Welland Club House lasted nearly a century before closing its doors


Published September 13, 2023 at 2:32 pm

The Welland Club, initially created by local businessmen in 1911, stood for 100 years before a fire gutted it in 2011. (Photo: Welland Museum)

The Welland Club, also known as the Welland Club House and Bowling Green, was the ultimate “boys’ club” of its time.

Granted, while that idea wouldn’t fly these days, the thinking was considerably different in the early 1900s when a group of businessmen decided they needed a lawn bowling club to fraternize, meaning simply have cocktails and mostly talk business.

They were the industrialists, the business owners, the executives, the politicians and the bankers – the men who basically ran the city back in those days.

So in June 1911, their three-storey clubhouse was built at 1 Griffith St. in all of its Edwardian/Queen Anne classical style glory.

With wrap-around decks on both the first and second floors matched by a small single deck on the third, it didn’t take long to get the permits with then-Welland MP William German on the club’s board of directors.

It went on as a club exclusively as a men-only movers and shakers meeting place for decades until finally, faced with declining membership, they only the doors to women in 1972. However, that said, the women couldn’t venture beyond the first floor.

However, even that wasn’t enough to financially maintain the humongous house’s upkeep and in its waning days, it shifted from a private club to the public being welcome with the creation of a restaurant complete with a canal-side patio.

Finally, the Welland Club closed its doors for the final time in 2006. After countless failed attempts to sell the property, it went up in smoke in June 2011 when a fire completely collapsed the roof, trashing the century-old building for good and marking it for demolition.

This photo from the Welland Museum shows the lawn bowling activity on the club’s
grounds in 1925.

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