ADA MACKENZIE (1891 - 1973)
Founder of Ladies' Golf Club of Toronto 1924
Ada Mackenzie was born in Toronto in 1891 She began playing golf at the age of 10, encouraged by her parents who both loved the game. At 27, Ada captured the first of her five Canadian "Open" Amateur Championships and her five Canadian "Closed" Amateur Championships. She won several Toronto Golf Club ladies' championships and was soon acknowledged as one of the best female golfers in North America and England.
Ada was the driving force behind the founding of LGCT. Her competitive spirit and great ability led Ada to international play in the U.S. and Britain. It was during her visits to Britain that Ada learned of clubs founded specifically for women players. Given the difficult circumstances women, including great talents like Ada, faced in gaining access to practice and playing times in the early decades of the last century, the concept of a club designed to meet women’s needs was very appealing. It was a dream Ada saw fulfilled in 1924 when Ladies’ opened.
It was, however, not an easy road. The first step was to find a location for the club. This turned out to be a farm estate located in Thornhill, then a long way from Toronto and accessible via Radial Cars. The estate was known as “Brooklands” and was owned at the time by Strafford Watson. The selling price agreed on was $85,000 but then the question became how to raise those funds. A determined Ada obtained the support of several prominent women and a few men of the day. They contributed by purchasing 30 bonds at a price of $1,000 each with the proviso that 300 memberships were to be sold for $100 each by the closing date for the sale of the property.
Actual play at LGCT began with the official opening on August 23, 1926 with a match between Ada Mackenzie and Helen Paget of Royal Ottawa Club. Ada won that match and the opening heralded a new beginning for women’s golf in the Toronto area.
In 1933 she won every major golf championship in Canada and was named female athlete of the year by the Canadian Press. Ada continued to play well into her senior years, winning eight Canadian Ladies' Senior's Golf Association Championships and the Ontario Seniors title. She played her last competitive game in 1969 at the age of 78. Ada Mackenzie was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1955.