Thanks Kew Gardens Tennis Club: A Real Community Club

Fri, Jul 6, 2012


Thanks Kew Gardens Tennis Club: A Real Community Club

In this picture: Karen Spisak and Kartik Vyas

Written by: Pierre Lamarche


***Pierre Lamarche aka the Bear spent the last two weeks following the ACE tennis players at the Ontario Provincials at Kew Gardens. Lamarche, a many time former Quebec Provincial Champion, was touched by the ambiance of the tournament and the hospitality of Club President Karen Spisak. He filed the following article.***


The last ten days have been wonderful. First, my sciatic nerve finally settled down [injury from trying to get the Old Bear in shape] and then, I got fried sitting non-stop in the Beaches in Toronto [yes Canada, they have real beaches in Toronto] at the Kew Gardens newly renovated tennis club watching the Ontario Junior Tennis Championships. I had the best seat in the house. I was sitting on the edge of the courts able to watch the matches on the five clay and five hard courts. The experience was memorable not only because the weather was great, or because it was a very well run tournament, but seeing all those kids living a wide range of emotions brought back my own fond memories of playing the Quebec Provincials back in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.

At the same time I was playing the Under 13 Championships in Quebec in 1959 [junior events were 13,15 and 18], Bruce Child, the then President of Kew, got the money together to build the clubhouse. The club has existed in one form or another since the 1920’s with the ten courts being built by the city at the lake front parks. This year the clubhouse has been renovated and Kew is even more of a jewel.

As I sat talking with my former Mississippi State tennis star Jim Boyce, who is also Executive Director of the OTA, we started reminiscing [as old tennis players have a tendency to do] about our experiences playing, coaching, observing the kids at the Provincials. Names, like Raonic, Polansky, Pridham, Nestor, Sznajder, Drake, Hetherington, Simpson, were brought up. We then were joined by Canadian Tennis Hall of Fame player Harry Fauquier and a whole generation of new names were mentioned: Brown, Power, Curtis, Fontana, Ohara, Blackwood. Ontario tennis history lives at Kew Gardens.

Club President, Karen Spisak, was seen repeatedly talking to players parents, getting chairs for them showing a genuine hospitality, which is what makes these moments so special for all who participate. This tournament is a very special partnership between the community club and the Provincial association. This tournament fuels the dreams of youngsters across the province. Spending two weeks by the lake in this mystical environment in Canada’s biggest city creates memories that are etched within the soul of the participants.

It is fantastic that the club provides access in non-primetime [during the day] to the OTA to run these Provincial Championships. There are always a few disgruntled members as in any clubs, unhappy that they cannot access the courts at the time they like for two weeks. Those members should remember the true nature of the game and how fortunate they are to play at such a great club which is basically a public one.

President Karen Spisak and her board should be recognised for their contribution to the game and to the dreams of many of Ontario’s top players. Thank you for sharing your wonderful facility with us.

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10 Responses to “Thanks Kew Gardens Tennis Club: A Real Community Club”

  1. 1
    Alex Says:

    This was my second time in Kew Gardens tennis club.
    What a friendly environment it is. Chairs, tables, shade, sun, small cafeteria with everything you need and finally free WIFI. Very nice place right on the lake.
    Big thanks to Karen and her crew.
    Everything was really great.

  2. 2
    Sandy Milroy Says:

    Sounds a lot like the old days at the Monkland Tennis Club in Montreal. I think Boyce was there too. Even past your junior days to the time of #1 in Canada you still found time for the famous Beer Open at MTC. Great stuff!

  3. 3
    bob Says:

    good job Kew… it is what tennis is about and the kids feel like they should… Like trying for a Championship means something. It does and Kew gets it… now lets work on the other 245 clubs in Ontario.

    On another note… Parents have to calm down. Some real disgusting things happened, calling girls cheaters out loud… having them cry… hey ota – time to kick these parents out and suspend them. Its not Wimbledon. Wow, some pretty terrible displays of parental guidance.

  4. 4
    Fred Irani Says:

    It was really a fantastic, well organized under 18 and Under 16 tournamet at KEW Gardens. Thanks to KEW and OTA that our kids have this fantastic opportunity to compete at the Provincials.

    Thanks once again. Great Job

  5. 5
    Lainie Says:

    Thank you Karen and Kew Crew for your support and commitment to “Our little beach side tennis club”. Karen, your dedication is incredible. When a great 2012 Provincial Tournament, indeed.

  6. 6
    To Bob Says:

    Provincials were organized very well. As usually Kew Gardens made it happened. Karen and Kew staff should be rewarded for this.

    On another note… Your idea sounds like if thief got caught then he has to be freed and the victim should be punished.
    This is the topic for another discussion. But in short:
    there a few well known cheaters in U16 top 40. Everybody knows who they are including referees, OTA staff, players and parents. It is much easier to put a referee on the court where they play and as you say to suspend them for cheating.
    But again this not for this discussion.

  7. 7
    Danny Almon Says:

    Pierre wasit 13-15-17 and under in quebec before it changed to 12-14-16-18.All I know was my first tournament @ Monkland, I played a guy named Lamarche in the 13(I was 11) and Peter Burwash in the 15.Got double bageled by 2 Hall of Famers.Not a bad start really!!!

  8. 8
    The Bear Says:


    It was 13-15-18

    I must point out I am in the Hall of Fame as a builder. Peter Burwash is not probably due to the fact that his remarkable success in the tennis business world has been accomplished outside of Canada mainly.

  9. 9
    Don Petrak Says:

    Need a abc buddy!
    734-799-0809 serious people only.

  10. 10
    Josiah Filzen Says:

    Mim you’ve got to do what’s working for you and if it’s not working, then ya gotta stop doing it right??? Good luck getting the cholesterol down.

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