History


The Year that was 2016 - Powerpoint prepared by Al Prior


How it all started...

In July, 1950, a notice appeared in the Toronto Star stating that “British Rugby” was about to become active again in the Toronto area and was asking players to join the Wanderers; the only club in Ontario. At that time, rugby in Ontario was relatively unknown and was only being played by a select group of men. Previously, attempts had been made to set-up leagues in the Toronto area, but somehow always ended in failure.

In July, 1950, a notice appeared in the Toronto Star stating that “British Rugby” was about to become active again in the Toronto area and was asking players to join the Wanderers; the only club in Ontario. At that time, rugby in Ontario was relatively unknown and was only being played by a select group of men. Previously, attempts had been made to set-up leagues in the Toronto area, but somehow always ended in failure.

Despite being comparative newcomers and with very little influential connections, the Jones brothers pressed on and called a meeting of friends and interested local soccer players. After the first meeting, George and Vince were convinced they had enough players to form a club; The Brantford Harlequin Rugby Football Club.

On September 23rd, 1950, the Jones brothers were notified and the first official league game would take place in Brantford on September 30th against the newly formed Toronto Nomads. Then adversity struck. The newly recruited soccer players had an important game which could not be rescheduled and a couple of other players for unavoidable reasons could not play. The Harlequins were left with four players. A telegram was sent to the Nomads, not calling the game off, but with a message, “Don’t come to Brantford, we will come to Toronto.” So on that historic day, the 30th of September, 1950, the Brantford Harlequins showed up with four players to take on the Toronto Nomads.

George and Vince figured that they could get enough players from the previous games that had been played ahead of them to field a full 15 player squad. They had figured correctly, and had enough volunteers to make nearly two teams. The Harlequins lost their first game 16-8 but this did not foreshadow the entire season.

In the following weeks, the soccer players returned and new players arrived. The Harlequins were fielding 15 players for every game. By season end, the Brantford Harlequins shocked the league by capturing the O.R.U. championship title with a three point lead over the other five clubs. And so, the “Cinderella Club” that had to borrow kits, balls, players, cars and anything else they needed, were champions.

Our Facilities...

In the fall of 1975, the Brantford Harlequin Executive with the aid of George Jones, purchased 39 acres of land in the north east section of Brantford on Power Line Road. For years the Harlequins dreamed of having their own fields to play on and by the summer of 1976 two fields were constructed and landscaped. Three years later, in the summer of 1979, the Harlequins completed the construction of their clubhouse.

Over the past 35 years, the Harlequin facilities and grounds have undergone several additions, renovations and improvements. At present, the Harlequins own and maintain 39 acres of bush and landscaped property, three regulation size rugby fields and a clubhouse containing four changerooms, showers and washrooms: a concession and lounge area. In addition, there is a large parking area.

The Harlequin grounds and facilities are shared by the Senior Men, Senior Women, Junior and Mini Rugby programs. The fields are also are utilized part-time but the local high school rugby league, the regional representative Senior Men’s team for the Niagara Rugby Union and local minor sport organizations.

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