Midtown racket club gutted by fire last Valentine's Day will partially reopen next week
Crews battle a massive fire at on St. Clair in Toronto's Deer Park neighbourhood on Feb. 14, 2017. (Twitter/ Sean Meunier @SeanLuc)
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, February 14, 2018 12:48PM EST
A St. Clair Avenue racquet club that was gutted by a six-alarm fire exactly one year ago today will soon reopen in the portion of the historic building that was left standing following the blaze.
Officials at the The Badminton & Racquet Club of Toronto held a sod-turning ceremony on Wednesday morning to mark the one-year anniversary of the fire as well as the anticipated reopening of part of the club next week.
The reopened part of the club will include a gym and squash courts and will serve as a mini club of sorts while the east side of the building is reconstructed. That part of the building had to be demolished after the fire.
“Today is Valentine’s Day and it is a day when we open up our hearts, so we really want to say a very heartfelt thank you to all the people who have supported us, who saved part of the club and who were incredibly generous with their kindness and their spirits,” Club President Karen Wallace told CP24 on Wednesday. “Thank you to our neighbours, to our community and to our membership. Their spirit is just unbelievably strong.”
The fire, which caused an estimated $10 million in damage, burned for more than 20 hours before crews were able to declare it “under control.”
In the end, crews ended up using about 19 million litres of water to extinguish the blaze, which would be enough to fill 7.6 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
At the height of the fire, there were 230 Toronto Fire staff on scene and 69 vehicles.
“It was a tragedy for so many of us, both for B&R members who saw their second home destroyed by a catastrophic fire and for our community who saw their neighbourhood engulfed by flames and surrounded by plumes of smoke and ash. But out of that tragedy, we experienced some inspiring stories,” Coun. Josh Matlow said on Wednesday. “I saw pictures that day of our firefighters on the condo next door literally feet away from the fire holding their hoses protecting those lives and those buildings. I also heard from homeowners and renters who said ‘I have got an extra bed. Does anyone need a place to sleep?’ That is what our community is about.”
The Badminton & Racquet Club of Toronto was founded in 1924. Prior to housing the racquet club, the building served as a streetcar storage facility for the Toronto & York Radial Railway and then the TTC.
The cause of the fire has never been determined.