“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
1919 George Horace Gooderham entertains Prince Edward at the RCYC
At the RCYC ball held to honour Prince Edward, His Royal Highness was no where to be found...until he was spotted on Commodore Gooderham's schooner, the Oriole, surrounded by hundreds of well wishers in their canoes.
|Royal Canadian Yacht Club (RCYC); George Horace Gooderham