Inside the members-only Spoke on the Water at the Island Yacht Club
In 2014, the Island Yacht Club was $2 million in debt and facing imminent demise. Membership had dipped drastically since the 2004 fire that levelled the main clubhouse. Then two people came to the rescue. Bill Duron, chair of Blockhouse Bay Management, the property management company that also owns the Toronto Island Marina, and Pierre Jutras, president of the Spoke Club on King West, teamed up and inked a deal with the city to lease the club’s seven-hectare plot on Mugg’s Island. In 2015, the club was reborn as Spoke on the Water. Membership starts at $1,600 per year for social members, plus an initiation fee of $750. For boaters, the minimum fee is $2,750, plus $5,000 for initiation. (In either case, Spoke Club members pay $500 less.) For non-members, here’s a sneak peek…
The club’s main building—which replaces the structure that burned down in 2004—was designed by Montgomery Sisam and completed in 2006. It won an Ontario Association of Architects award of excellence in 2009.
The wood-burning fireplace in the main lounge is lit on cooler days (on the morning of our visit, the lounge still had the warm, smoky smell of the previous night’s fire).
The lounge’s bar is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., just like on the mainland. The bar is regularly busy on weekday afternoons, for business meetings and lunches.
Sliding rice-paper partitions can divide the clubhouse into two separate rooms, for private meetings, meals or functions. The building accommodates 165 people.
The pennants beside the main courtyard, collected since the club’s 1951 inception, come from yacht clubs around the world.
The kids’ cabin, which sits just a few feet away from the main clubhouse, is a recent addition. This year, the club plans to have childcare available.
The covered front patio accommodates an additional 150 members, while the back courtyard can hold around 260.
The club is planning to replace its two clay tennis courts with four grass ones. Expected completion: summer of 2017. In the meantime, this summer, they’re installing a deck and full-service bar beside the pool.
A three kilometre nature trail near the main clubhouse is dedicated to former Toronto mayor— and erstwhile Island Yacht Club member—Philip Givens.
These floating docks were built last year will accommodate what the club hopes will be an increased number of boaters. They also provide a not-too-shabby view of the city skyline, especially after dark.
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This post originally said that $1,600 and $2,750 were the annual fees for non-boating and boating members of Spoke on the Water, respectively. In fact, those are the minimum annual fees. Some members pay more.