The Lagoon City Yacht Club was the brainchild of Andrew Zolt, a Hungarian engineer who came to America to escape the political situation in his country. Being a keen sailor, he brought over plans for a wooden dinghy called a “Pirate”. Several were built and sailed by the club members. In 1964, the Lagoon City Yacht Club began to function, with its membership consisting mainly of lnducon employees. Prior to 1976, the Commodore of record was Dick Rolls who headed up the real estate operation in Lagoon City. A hastily called meeting in 1976, Dick appointed Gerry Cavanagh, as Commodore, George Hirsch as Vice Commodore, Pauline Hirschas Secretary and Ernie Wood as Treasurer. Thus began the formal functions of the Club.
We met in a building containing a snack bar, run at one time by Gabby Thorn and her then husband, Stuart Chan. This building was sited where the Hotel is located today. The Executive held no formal meetings, but contented itself with conversations and the odd newsletter. At election time, the Commodore phoned some members and asked them to serve on the Executive. George and Beryl Bevan were members at this time as well as their children, John, Bill and Anne. Member’s boats were hauled up for winter storage on the side of the canal near the present tennis court. At that time the waterway extended only to a point just to the west of where the marina property now stands.
There were no permanent marks for the triangular races. Somebody took out three portable flagsticks, set them out and retrieved them after the race. There was no committee boat. The Bevans, in their Folkboat “Perigrin”, would keep track of the starting time and John would shout out the remaining seconds for the start. When a committee boat was finally acquired, thanks to Dick and Dianne Tyssen, a single shot shotgun was also purchased to be used as a starting signal. The shotgun turned out to be a lethal weapon, even though it was loaded with blanks. Holes appeared in sails, another one in the deck of the committee boat, etc. One year it was stolen and never replaced.
Dick Tyssen maintained the handicap system, which was the Portsmouth formula as PHRF did not exist. There were races in some really wild weather. In those days, a 22ft Chrysler was considered a big boat. The Barrie to Lagoon City race was run for about thirty years and very good turnouts of twenty or more boats were quite common. It was discontinued some time back.
From a small group of fifteen members in 1976, the club grew to 72 in 1981. The first semi-permanent clubhouse was unit number 32 at One Paradise Blvd., courtesy of Inducon. From there it was moved to a detached house, which was called The Pine Tree Club and shared with the LOCA. There were numerous meetings to discuss the building of a permanent home for the Club. It was felt essential, if the Club were to enlarge its membership. One idea was to buy a barge and somehow bootleg power and water to it. Andrew Zolt, offered the land on which we were storing the boats, in return for the enrolment fees for the first s -many members, sponsored another idea. Before these schemes could be put into play, Andrew came up with a much grander idea; to build a combination LCCA / LCYC clubhouse at our present location. After long, and at times, heated negotiations between the two organizations, a monetary figure was settled upon and construction got underway.
Finally, on Friday July 12′”, 1985, the new building was ready and Andrew Zolt presented the keys to Dorothy Holman, President of LCCA and Bill Weatherhead, Commodore of LCYC. It was a great day. The official opening was 3:00 P.M. Saturday. Members were in blazers and whites, boats were flag-bedecked, and a general air of belonging and camaraderie existed. It was a feeling that still pervades today.
The year 1989 was the twenty-fifth anniversary of the club’s founding. This was celebrated in a gala fashion. A marquee tent was erected and soon couples were dancing and spirits were flowing freely. A 25 Anniversary crest was designed and a Commodore’s Reception was held in honour of the occasion.
Early in April 1992, an idea, long discussed was finally put into effect. The late Ross Creech, Rear Commodore of Sail, pulled together a plan to run a Junior Sail Program. Ten young students attended the first class; titled “White Sail 1″ The first session went very well except towards the end. A sudden squall developed and the kids were busy going through the capsize routine” They insisted on being towed in.
It was also in 1992 that the LCYC began to actively support the Terry Fox Run with a refreshment stand and a donation.
The Club has been involved ever since. The Club celebrated its 30 Anniversary in 1994. Again there were celebrations, with Anniversary ribbons and general festivities.
The year 1995 saw the building of the addition to the clubhouse, financed by both the LCCA and the LCYC. It was then that the veranda was constructed. It was like having another room for the Club.
An extra entrance at the north side of the building gives easy access to the facilities. There are 30 mooring stations in the lagoon fronting the Club House, complete with hydro and water as well as easy access to Club House amenities.
In addition to the Junior Sailing Program, the Club subscribed to the BOOM program, run by the CYA, for youngsters with no sailing experience. They supplied instructors and Optimist dinghies. The enthusiasm shown by the parents was worth the price of admission. It was like bumper cars. Large yachts stopped completely in the waterway as the kids bounced off walls, one another and anything else that got in their way. The boys were splashing the girls, and the girls were screaming. Oh boy! Some parents even jumped into Lasers and joined the fun.
Over the years the members of Lagoon City Yacht Club have worked diligently to keep the Club going and to maintain its integrity and friendliness. Each year, the Commodore has been a leader and mover who epitomises the spirit and enthusiasm of the members. Current members owe much to the past Commodores.
Over the years, the fleet has grown to larger and larger boats and the Club is being run in a very business-like manner. In 2014 the club celebrated its 50th anniversary.
It is by all measures a joy to belong to the Club and the Club is an asset to Lagoon City.