Evergreen Squash Club History
Evergreen Squash Club of West Vancouver officially opened in 1968, and has had two major expansions, with another one expected in the coming year. The facility is member-owned and operated, with an elected Board of Directors, who are active members.
Evergreen celebrated its 50th Anniversary in Spring 2018 with a tournament and Saturday night bash. We heard from past Presidents, including one of our founding board members So much has changed in the past 50 years, and we are very proud of our history.
In the 1960's there were only two member-owned clubs with squash courts in the Lower Mainland - the old Vancouver Racquets Club on Oak and King Edward, and The Vancouver Lawn Tennis & Badminton Club. Some players who lived and worked on the North Shore did not want to drive across town for a game of squash. One of these players, Dr. Mitch Hiddleston, was determined to build a squash club on the North Shore. He contacted a number of North-Shore based active squash players to discuss the possibilities of forming a club.
The initial group consisted of Mitch Hiddleston, David Foster, George Morfitt, Nigel Williams, Lawrie Moxon, Ron Howard and a few others, each of whom were asked to input their expertise in architecture, construction, advertising, promotion and public relations. Many sites were considered, but various Councils rejected the plans. After repeated submissions to the West Vancouver Parks Board and Municipal Council, the present site was secured, some three and a half years later. The founders undertook that if this land was made available to us, we would maintain our philosophy of providing a low-cost operation, keeping it within financial reach of the majority of local residents. In addition, we agreed to set aside time for an active Junior coaching program to encourage young players. The Club would be open to men and women of all ages, and the emphasis would be on sports activity.
The main objective was to keep it simple and inexpensive, but not to accept any compromise in the quality of the courts themselves. Cost estimates were obtained, and financing efforts began. It was soon realized that it would be difficult to obtain a traditional mortgage on a unique type of building on leased land. George Morfitt, our Honourary designated Treasurer, spent hours preparing financial projections. He realized that our only avenue was to obtain a five-year bank financing, backed by members' personal guarantees. This was a major commitment, but was fully endorsed by the founding members.
The Club then required members. Mitch Hiddleston canvassed the entire North Shore medical profession, pointing out to them the need for exercise and to keep fit, with great success. Many of them signed up and paid their entrance fees without the remotest idea of what squash was. The group ran local newspaper ads, and eventually signed up enough members, whose entrance fees together with the personal financial guarantees of some, enabled them to apply for the funding necessary to be able to proceed with construction. Construction then began, with 55 signed-up members. The Club has never looked back.
Everyone involved was driven by the enthusiasm of Mitch Hiddleston, who, in spite of all the setbacks along the way, maintained his enthusiasm and convinced the group to persevere. He is the one individual who can truly be regarded as the founder of the Evergreen Squash Club.
At one of the meetings, late in the evening, it was pointed out that it was necessary to find a name for the club. Like most insignificant problems, this caused intense discussion, argument, and disagreement. With no consensus in sight, it was suggested to adopt a temporary working name which could be changed later, and the name Evergreen was suggested. This was grudgingly approved and was never again discussed, so the name stuck.
The original principles of low cost, with emphasis on the game of squash itself, with minimum social facilities and a strong volunteer base, continues to this day. The Club has functioned magnificently and has grown far beyond the expectations of the original founders and continues to thrive. We have produced many outstanding players of national and international calibre and are looked on as a powerhouse amongst other squash clubs.
We owe a debt of thanks to the many dedicated individuals who have served as officers, directors and on various committees. They have always been devoted to ensuring the health of the Club for the existence of Evergreen Squash Club as it is today.
Happy 50th Anniversary, Evergreen!