As the club events coordinator, someone asked me the other day, what’s the biggest, as in most stately/important, event ever held at the club? Well, it involves an 80th birthday, the Queen and the 3rd Governor General of Canada! Yep, it was the Right Honourable Roland “Roly” Michener’s 80th birthday party.
It was 1980 and more than 100 members attended the gala dinner. He was presented with a number of personalized gifts from fellow club members but most memorably, a telegram from the Queen was read out “I understand that you are celebrating your 80th birthday. Stop. I send my and Prince Philip’s congratulations and best wishes on this happy and auspicious occasion and hope that you will have a nostalgic and agreeable evening as you look back over your long and very distinguished career. Stop. Elizabeth R.”
Roly Michener joined the Club in 1929 and played his last game of squash in 1989, just short of his 90th birthday. He was made an honourary member after 41 years of membership. During all these years, he became a Canadian icon for both his service to politics and diplomacy and his devotion to physical fitness.
(Note: the above has been recounted from the Club book “The University Club of Toronto: Its Life, Its Times 1906-2006)