When the Kildonan Tennis Club was founded 75 years ago, it had a different name and no tennis courts.
What was originally the Kildonan Canoe Club added its first tennis court in its second year of operation, 1938, and only became known by its current name in 1997.
Today the club is thriving with more than 160 members as young as three and as old as 83.
The club will celebrate its 75th anniversary at a dinner on Oct. 12 at Rossmere Country Club.
Members past and present — and others from the local tennis community — will be there to share memories and view pictures of the club’s history, while the band Reunion will provide entertainment.
Whether it’s morning, afternoon or evening, members can always find a game on one of the five hard courts overlooking the Red River.
"What sets our club apart is the social aspect," said club president Brent Corrigan. "If you come here any night of the week you’re going to find 10 or 12 people in here watching TV or playing cribbage. There’s some people who play every day."
Club pro Peter Otto, who’s been on the job for a decade, said not every club can boast the sort of camaraderie found at KTC.
"Other members (from other clubs) are amazed that you don’t have to set up games ahead of time here," Otto said. "Here you just show up and someone’s willing to play with you. And we run the whole spectrum of ability levels.
"We’re a diverse membership. There’s no class system here, which is one of the other things people like about it."
Members are also proud of the talented young players who learned the game at the club before moving on to university or college scholarships. Sean Bailey was named the top athlete at Austin Peay University in Tennessee last season, and now works as an assistant pro at the club during the summer.
"It’s always been tough to get juniors out here," Otto said, "but we’re starting to build a program."
With a rising Canadian star in Milos Raonic, more and more kids are interested in the sport, he added.
Another drawing card for the club is its clubhouse, which makes it the only licensed outdoor tennis club in the city. When property taxes became too onerous in the late 1990s, the club sold some of its land to a life-lease condominium. Part of the deal included leaving space for a clubhouse for the tennis players.
For tickets to the club’s 75th anniversary celebration, call Kathy Helbrecht at 204-654-9754, or for more information call the club at 204-334-0175.