to the City for $2.00.  In return, the City agreed to build two new greens with 16 rinks and a clubhouse and to rent these facilities to the Club for $1.00 per season for the next 20 years.  Rough grading of the greens began on October 26, 1976 and the clubhouse and greens were completed in the summer of 1977.  A wine and cheese party held on October 12, 1977 was the first official function held in the new clubhouse.  On June 30, 1978 the Club officially left the William Street property.  The first Club games were played on July 4, 1978 on the new greens. The official opening was celebrated on September 23, 1978. 

By 1979 the membership had grown to almost 200 and was to such an extent that the clubhouse was extremely crowded.  Mr. Fred Bacon of the Club proposed an idea to expand the clubhouse in time to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Brampton Lawn Bowling Club's incorporation in 1982.  Clubhouse expansion was included in the City's capital budget of 1982 and work was completed the following year at a cost of $130,000.  The Club raised its share of $30,000 by hosting events such as bingos and assigning a per member levy.  A full liquor license was obtained in 1983 and a cable television connection was added in 1984.  Both these additions increased the social life of the membership at the Club.

In 1988 the Ladies Section of the Club was admitted to full membership  and on January 1, 1989 the men's Club and the ladies section were officially amalgamated. In 1989, Marg Sanderson became the first President of the amalgamated Club.  A second occupancy agreement for 25 years with the City of Brampton commenced on July 1, 1988.

Continued cooperation with the City of Brampton provided the Club with many additions and improvements to the location.

In 2012, the City moved the Club to its current location in the Flower City Recreation Complex at the corner of Queen Street West and McLaughlin Road South in Brampton.  This move provided the Club with a brand new clubhouse to be shared with the Flower City Seniors Centre located just across the street.  One green with 8 rinks was built and surfaced with artificial grass, a first for the Brampton Club.


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