The Scarborough Cross Country Ski Club was established in 1978 with the assistance and encouragement of the Scarborough Recreation and Parks Department.
Brian Greggains organized the club and became Chairman and then later President. Our skiing was by carpool and we would meet at Cedar Heights Plaza and drive to York Regional Forest, Woodnewton or one of the other conservation areas. We then graduated to ski buses that were first organized by Helen James around 1984. The original charge was $10 and we used activity buses. The buses proved to be a great success, especially when the weather was bad. The next year we organized 6 buses per year, and set up our present sign-up system. The following year, we scheduled 12 buses.
During the first few years, weekend trips were very popular; A favourite being Camp Hollyburn in Muskoka. The accommodation was very basic, however, they had a beautiful fireplace and in later years even a Jacuzzi. They also had their own groomed trails. In 1988 weekend trips included: Leslie Frost Centre, Chetwynd, Stowe and Mont Tremblant, Quebec. Because we had two bus trips each weekend we decided to cut back on our weekend trips. We now go to Wanakita, Haliburton area and Mont Ste. Anne, Quebec.
The club provided instructors to the Borough of Scarborough's ski lesson program that were held in Thomson Park. In later years we offered to take responsibility for the lessons and offer them as part of the bus program. Michaela Rollinson was our first ski instructor. Hugh McCall, Fred Burgener, Helen James, Vern Brandt and John Hackert have all provided instruction at various times.
Each February we had Skifest, which was our club's winter carnival, held at Cedarbrook Park. Brian Greggains was the original M.C. while John Hackert took over in 1983. Garth Hutton and Gerard Baribeau played very active roles in Skifest as well as many others who helped organize all the many activities. Gerard was known as "Chef Baribeau" because of his Skifest hot dogs. We continued Skifest until 1991.
As part of our non-skiing activities, we also held two dances a year. Our first dance was organized by Susan Scott held at Curran Hall as a potluck dinner and dance. Because of its popularity, we transferred to Birkdale Community Centre and continued until 1994. Garth Hutton sold the tickets, Gerard Baribeau was barman, Herby Whittle bought the incidentals, and John Hackert co-coordinated. Everything was excellent and everyone had a great time. Over the years costs increased exponentially and attendance slipped so we now hold a very successful Wine < Cheese get together on a no charge basis.
The secret to our longevity as a community organization lies entirely with the club members.
To read a recap of the first ten years by Brian Greggains, click here.