About Southwood Lands
In January of 2008 a purchase agreement between the Southwood Golf and Country Club and the University of Manitoba was in place that would see the land transferred to University ownership. The University of Manitoba took possession of the land in 2011.
Winnipeg Riding Club
The Southwood area was first developed as a riding club near the end of the 19th century. In 1895, the Winnipeg Riding Club, later known as the Winnipeg Hunt Club (1908) was formed at a time when riding was becoming more of a recreational pursuit than a regular occupation. A loss of members, along with a shortage of game to hunt and an increase in automobile usage, led to the slow decline and transformation of the Winnipeg Hunt Club.
Winnipeg Hunt Club
A seven-hole golf course was most likely completed on the site in 1918, with an expansion to nine holes expected by 1923. Soon after, the Winnipeg Hunt Club changed its name to the Hunt Golf Club. The Agricultural College’s streetcar line ran through the golf course, making it accessible to other areas of the city.
Southwood Golf Club
In 1919, additional land was acquired from the Agricultural College, and the Norwood Golf Club (est. 1894) joined the Winnipeg Hunt Golf Club to form the Southwood Golf Club.
Willie Park Jr.
Notably, Willie Park Jr. (1864-1925) of Musselburgh Scotland was engaged in the design of the original course. He was twice the winner of the British Open, winning in 1887 and again in 1889.
In 1925, Southwood was redesigned by famed Canadian Landscape Architect Stanley Thompson (1893-1953). It was his first eighteen-hole design in Canada. It is not clear how Willie Park Jr.’s original design may have been incorporated into the new plan.
In May 1935 the original clubhouse was destroyed by fire. The most recent clubhouse building was opened in 1957.
Discussions to move the course began in the 1960s, with the club acquiring 97 hectares (240 acres) of riverfront property south of Winnipeg in La Salle, Manitoba in 1966. A plan for a new 27-hole course was proposed, but by 1976 it was clear that re-zoning would not occur, and the property was sold by 1982. By the mid-2000s, riverbank erosion, encroaching residential development, and increased traffic were cited as reasons for relocation. Club membership ultimately approved the decision to relocate and build a 120-hectare (297-acre) golf course just south of Winnipeg’s St. Norbert neighbourhood.
University students and staff, surrounding Fort Garry neighbourhoods and the broader Winnipeg community are all watching these lands with great interest. How will they be developed? How will these lands transform the city?