History of Glen Abbey Golf Course

The world famous Glen Abbey Golf Course has hosted the Canadian Open golf tournament over 25 times throughout it's rich history.

 

In 1814, the land on which Fairway Hills and Glen Abbey Golf Club stands was granted to King's College, the precursor to the University of Toronto.  In the 1930's, Toronto mining executive André Doorman created a 350 acre country estate which he called RayDor (ré-Dor).  He built a large stone manor and lived there for 16 years with his family.  This lavish stone manor is now referred to as the Golf House and is still attached to the headquarters of the Royal Canadian Golf Association and the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.  It sits on the upper part of the present course looking down into the deep wooded ravine cut over the centuries by the Sixteen Mile Creek making it's way towards Lake Ontario.

 

In 1953 the property was sold to the Jesuit Fathers of Upper Canada for $253 000.  The lavish manor house became a monastery and the surrounding land was farmed.  The land was renamed Loyola Retreat.

 

Clearstream Development Ltd. purchased the property in 1963.  The property was converted into a prestigious gentleman's club called the Upper Canada Golf Club. An 18 hole golf course was constructed and named Glen Abbey as a memorial of the tenure of Jesuit Fathers. What was once a lavish stone manor was transformed into a clubhouse. Club memberships were given to those with an income greater than $25,000. Eventually the club failed and the golf course was closed.

 

Interestingly in 1969 the 325 acre country club was turned into a ski resort and retained the name Glen Abbey. It was fully equipped with a T-bar and floodlights and a slope with a vertical drop of 140 feet!

 

In 1974, developer and a golf enthusiast, Rod McIsaac bought the property through his company Great Northern Capital. The Royal Canadian Golf Association( RCGA) also became involved and decided that Glen Abbey would become a permanent home for the Canadian Open. A year later, in 1975, the RCGA moved its headquarters to Glen Abbey and established a golf museum and the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame. The following year the RCGA hired golf legend Jack Nicklaus to design a new golf course. In 1977 Glen Abbey hosted its first Canadian Open.

 

The RCGA purchased Glen Abbey in 1983.  In 1986, Glen Orchard Homes developed an exclusive community of executive homes nestled to the west of the Glen Abbey Golf Club.  By 1988 Phase I was completed with 104 homes.  Phase III was completed in 2003 and 140 residences currently exist on the property.  

 

The RCGA sold the property to Clublink in 1999 and since then, Clublink has hosted many successful Canadian Open's.  

 

RayDor Manor continues to grace the property as do the other structures of historical significance. Glen Abbey continues to be an important landmark and a rich part of Oakville's history.