History Walk – Canada’s First Golf Museum

Canada's 1st Golf Museum
Canada's 1st Golf Museum
Canada’s 1st Golf Museum

On Monday, July 3rd, 1967, the Canadian Golf Museum and Historical Institute at Kingsway Park Golf Club (Aylmer, Quebec) was officially opened by Canada’s Centennial Commissioner John Fisher.

The Canadian Golf Museum was a dream of W. Lyn Stewart, owner of the Glen Lea and Kingsway Park Golf Clubs, since he visited St. Andrews during World War 2 and his private golf antiquities collection was housed in the Museum.

Of significant note is the restored historical stone building on Mountain Road, circa 1812, that became the home of the Canadian Golf Museum. Mr. Stewart was quoted in a Golf Canada, June, 1975 article – “When I first saw the building that we’re using for the museum, it immediately took me back to St. Andrews … it’s old and historic.”

The Museum showcased the evolution of golf clubs with examples of 19th century clubs (long-headed wooden play clubs, graded spoons of various angles and lofts featuring a Willie Park leather-faced spoon); 2oth century clubs showing improved irons and hickory shafts; and a third case showing examples of golf club development, from the wooden-headed period of the late 19th century to then present day matched sets of 14 clubs, including some unusual clubs of the 20’s and 30’s.

Kingsway Museum 2
Inside the golf museum at Kingsway Park Golf Club

Another display featured the evolution of the golf ball from the ‘feathery’ (1830), the ‘gutty’ (1848), the rubber core ball (1898), to the present day high compression ball. In that group was a wooden ball improvised in North Africa during World War 1.

Many old prints and autographed photographs adorned the walls of the Golf Museum and Clubhouse. A library housing an extensive collection of early golf books could also be found on site.

Alas, The Canadian Golf Museum and Historical Institute is no more.

When Mr. Stewart sold his Kingsway Golf Club, he closed the Museum in 1992. His collection of golf collectibles was acquired by the Canadian Museum of Civilization between 1993 and 1996.

On April 18, 2002, an exhibition of Mr. Stewart’s Collection was put on display and “A Day of Golf at The Canadian Museum of Civilization” was held.

The golf collection that Mr. Stewart collected can now be visited digitally at this link.

by Joe McLean