The Story of Us

Initially, the TLGTA was associated with the “Out & Out” group. In the spring of 1984, Jean Paul Bernier and Greg Baeker (our founding fathers) held a meeting at the 519 Community Centre for anyone interested in joining a tennis club & decided to host it on Saturday mornings at Ramsden Park (the Ramsden Park courts were built in the 1920′s originally as a training facility for the University of Toronto Women’s Tennis Team). This group was known as the “The Racquettes”. The Racquettes would play tennis Saturday morning, then break for lunch and go to such places as the Rosedale Diner or other places north on Yonge St., AND then return to play until the early afternoon. (Such energy!). That first year, there were about 30 members.

The Toronto Lesbian & Gay Tennis Association (TLGTA) officially came into being in 1990 and joined the Gay and Lesbian Tennis Alliance (GLTA) in 1991. The TLGTA now has over 200 members.  In 1997, we moved our club location was to the Forest Hill Tennis Club, afterwhich we moved back to Ramsden Park. Currently, we are at the Thorncliffe Park Tennis Club.  We’ve also expanded our activities to include competitive tennis ladders, team tennis, and tennis tournaments.

Some other colourful facts:

  • In the 1980′s, members of “The Raquettes” first participated in the international gay tournaments that were to become the basis of the GLTA. Spearheaded by Rob Young, we would send quite a vocal and rambunctious group down to Florida to play in the Fort Lauderdale tournament. Now each year during the Victoria Day Holiday Weekend, the TLGTA plays host to the the Canadian Gay Open (CGO) which attracts players from all over the world. The CGO began in 1995 and has been held annually ever since its inception.
  • Our first ever “Bette Davis Cup” took place in November 2001 and we attracted an attentive crowd which witnessed our male members “whoop it up” in female attire!
  • Former Ontario Attorney-General Ian Scott was a member of our club in 1985.
  • Our gossip columnist Hedda Hopperopoulos (a derivative of “Hedda Hopper”) started her gossip column in 1989 and also presented her infamous “Hedda Awards” from 1990 until her retirement in 1996, recognizing outstanding achievement in many unique categories such as Bad Line Calls (Helen Keller Award), Bedroom Ambassador (Maria Von Tramp Award) and Champion Lush (Martini Navratilova Award). During Hedda’s absence (she did come back in full form in 1999), awards were given out and they were called the “Non-Heddas”. We’ve had a “Bitch of the Year” award since the beginning of the club and now, a permanent trophy (recognizing proficiency in bitching recorded from 1995 onward) was established in 2001.
  • 1990 was the first year we had a sexy B&W swimsuit issue published in our newsletter) featuring some tantilizing members showing off their very best assets!
  • The TLGTA also took part in Toronto Gay Pride Festivities throughout the 1990′s.
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