Historic Sites of Manitoba: Norwood Golf Club (156 Lyndale Drive, Winnipeg)
This site in the Norwood neighbourhood of Winnipeg was once home to the 45-acre Norwood Golf Course. Bordered on the west and south by Lyndale Drive, on the east by Birchdale Avenue, on the northeast by Highfield Street, and on the north by Ashdale Avenue, its origins trace back to the Winnipeg Golf Club when, in 1894, a course was built hurriedly under the supervision of John Harrison on land rented from the Norwood Improvement Company (NIC). In less than two weeks, members were playing on its fairways. A formal opening ceremony took place on 21 July 1894 with a Miss Scarth taking the first drive.
The site was not an especially attractive one. Years later, club member George Wilson would reminisce: “Nature did not deal kindly with Norwood in the distribution of favors; no beauty spots scattered here—no embellishments of any kind. Bleak, bare, flat, cheerless, even austere in aspect. The course [was] exposed to the burning rays of the summer sun, the pitiless rains of heaven, and the buffeting winds of the prairie.” The club used the site until the fall of that year, when it was decided to relocate operations to land acquired south of Portage Avenue, backing onto Mulvey School. An 18-hole course operated there for 12 years until the property was sold and turned into Happyland.
Some members of the Winnipeg Golf Club quit to join the newly established St. Charles Country Club. For a time, remaining members golfed at the old St. John’s rifle range. When some members met to discuss asset disposal, the membership rose up and reinvigorated the organization. They returned to their roots at the Norwood site and hauled the original clubhouse, a bright yellow cottage built around 1896, from Happyland along the frozen river during the winter. The land was rented from the NIC at a cost of $200 and, in 1910, a new clubhouse was constructed. In 1914, the Club, having started work on the Alcrest Golf Course in Charleswood, moved to the Pine Ridge Golf Course at Birds Hill. A portion of the membership remained at Norwood and separated formally from the founding club on 23 March 1914, henceforth operating as the Norwood Golf Club. From 1929 into the early 1930s, the site was considered for development of a municipal airport, in part due to large acquisitions of land by C. J. Mills and Company. The plans never came to fruition and the site remained a golf course until the 1940s when it was acquired and developed by the London Life Insurance Company.
Residential development in the area began in earnest in 1945 when, in April, the St. Boniface City Council was presented with the Metropolitan Plan of Greater Winnipeg (MPGW). It proposed a new subdivision, breaking from the traditional grid road layout, and included space for a school (later built as Nordale School) and community centre. By May 1946, the St. Boniface Property, Assessment, and Building Committee (PABC) approved the MPGW.
In April 1948, the PABC proposed naming the subdivision “Forest Park.” The idea was rejected by the City Council on the grounds that the site did not have enough trees to justify the name. Instead, Alderman Henri Boisselle suggested Lyndale Park, named for the river-aligning roadway that flanked the community, with other new nearby roads named for various tree species. The site plan made provision for some 200 low-rent houses for military veterans, but no houses were to be built on the riverbank side of Lyndale Drive so as to retain public access. House construction began later that year.
The golf clubhouse, unoccupied after around 1947 and unsuccessfully offered for sale, fell victim to repeated arson attempts and vandalism. In 1950, it was used briefly during a catastrophic city-wide flood. Deemed a fire hazard by the St. Boniface Fire Chief, the structure was intentionally burned to the ground on 22 June 1950 to clear the way for improved flood protection measures. With no vestiges remaining, the closest connection to the site’s golf history lies in the grassy beltway along Lyndale Drive, now a public park.
Photos & Maps
“Golf,” Winnipeg Daily Tribune, 14 July 1894, page 4.
“Winnipeg Golf Club,” Winnipeg Daily Tribune, 16 July 1894, page 4.
“Opening of the golf links to-day,” Winnipeg Daily Tribune, 21 July 1894, page 5.
“Winnipeg Golf Club,” Winnipeg Daily Tribune, 23 July 1894, page 4.
“New golf grounds,” Winnipeg Daily Tribune, 13 August 1894, page 4.
“Winnipeg Golf Club,” Winnipeg Tribune, 3 April 1906, page 9.
“Golf Club meets,” Winnipeg Tribune, 4 April 1906, page 6.
“Winnipeg Golf Club,” Winnipeg Tribune, 18 April 1906, page 6.
“Annual of Golf Club,” Winnipeg Tribune, 27 April 1907, page 6.
“Golf,” Winnipeg Tribune, 8 August 1908, page 8.
“Winnipeg Golf Club will have new links,” Winnipeg Tribune, 29 October 1908, page 7.
“The Winnipeg Golf Club, Limited,” Winnipeg Tribune, 5 August 1909, page 4.
“Golfers to stay on Norwood links,” Winnipeg Tribune, 10 April 1913, page 6.
“Norwood and Hunt golfers amalgamate,” Winnipeg Tribune, 10 July 1919, page 15.
“C. J. Mills buys 75 Norwood lots,” Winnipeg Tribune, 17 November 1927, page 13.
“Airport scheme in St. Boniface is not settled,” Winnipeg Tribune, 15 May 1929, page 3.
“Airways will move to new offices Thursday,” Winnipeg Tribune, 30 May 1934, page 20.
“St. Boniface may subdivide Norwood Course,” Winnipeg Tribune, 9 May 1946, page 15.
“Modern residential area,” Winnipeg Tribune, 14 May 1946, page 4.
[Photo caption, area development plan], Winnipeg Tribune, 14 May 1946, page 4.
“Homes to cover Golf Club site,” Winnipeg Tribune, 19 March 1947, page 15.
“St. Boniface boosts Children’s Aid rates,” Winnipeg Tribune, 27 April 1948, page 9.
“Option let on Norwood Golf Course home sites,” Winnipeg Tribune, 12 May 1947, page 11.
“New housing project starts,” Winnipeg Tribune, 30 August 1947, page 13.
“Ottawa O.K.’s 200 low rent vets’ homes for St. Boniface,” Winnipeg Tribune, 21 May 1948, page 17.
“New integrated housing development in Lyndale Park, Norwood,” Winnipeg Free Press, 25 September 1948, page 30.
“Norwood reveals plans for new $250,000 school,” Winnipeg Free Press, 5 November 1948, page 3.
“St. Boniface OK’s $250,000 bylaw,” Winnipeg Tribune, 13 November 1948, page 19.
“St. Boniface raps Province for inaction during flood,” Winnipeg Free Press, 2 May 1950, page 6.
[Photo captions], Winnipeg Free Press, 11 May 1950, page 3.
“Old clubhouse goes up in smoke,” Winnipeg Free Press, 22 June 1950, page 1.
“First golf club here was ‘cow pasture’,” Winnipeg Free Press, 30 October 1961, page 41.
Henderson’s Winnipeg and Brandon Directories, Peel’s Prairie Provinces, University of Alberta Libraries.
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.
Page revised: 27 December 2015
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