Manitoba Organization: Lakewood Country Club
The Lakewood Country Club at the western edge of Delta Marsh was founded in March 1909 by Winnipeg businessman Fred Brydges. Brydges acquired the property and erected a building that he called Buddakhana. He soon decided to organize his friends into a club to help offset the costs, which became the Lakewood Country Club.
Brydges married a divorcée from the wealthy Allen shipping family of Montreal and was in the real estate and insurance businesses. He enlisted William Martin, president of the Manitoba Gypsum Company, as a founding member and the club’s secretary. The club’s constitution restricted membership to a maximum of 12 and the original members were literally a who’s who of the rich and powerful of Winnipeg society, including such notables as lumber merchant (and later Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba) Sir Douglas Cameron, grain merchant George A. Carruthers, wholesale merchant John Galt, realtor Fred W. Heubach (responsible for the development of the Tuxedo suburb), hardware merchant F. Morton Morse, lawyer John H. Munson, politician Robert Rogers, and investment bankers Sir Augustus M. Nanton, Hugh F. Osler, and William Whyte.
Through the years, hefty annual fees maintained the club’s exclusivity, and meant that numerous prominent Canadians (and the odd American or Briton) were counted among its members, including a Canadian Supreme Court Chief Justice (R. G. Brian Dickson), a Manitoba premier (Sterling R. Lyon), the President of Canadian Pacific Railway (William A. Mather), the President of Ford Canada (Rhys M. Sale), another Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba (W. J. “Jack” McKeag), the President of Federal Grain (George H. Sellers), and George T. Richardson of James Richardson and Sons. Today’s club members include retired chief executives from such noted corporations as Cargill and Great West Life. Ironically, one of the club members, Conrad S. Riley, was a grandson of Robert T. Riley, who began a successful business career in the 1880s by draining Big Grass Marsh, west of Lake Manitoba near Langruth. The restoration of Big Grass Marsh in the 1930s was Ducks Unlimited Canada’s first major wetland project, funded by duck hunters.
After the Lakewood Country Club was formed, Brydges’ original lodge was supplemented by outbuildings for additional accommodation and storage of gear. In 1905 the club employed James and Mary Kissack as caretakers, who lived on site and looked after the members until retiring in 1946.
A long narrow hallway was constructed between the main lodge and the kitchen building. In 1999, a bell was installed so members could summon the staff from the kitchen, but over-use of the bell resulted in it being disconnected to avoid having the cook quit her job. The original lodge survived, in increasingly decrepit condition, until being replaced in 2007.
Unlike the Wendigo Club, which owned a relatively small tract of marsh land, the Lakewood Club acquired large areas of the westernmost part of Delta Marsh, owning some 2,600 acres by the 1980s. The Lakewood Club remains active and continues to employ a married couple as caretakers who live onsite.
Delta: A Prairie Marsh and Its People by Glen Suggett, Gordon Goldsborough, and the Delta Marsh History Group, 2015.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 18 March 2023