St. Andrew's Golf Course

Pages from the Toronto Star

Our area gets its name from the St. Andrew's Golf Course which used to be here (which in turn was named after the Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland). The entrance driveway was off what is now called Old Yonge Street (at the time, it was Yonge Street, which didn't extend through the valley), where The Links Road currently begins.

This article (click the "+" sign at the top to zoom in to read it, or view the cropped section below) from the February 13, 1931 issue of the Toronto Star has the headline St. Andrew's Golf Spending $75,000 on New Clubhouse, Ambitious Spring Program Calls for New Course and Landscaping. The article notes: "Permanent features of the St. Andrew's development will be the bridle paths and the golf club. Two courses were in operation last year, a nine-hole course for beginners and an eighteen-hole course for experienced players. It is now proposed to make the beginner's course the first nine holes of a full championship length course and work in nine holes of the old course to create a new 100-acre course with a distance of approximately 6,600 yards." Apparently the plan was to reduce the overall course by nine holes and use the proceeds from this land sale to fund the construction of the new club house and the landscaping.

The history of the site is stated as: "At the time of its purchase St. Andrew's Estates at York Mills covered 375 acres, had a frontage of 1,300 feet on Yonge St. and extended easterly to Bayview Ave., where the frontage now totals 4,000 feet. Thirty acres have already been sold to Upper Canada College as the site for their new buildings and several parcels have been sold as sites for large residences. Among those who have built here are Lee McCarthy, who erected a $115,000 home; James Adams, son-in-law of Sir William Mackenzie, who built a $90,000 residence; Frank McCarthy, barrister, who erected a $100,000 home, and Jocelyn Davidson, architect, who has put up a $90,000 residence."

The street naming is described: "In keeping with the tradition of St. Andrew's, all thoroughfares will bear names of Scottish origin, such as Morris Ave. (after Tom Morris, famous professional at the old St. Andrew's course in Scotland), Fifeshire Blvd., Glengarry Rd., and such other Scottish derivatives as are not duplicated in the city."

The club house is described: "The old Cameron home, now used as a club house, will be remodelled as a private residence. An old brick structure, later surfaced in stucco, this was erected over a century ago by Colonel Cameron, British army officer, and is said to have been the over-night stopping place of William Lyon Mackenzie during the rebellion of 1837. A much larger club house, complete with swimming pool will replace the old structure. Architectural plans provide for a large entrance hall and rotunda, a lounge, large indoor swimming pool occupying the centre of the structure, a grill room and flanking corridors containing men's and women's locker rooms. A separate wing will contain the heating plant and caddies' quarters."


This article (continued here, cropped sections below) from the June 22, 1937 issue of the Toronto Star has the headline Jews Not Surprised As They Are Banned by St. Andrew's Club. The article begins: "The banning of Jewish players from the pay-as-you-play course at St. Andrew's Golf club does not surprise prominent Jewish citizens who to-day said that Jews are not admitted to membership in any private Toronto golf club. 'There is a club at Weston called the Oakdale Golf club which is for Jewish players only,' H.M. Swartz of the Jewish Daily Journal, told The Star."

The article continues: "James J. Reid, secretary of the club, denied that there was a sign at the entrance of the links banning Jewish players. 'We put up a sign in the locker room and one in the office,' he declared. The signs, which were printed read, 'After June 20th this club will be operated for Gentile patronage only.' We have no Jews among club members. All those who came here did so on the pay-as-you-play basis. We have several hundred Gentiles who play here regularly, and the club is about ten years old. The sign, which was put up Saturday, is only in line with the policy of other clubs in the city."


This article (cropped sections below) from the August 28, 1937 issue of the Toronto Star has the headline St. Andrew's Layout Is Big Test for Golf Stars, Plenty of Length With Wind Adding Extra Yardage at Times—Canadian Open Draws Stars for Big Event, Sept. 9 - 11. The article begins: "It won't be long now before the big shots of golfdom start whacking away at the St. Andrew's golf course, shooting for the Canadian open championship and the Seagram gold cup. Thus a bit of chatter about the layout might be appropriate enough with the greatest golfers in North America due to tramp over the Yonge St. layout Sept. 9, 10, 11, with an internatinal team match tossed in for good measure on the seventh of the month."

The article continues: "For the most part the St. Andrew's course is laid out around a dried-up river bed and thus natural hazards are very much in evidence. These have been utilized to excellent advantage. Furthermore, due to the fact that quite a number of fairways are on the plateaus above the old river basin and that St. Andrew's is located on high ground, north of Toronto, it gets little protection from the wind."

The article includes an annotated aerial view of the golf course, entitled: "Aeroplane View of St. Andrew's Golf Course, Showing the 18 Holes and Yardage for Championship". The view is to the north-east, with Old Yonge Street in the foreground. The Club House is where the apartment buildings west of the Links Plaza are now. The golf course is narrow towards the west end, extending from what is now Lower Links Road at the south, and up to Lord Seaton Road at the west end, and up to Sheppard Avenue East at the east end. To the east, the golf course extended to Bayview Avenue. A current Google Earth view is here.


These photographs (cropped section below) from the June 12, 1957 issue of the Toronto Star has the headline Star Girls Show Skill On St. Andrew's Fairways in Golf Tournement. The centre caption is: "Fine weather and excellent fairways combined to make The Star ladies' golf tourament at St. Andrew's Golf and Country club a rousing success yesterday. This group includes only a few of the contestants in the nine-hole contest. An afternoon of golf was followed by dinner and a presentation of prizes"

The left caption is: "Barbara Jesson, left, and Ruth Reed make a careful selection of clubs and balls for a particularly difficult section of the couse at The Star ladies' golf tournament which was held ysterday at St. Andrew's Golf and Country club"


St. Andrew's Golf club was also mentioned in this June 21, 1972 article about the 163-acre 18-hole York Downs Golf Club (which was on the east side of Bathurst Street, south of Sheppard Avenue West). When this closed, it was to be developed to houses, but the City and Province were able to buy it and save it as a park. The article shows some of the difficult decisions and discussions that led to this good news. The best quote in the article is the complaining by the developer who never got to develop the Golf Course, who said: "But I'll lay you two-to-one odds on $100,000 that there won't be more than 100 people a day on the average using York Downs when it opens as a park." Anyone who visits there summer or winter will see that he would have lost that bet every day of the year.