History of The Royal Canadian Yacht Club

The Royal Canadian Yacht Club was founded in Toronto in 1852 to serve both as a recreational yachting club and, in the British tradition, as an unofficial auxiliary of the Royal Navy in the defence of the waters of Lake Ontario. 

The Club was established under the name the Toronto Boat Club, but in 1854 with a warrant from Queen Victoria, became the Royal Canadian Yacht Club.

The Club’s first homes were on the city shore, but increasing industrialization of the waterfront drove the Club to the Islands in 1881. The first Island Clubhouse was destroyed by fire in 1904. Its successor, officially opened in 1906, suffered the same fate: it too was irreparably damaged by fire in 1918. In 1919, Edward, Prince of Wales, laid the cornerstone for the gracious two-story Southern-style Clubhouse that has been the RCYC's summer home ever since.
Today, we are one of Canada’s premier sailing and social clubs, with an emphasis on family participation, the development of our junior sailors, and a Corinthian attitude toward excellence in sailing. Since the merger of the Carlton Club with the RCYC, the Club has operated year round from two facilities: our summer home at the Island Clubhouse and our racquets- and fitness-oriented City Clubhouse in downtown Toronto.

RCYC Archives is available to the public by arrangement. Please contact the Archivist at 416.967.7245 ext. 351 or heritage@rcyc.ca. We have an extensive collection of archival material relating to yachts and pleasure sailing on Lake Ontario. Also, there are many documents relating to the social history of Toronto. The collection includes: 
  • Publications, such as Lloyd's Register of Yachts, and yearbooks of national and international yachting associations.
  • Documents on the history of the RCYC itself, the Canada’s Cup Challenges, the America’s Cup, membership registers, yearbooks, minute books & annual reports.
  • Papers donated by prominent Toronto yachtsmen such as Emilius Jarvis.
  • Drawings by yacht designers such as G. Herrick Duggan and Charles W Bourke.
  • Photographs of famous Toronto yachts.
  • News clippings, personal diaries and yacht logs.