It was 1976, Stuart Robertson said “If Montreal can have the Olympics, why can’t Baby Point?” He proposed a plan of having a day of competitions for members of all ages to the Board, who accepted the
idea. However, there were many stumbling blocks. When approached by telephone no one wanted to help. Alice was on the Ladies Executive at the time and asked the President to ask the Ladies Executive
members to help. The reply was “No, that’s a stupid idea and if the men want to have a day like that they can do it themselves!” When the notice went out, parents began phoning in a saying ‘You cannot have children’s bicycle races. Some children will get hurt.” (During the five years that Stuart ran the Games Days, only two people were hurt in the bike races – both adults!)
However, with a lot of intestinal fortitude, Stuart barrelled ahead. The ‘Baby Point Olympics’ went ahead and there was a massive turnout, but pandemonium reigned supreme.
Unsuspecting adults had clipboards jammed in their hands and told to run various events. No races went off on time but by the end of the day by the end of the day they were all happily completed.
Stuart wanted to have a canoe race on the Humber River based on the local history but decided that to take people away from the Club was a bad idea. Instead, he had the four teams run around the Point carrying canoes, then pitch a tent, boil water, and make a cup of instant coffee. It was chaos but a great deal of fun. This competition is no longer done. The ladies nail driving continues to be a hit, but the men’s knitting or baby diaper changing. Originally a baby (not a doll) was required.
All preparations were done by volunteers, all the equipment had to carted down to the Club the night before and so tents were pitched on the property and guards camped out overnight.
Dan Demonte and his family pitched in to produce the hamburgers (originally hand-made, but eventually store-bought option was selected) and the lunch menu expanded to include hotdogs. For dinner it was steak and salad with many living close-by cooking baked potatoes in their own ovens. For dessert, an apple pie baking contest was added to the day’s events; there were enough entries to supply dessert.
Several members were reluctant to leave after dinner so many forms of impromptu entertainment ensued. Most of these would be frowned upon today. Among them would be lawn bowling at 1am, group sing-a-longs around a guitar and the night they rolled the piano out onto the walkway and Rene Gold (90 Baby Point Road) played classical music. There was also an attempt by Frank Rush (10 Baby Point Terrace) to make a steak and egg breakfast on the grill – unfortunately most of the eggs ended up in the goals.
The second year it was called ‘Baby Point commonwealth Games’ in honour of those being held in Edmonton.
Later, the day evolved into simply being called ‘Games Day’.
Other enhancements from the first year included artificial gold, silver and bronze medal to present to the winning team captains, a prototype used to be mounted on the mantel in the Clubhouse. Additionally, to honour one or two club members the King and/or Queen of the Day was also tried. The first was ‘Queenie’ McCrea (51 Baby
After the success of the first year, each year became a little easier and more organized. Members became more willing to help. Stuart and Dan DeMonte continue to run the day for five years and then retired to let ‘new blood’ take over. It is great to see Games Day continue as a permanent feature of the Club’s calendar and all the members owe many thanks to the various people who continue to run this event so successfully and efficiently each year.