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The Gooderham & Worts families emigrated from the Scole / Bungay area of England in the early 1830s, arriving in York, (now Toronto, Canada). First came James Worts, accompanied by his 13 year-old son, James Gooderham Worts. They built the windmill near the mouth of the Don River. They were followed in 1832 by William and Ezekiel Gooderham, their sister, Elizabeth (James Worts' wife) and 54 extended family members. Over the following 75 years, these families created the largest distillery in the world, as well as contributing to milling, banking, railways, shipping, farming and other essential components of the growing industrial country. They were active in the church and in various communities, as well as in health care and even in our political institutions. In 2013, descendants of the Gooderham and Worts families created an online website that includes a family tree with photos, documents and stories.


1919 George Horace Gooderham entertains Prince Edward at the RCYC

“The event of the year for the yacht club was, naturally, the visit of that great ambassador of Empire, Edward Prince of Wales, endeared to millions of his future subjects by the title he earned on his travels, “the Smiling Prince”.”

So begins the story of the 1919 garden party held at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club to honour his Royal Highness, Prince Edward. At that time, the clubhouse had been reduced to the one-storey ruins of a fire which had been “roofed over and made presentable”. Some members, unable to obtain the blue serge for their service uniforms due to the war, made do with “silk hats, black morning coats, and striped trousers as they gathered under the huge marquee on the lawn”.

R.C.Y.C. lawn early 1900

On landing at the pier, the prince first visited Commodore George H. Gooderham’s flagship, the then four-masted schooner Oriole III, before laying a cornerstone for the new clubhouse and presenting Mr. Norman R. Gooderham the historic Prince of Wales cup.

George H. Gooderham and Prince Edward on far left

“The evening following the garden party the Prince of Wales was entertained at dinner by the club, and a ball followed. Excusing himself for a time he retired, as the dancers supposed, to snatch a few moments of relaxation after an exceedingly strenuous day’s program. As the time ran on, and he did not return to the ball, his hosts became anxious and began a search for him. They discovered him on board Commodore Gooderham’s flagship, which had been moored in the lagoon behind the lawn and was festooned with electric lights in place of the flags she had worn by day. She was surrounded by hundreds of canoes, everyone on the island apparently knowing by instinct that the Prince would be aboard her. His Royal Highness was “relaxing” by continuously patrolling her decks, leaning over the bulwarks and shaking hands with the thousand boys and girls who swarmed around the Oriole’s milkwhite manganese sides!”.

Excerpt from The Annals of the R.C.Y.C. , Chapter VII


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