The history of tennis at Whiteoaks Park began with the founding of a tennis club in Lorne Park in 1958. A court at Clarkson School was used, but proved insufficient for the 27 members of the club. A formal request was made by its founder, Mike Wills, to the Township to construct public courts. In the winter of 1958, the lands necessary for the development of Whiteoaks Park were acquired by the Township and plans were made to include tennis from the start. On August 5th, 1959, Whiteoaks Park Tennis Club was officially formed.
Over the past 50 years of its operations, many people have enjoyed hitting winners, won and lost matches, and friendships have been created. I imagine that over this period Whiteoaks Park Tennis Club has witnessed millions of double faults, thousands of aces, and hundreds of bad line calls. These impressive “statistics” are only part of our proud story.
"Whiteoaks has grown to be the largest community tennis club in Mississauga with over 1,000 members. "
Whiteoaks has grown to be the largest community tennis club in Mississauga with over 1,000 members. It has provided an opportunity for countless community members to enjoy the sport of tennis at a reasonable cost. The complex of 6 courts and a clubhouse are of an extremely high standard, and the envy of many other clubs. There is also nothing more pleasant than playing tennis in a beautiful setting like Whiteoaks.
As in any community tennis club, continuation and success is driven by the volunteers who are prepared to fill the various voluntary positions which are essential to the operation of the club. I would like to acknowledge the work of all the committee predecessors who undertook the myriad of tasks involved in establishing and running a successful club over the last 50 years. It has been their work that has laid the foundation for the success of the club today. I would also like to acknowledge the City of Mississauga and our Sponsors who have provided great support and assistance to the club.
- The founding of Whiteoaks Park Tennis Club on August 5th, 1959 was a happy occasion for its first President, Mike Wills, his family and some of the other 41 members who had joined that summer. On hand was Mr.Holmes, Chairman of the Township of Toronto Recreation Commission, who officially opened the court. The day’s events included some exhibition matches between members and a presentation of prizes to junior members. Fifty years later, the Club is still going strong and is an integral part of the twin communities of Clarkson and Lorne Park. The Whiteoaks area is the middle ground between the two older villages and has emerged as a moniker for the two community subdivisions that had been known as the Birchwood community and Fairfields.
- By the summer of 1960, drawings from City records show that the second of three courts had been added to Whiteoaks and moreover, that there was a designated area for a proposed clubhouse.
- Recollections of the 1960’s by early members include the season ending club tournaments at Whiteoaks when everyone would gather to have picnics in the park and to watch the games, or the strawberry fields still in the park from the Terry farm. There is in fact a tradition of strawberries in Clarkson going back to early in the 20th century when Clarkson had been dubbed the “Strawberry Capital of Ontario”. Strawberries are still celebrated at Whiteoaks Tennis Club in conjunction with the annual Wimbledon Breakfast social event in July.
- The City began hiring tennis coaches to go around to the new clubs and provide lessons. The practice of having itinerant tennis coaches continued through most of the 1960’s at Whiteoaks.
- The first full-time tennis coach at Whiteoaks, hired in 1968, was Bob Wood, a nationally ranked junior member. Later Wood would rise to important positions with the OTA and became head of player development with Tennis Canada between 1988 and 1996.
- By the end of the 1960’s, membership at Whiteoaks had reached about 450 but with the beginning of the Open Era in 1968, the popularity of tennis was such that Whiteoaks experienced tremendous growth.
- In 1972, with the help of Ward Councilor Lou Parsons, Whiteoaks got the go-ahead for three new courts, bringing the total to six courts for its then 1200 members.
- As early as 1972, there was discussion around building a clubhouse for Whiteoaks. A meeting was held in 1973 but the costs were deemed to be out of line and the first proposal was rejected. By 1976 and 1977 with membership at an all-time high, the need for a clubhouse at Whiteoaks was actively debated. After much debate in the neighbourhood and with City Council who had no firm policies on such matters, the decision was made to give Whiteoaks the green light on the construction of its log cabin clubhouse. This design was chosen by Whiteoaks’ executives to help it blend in with its natural surroundings and to be of no cost to the city.
- In 1978, with the help of a Wintario grant, the club was built entirely by members under the direction of Eric Bonnyman, an experienced contractor and tennis fan. Upon completion, the clubhouse has become the property of the City but would continue to be managed by club volunteers.
- In the late 1970’s, Whiteoaks hired Harry Chamourian as club pro and also began hosting the Peel Regional High School tennis tournaments, an event Chamourian would later organize as a volunteer/teacher.
- Membership peaked in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s at over 1800 members, making Whiteoaks the largest community club in Mississauga, a rank that persists to this day. Some of the highlights from the records of Whiteoaks executive meetings from the 1970’s include discussions of the Club’s year-end parties which were held. In 1972, it was reported that over 200 people had attended the “Tennis Ball Bounce” at the Legion in Port Credit.
- Club pros hired throughout the 1980’s included another local teacher, Dennis Yates and his highly ranked daughter, Jane, as well as Jeff McCarroll who was on loan from the Ontario Racquets Club where he is now the General Manager.
- There has always been a certain amount of overlapping membership and a friendly relationship between Whiteoaks and the ORC. From 1985 to the mid-90s ORC was hosting the Canadian Nationals. Whiteoaks was being used regularly by the competitors as a practice site.
- Throughout the 1990’s, the popularity of tennis declined somewhat (the Tiger Woods’ effect?) and Whiteoaks membership numbers dipped down to the 600 and 700 range. In 1992, the club began sending out flyers to the area to help increase membership. As a promotional event, Whiteoaks also started hosting the tennis portion of the Mississauga Senior Games.
- Courts 1, 2 and 3 were reconstructed in 1993; Court 4, 5 and 6 were reconstructed in 1995.
- Starting in 1994 and carried through to 1996, substantial upgrades and renovation was done to the clubhouse. This included the cedar deck, 3 custom-made picnic tables, 6 flower boxes, relocation and the addition of fence to provide additional security for the clubhouse.
- The key and lock system was introduced in 1996.
- All six courts were resurfaced in 1997.
- Membership gradually increased in the late 90s in part by maintaining low membership fees, upgrading of facilities and offering a full program of round robins, house leagues, inter-club teams and social events. By the turn of the century, membership crossed over the 1000 mark again, a number we still maintain today.
- The kitchen was renovated in 2004.
- In 2005, all six courts were resurfaced.
- One of the highlights during the middle of this decade was email communications and the use of the website to integrate with club activities.
- In 2006, an ADT security system was installed to resolve the long-time vandalism problem at the clubhouse.
- Whiteoaks obtained a funding from The Ontario Trillium Foundation to rebuild the practice wall in 2007.
- In 2009, Whiteoaks is celebrating its 50th Anniversary.
- 2016: Completion of the new Whiteoaks Park Tennis Club website.
What people are saying
"Joining the Whiteoaks park tennis club has been a great experience for me and my family. We have had many great moments here over the years and have participated in many great programs. The location creates a perfect atmosphere to play throughout the summer. What sets this club apart from many others is the great community of people that love the game of tennis. We have met many friends through the programs and socials."