The Ottawa Tennis and Lawn Bowling Club (OTLBC), a fixture in Ottawa South for nearly a century, plans to restore its historic clubhouse. On November 30, 2018, about 80 people gathered at Trinity Anglican Church, just down the street from the OTLBC, to launch a targeted fundraising campaign. Founded in 1881, the OTLBC built the three-season clubhouse in 1923, when it moved to its current location on Cameron Avenue adjacent to Brewer Park.
“The restoration project includes adding insulation and a heating system so that the OTLBC can serve members and community residents all year ‘round,” said OTLBC Board President Jenny Mitchell. “We will modernize the facilities while retaining the building’s original character. In Canada’s other large cities, facilities like ours have either disappeared or become inaccessible to the public; we feel a responsibility to protect what we’ve got and to increase our value to the community. ”
Planning for the $2.6 million restoration project began several years ago, and the OTLBC now has all of the costings, designs and construction drawings needed to secure permits. The campaign’s initial goal is to raise $500,000 by July 2019; the Club will also apply for a matching grant from Heritage Canada, and hopes to attract individual and corporate sponsorships. Donations to the campaign are eligible for charitable tax receipts, as the project has earned National Sport Trust Fund status.
“The ability to issue receipts that qualify for tax deductions is a huge boost for us,” says Jenny Mitchell. “We learned that we’d qualified only a few days ago, so that made tonight’s gathering a celebration as much as a launch.”
One of Canada’s oldest independent clubs, the OTLBC features 18 Har-Tru (clay) tennis courts, 12 beach-volleyball courts and an outdoor pool. The signature feature of the historic clubhouse is a handsome second-floor balcony overlooking the grounds, where members and visitors enjoy the food-and-beverage services of The Cameron, the on-site restaurant that opened in 2018. The community-based club has approximately 600 tennis and pool members, and its restaurant and volleyball courts welcome hundreds of visitors each week.
The clubhouse was designed by John A. Ewart, the era’s pre-eminent Ottawa architect who is also responsible for such buildings as Glebe Collegiate, Southminster United Church and Ottawa Public Library’s Sunnyside Branch. During the campaign launch, local historian and OTLBC member Ross Eamon read messages of support for the restoration project from John Ewart’s son and grandson.
The campaign is off to a strong start, with more than $150,000 worth of donations and pledges already received. The OTLBC plans to start construction once the campaign raises $1 million and to complete the project in time to celebrate the Club’s 100th anniversary. The project will enable the OTLBC to host more tournaments and to offer new programs and services to the Old Ottawa South community. For more information or to make a tax-deductible donation, please visit www.otlbc.com/donate.
Originally featured in the January 2019 OSCAR.
Learn more about the restoration project here on the club's website.