There was a public meeting last night about the possibility of St. George’s, arguably the best golf course in Canada, hosting the Canadian Open. Apparently the idea met little resistance, which is surprising considering the NIMBY attitude of many in Toronto, and the notion that numerous roads would have to be closed in order to hold the tournament.
Only about 50 residents bothered to show up at the public forum on the event, which is hardly a groundswell of opinion pro or con.
About 50 residents sat in a stifling auditorium at Richview Collegiate to hear about the idea of the Canadian Open returning to the city of Toronto for the first time in 42 years. Only a few people asked questions, mostly about the traffic impact on their neighbourhoods. And most of those interviewed after the hour-long meeting ended said they’re in favour.
“It was quite tame,” said Toronto councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby. “It was incredible, really.”
St. George’s board of directors has endorsed the plan but members of the exclusive club will vote on the idea between June 17 and June 24. The plan still has to go to Toronto city council but Lindsay Luby said it’s only an information item and isn’t slated for a vote.
“We have approvals from various departments already,” she said. “I don’t see anything to vote on.”
Officials say Islington Avenue would likely be closed from Eglinton Avenue south to The Kingsway to accommodate the tournament. TTC buses could be rerouted to a neighbourhood just west of Islington, but one lane would be kept open for emergency vehicles. Visitors, up to 100,000 over a week’s time, likely would be bused in from distant parking lots.
The club still has to vote on the matter, but I see this as having huge potential. St. George’s is a great course and would actually be quite viable for spectators. Sure there are logistical issues (range, anyone?), but they aren’t insurmountable. And the truth is it would be the best course to host the Canadian Open since, well, St. George’s in 1968. And given its proximity to Toronto, the Canadian Open could become a real celebration, with lots of other events surrounding it in the city. I also bet this would help the RCGA raise corporate support to unprecedented levels.
Now how about a rotation — St. George’s, Hamilton, Shaughnessy, London Hunt, Westmount, Royal Montreal and the National. Now that might actually attract a few players over time and help cement the Open as a significant event once more.