Some History of the Highland Park Lawn Bowling Club
Unfortunately, the early Club records were destroyed in one of the annual spring floods of the creek which flowed through the area, but from reminiscing with some of the long time residents and from looking at pictures of tournaments etc., some of the early history is being pieced together.
In 1914, a group of interested gentlemen of the Village of Westboro and the Township of Nepean approached the late John E. Cole to request permission to lay out a lawn bowling green and tennis courts on his farm. The proposal met with a positive response and the property was leased from Mr. Cole for many years. In 1941, Mr. Cole put a price on the land and the Club members at that time took up shares and purchased it. This was recorded in the minutes of October 30, 1941, and it was agreed that Mr. Cole be made a life member of the Club in gratitude for his generosity over the years.
The Club became known as Highland Park Lawn Bowling Club. Although the names of all of the original members of the Club are not known, the names of many local persons appear in the records: Hugh Richards and W. J. Abra of the architectural firm of Richards and Abra, J. Halpenny of the Insurance firm and later his son P. R. Halpenny. J. Howard Carkner and J. E. Cole were members in the very early years. The medical profession was well represented by Drs. J. S. Nelson, V. C. Craig, Leonard Derby and J. C. MacFarlane, together with Dr. Fred Thompson, the popular local dentist. George McKay Nichol, the local Churchill Ave. druggist, was an ardent lawn bowler and after taking up residence in Westboro, Al Tubman the local Funeral Director became an enthusiastic member.
There were others to name, Jack Hoey, the Pye brothers, A. H. Jarvis of bookstore fame, W. G. Beddoe the local Bank Manager, A. E. Morris the Township Clerk, A. L. Heath, the tinsmith, and the very popular local tailor Dick Greene. Others whose names keep coming up are Fred Byshe, J.P. Cordukes, J.P. Ebbs, George Spencer, Ernie Eastman, Frank Brookes, Ed Flegg, Arthur Holloway, Bob Laing, Bob Hood, Joe Doherty, Bill Howard, Lloyd Ross, Dr. Ed Laberge, George Clarkson, Charlie Robertson, J.C. MacPherson, Charlie Armstrong, Harry Kemp, Elmer Joe Tubman of the Football Hall of Fame, Earle P. Roy, Fred Stewart, W. McLintock, Herb Sykes and many more whose names slip the writer’s memory.
The tennis Section of the Club was developed and promoted by Earle Roy, George Jackson, Lilda (Harding) Tierney, Ethel (Pettigrew) Sykes and others. Two cinder clay courts were in use for many years. The Tennis Section faded out of existence in the early 1930s. Even in those days it was the lack of money which had a large bearing on the operation, as other local clubs were putting in lights for night tennis and Highland Park was unable to finance such an endeavour. After many attempts to interest church groups, etc., in taking over the running of the courts, the land was finally sold in 1954. With the demise of the Tennis Section, the lady tennis players made application for membership in the Lawn Bowling Section and after some opposition from the male members, finally in 1935 ladies were admitted to the club.
Local politics at times entered into the affairs of the Club with Percy Halpenny, Arthur Holloway and Jack Hoey serving terms as members of the Westboro Village Board. It seems the Club recognized the importance of this as for many years the Chairman of the Village Board and the Reeve of the Township of Nepean were elected Honorary President and Vice President of the Club.
The Club in many ways was a focal point in the life of the village. Each summer a Jamboree was held for two or three nights and along with special lawn bowling events, bingo, other games, teacup reading, dancing on the tennis courts and other amusements open to the community were enjoyed. In the winter, bingo and card parties were arranged at the Masonic Temple and a very successful Alley Bowling League was carried on at the Seed Bowling Alley in the Bodnoff complex.
Although the present Clubhouse appears very similar to that shown in the 1915 pictures, the Clubhouse has met with two disasters in its lifetime, the first during a storm in the summer of 1955 when a very large elm tree was struck by lightning and fell on the Clubhouse, destroying the west end of the building. It was extremely fortunate there was no loss of life as the Clubhouse was full of bowlers having their evening meal. Then in 1962 the interior of the building was gutted by fire. However, the members were not to be thwarted by either disaster and in each case came up with better facilities than before.
Highland Park Lawn Bowling Club has never had a large membership, but has produced some fine lawn bowlers over the years and has marked some very important wins. In the early years, the Club sponsored three official open tournaments for men and two for ladies. There was the Cole Cup for play in sections, and the Fred and Esther Robinson trophy (formerly owners of the I.G.A. Grocery) given in their memory by their family. The men featured in a triples tournament for the Highland Park Trophy given in memory of John M. Hoey. The ladies competed for a trophy donated by Henry Birks for open competition and another given by Charlie Compton for local play.
The Club continues to hold four annual tournaments throughout the summer. Players from other local clubs as well as those from eastern Ontario are invited. Highland Park is very fortunate to have sponsors for these competitions and we thank the following for their support: The Morris Home Team, Tubman Funeral Home, Canaccord Wealth Management, and Amica of Westboro Park.
In 2019, Highland Park had 106 playing members and 23 social members.