Etobicoke 

X-Country Ski Club 

     In January 1995 an open meeting was conducted at Fairfields Senior Centre by Linda Christensen, 
Senior Sports Coordinator with the municipality of Etobicoke’s Department of Parks and Recreation. 
Its purpose was to present the idea of forming a club for seniors (age 55 plus) interested in skiing. 
Anecdotal information suggests that the genesis of this idea was a series of ski trips that Linda had 
been running since 1983. A number of the meeting attendees were receptive to Linda’s proposal and 
thus our Club was born. 
     In the early days of our Club, its membership included downhill and cross-country skiers. Trips were 
undertaken in school buses until 2004 when modern coaches were used exclusively.  When downhill 
skiing was available on a trip, those downhill skiers would be “dropped off” and then “picked up” on 
the  return  home.   In  1996  for  instance,  seven  members  went  by  school  bus  to  Mt.  St.  Louis  for 
downhill skiing and 35 were taken to Horseshoe for cross-country skiing.  Five day car trips also took 
place to resorts such as The Briars and the Baldwins in Muskoka, and day car trips were conducted 
to ski areas such as Trillium Trails, Wye Marsh, Horseshoe Valley and Dagmar.
     Linda encouraged volunteers to form an executive to take over the planning and execution of the ski 
trips, leading to the Club’s independence such that Linda’s support was no longer needed by 1999. 
The Club’s first recorded executive minutes were dated October 19, 1998. Annual General Meetings 
began about 1998 and have been held in November each year to review the past season’s activities 
and  to  present  the  new  ski  season’s  trip  schedule  to  old  and  new  members.  An  election  slate  is 
presented and voted upon every two years. 
     In these early years, members would come to the Centennial chalet on Mondays to sign up for the 
Wednesday trip and pay the bus/trail fee. Members would also practice their skiing at the bottom of 
Centennial Hill, through the woods or out on the golf course. Skiers shared in some social time when 
they warmed up and enjoyed a hot drink at the chalet.
     As the Club matured new practices emerged. For example, Gerry Cavanagh, Club President in 2000, 
introduced  a  skilog to serve as the basis for an award system for skiers. Each year, at a postseason  luncheon,  skiers  are  given  awards  (initially  ribbons,  more  recently  gift  certificates)  for 
completing a certain number of kilometres that year.
     Also  in  2000,  the  Club began  offering  organized  hiking  opportunities  to  members.  Thanks  to  our 
volunteers  who  have  served  as  Hiking  Conveners  and  Hike  Leaders  over  the  years,  the  Club 
continues to offer its members many opportunities for urban hikes as well as hikes to locations such 
as  Cheltenham  Badlands,  Culham  Trail,  Crawford  Lake,  Glen  Haffy,  Hilton  Falls,  Hockley  Valley, 
Mountsberg and Scottsdale Farm.
     In later years (2001-2005), skiing at Albion Hills was both possible and popular and was combined 
with a BBQ. The club would supply the hamburgers and members would contribute to the ‘pot-luck”. 
This popular event has since been replaced by two other equally popular social events: an annual 
wine and cheese social held at one of the ski destinations and a Fall BBQ. 
     In  2007, Gosta Isakson created the website that the Club continues to use as a means of 
communication with its members and as a recruitment tool. He also created the snowflake logo used 
in our Club communications. Additionally, around this time, members began to sign up and pay for 
upcoming Wednesday trips right on the bus rather than having to travel to Centennial to do so on 
Monday  mornings.  Ever  since,  our  Trip  Conveners,  including  Joan  Haines,  our  longest  serving 
Convener to date, have made it easy for members to join in on future trips.
     While  Club  members  had  participated  in  long  distance  ski  trips  organized  by  Etobicoke’s  Linda 
Christensen while she was still supporting our Club, it wasn’t until 2013 that the Club initiated a ski 
trip to Arrowhead Park, a tradition that has carried on for four years, with the assistance of Sandy 
Marven. 
     The composition of our Club has also changed over the years. The earliest membership list we have 
is from 1998 when the Club had 90 members. Membership has fluctuated since then, with a low of 
62 members in 2001 to our current high of 96 members. Our members include skiers covering a wide 
range of skill levels from novices, to rusty skiers, to seasoned skiers like Doug and Maebeth Moon 
and Peggy Walker, who have represented our Club in the Ontario Senior Winter Games, to ironmen, 
such as John Wragg who recently completed his 200th Ironman event. 
     Over the years, the needs of members desiring to improve their skills have been met in a variety of 
ways.  From  2001-2014  Peggy  Walker  offered  members  skiing  lessons  and  practice  opportunities 
each  Monday  morning  during  ski  season  at  Centennial  Park.  In  2013  and  2014  Theo  Kempe 
organized group skiing whereby members would volunteer to lead and assist skiers seeking tips and 
guidance  on unfamiliar  trails.  And  in  2015  and  20I6  George  Lorenz,  a  member  volunteer  and  a 
CANSI  instructor,  offered  lessons  for  beginner  and  intermediate  skiers.  These  initiatives  have  not 
only led to improvements in the skill levels of our members, they have also helped to increase the 
percentage of our membership participating in our ski trips each year. 

Submitted by: Freda Marsden
Club Archivist
April 2016

History of the Etobicoke Cross country Ski Club    1995 - 2016