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History Walk: What Happened To The Hillcrest Golf & Country Club?

Part of the design for the Hillcrest G&CC, Gatineau, Quebec by Stanley Thompson

It’s quite understandable that you have never heard of the Hillcrest Golf and Country Club, but it was in the news in 1923 and 1924 according to ads and articles in the Ottawa Citizen Archives.

Imagine a twenty-seven-hole layout on 180 acres of land on the northern edge of the Royal Ottawa Golf Club property in Gatineau, Quebec, including a gentlemen’s 18-hole championship course and a 9-hole course for ladies.

Stanley Thompson letter to the Hillcrest G&CC Founders

Did I mention that the design layout was produced by Messrs. Stanley Thompson & Co., Limited, Expert Golf and Landscape Engineers of Toronto?

Included within the prospectus in the July 4, 1923 edition of the Ottawa Citizen was an endorsement by 8-time Canadian Amateur Champion and 1904 Olympic Golf Gold Medallist George S. Lyon who had walked the proposed Hillcrest Golf and Country Club property.

1904 Olympic Golf Champion George S. Lyon Endorsement

The Hillcrest Golf and Country Club was being promoted in their ads – “Business and professional men and women from all hosts of endeavour and Civil Servants in big numbers are sending in their applications.”

Articles and ads in the Ottawa Citizen on July 10, August 22nd and 30th, 1923 continued to promote membership in the new venture with the purchase of $100 shares.

Article detailing share prices for Hillcrest G&CC

The next mention of the Hillcrest Golf and Country Club in the Ottawa Citizen was in the sports pages on April 11, 1924. The headline of the article read “HILLCREST GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB READY”. Within the article it was noted, “A temporary course of nine holes will be open some time in May”.

…and then…no further references to the Hillcrest Golf and Country Club.

Very odd when you consider the high profile people involved with the project and swell of attention on the prospects for the facility.

SPECULATION

Let’s take a look back in Ottawa Golf History to 1923. The Royal Ottawa (1891) and Rivermead (1910) Golf Clubs were well-established on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River in Aylmer even though they were listed as being in Ottawa in newspaper and magazine articles. The Ottawa Hunt and Motor Club promoted golf beginning in 1919 with a nine-hole layout designed by Rivermead Professional Davie Black, and Willie Park Jr. was hired in late 1919 or early 1920 to design a championship 18-hole championship course for what would become the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club.

In addition, the Chaudiere Golf Club (now the Chateau Cartier Golf Club) opened for business just west of the Royal Ottawa Golf Club.

Could it be that the Hillcrest Golf and Country Club never opened simply because there were too many golf courses and not enough golfers to service them at the time?

We will continue to pursue answers as to what happened to the Hillcrest Golf and Country Club and share our findings.

If you know anything about the club, feel free to reach out to Joe McLean – jmclean at flagstick.com. (replace at with @, of course).

Hillcrest Golf & Country Club plan by Stanley Thompson