Please contact our Secretary with any questions or comments related to Howard Park Tennis Club Governance and Rules at:


Howard Park Tennis Club is a community tennis club operated under the auspices of the City of Toronto Policy for Outdoor Community Tennis Club Operations. The Club is a not-for-profit corporation run by a volunteer Board of Directors, and has a set of by-laws that govern the structure and operations of the Board. Please click on the links below to view the by-laws and City policy document:

Teams Oversight Policy

To view and download the current policy, please click here: 2019 Teams Oversight Policy (Exec’19)

Refund Policy

Click here to view and download the policy: Howard Park Tennis Club Refund Policy (Exec’19)

Ball Machine Rules & Use

Click here to view and download the rules: Ball Machine Rules of Use (Exec’19)


Members: Membership shall be limited to persons interested in furthering the objectives of the Corporation (where “Corporation” means the corporation incorporated under the laws of the Province of Ontario under the name of Howard Park Tennis Club), and shall not be refused on the grounds of race, creed, colour, national origin, political or religious affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family relationship or disability.

A “Member” shall be considered “in good standing,” if he or she is not in arrears of fees and dues, nor has acted against following the objects of the Corporation, nor has been suspended nor otherwise sanctioned for violation of the Corporation’s bylaws, rules and regulations, nor has acted against the general interest of the Corporation resulting in suspension.

Tennis Attire: Players shall wear tennis clothing and tennis court shoes. Denim, spandex or cut-off shorts, leggings without shorts or skirts, offensive wording or logos, and soiled clothing or shoes, and running shoes are not permitted. Shirts shall be worn at all times. Men’s shirts must have sleeves. Membership tags shall be displayed at all times. The Court Managers shall refuse playing time to Members and Guests who are not properly attired.


All Members shall be rated according to the USTA National Rating System as described in the Tennis Canada “Play Tennis” self rating guide. The rating shall be displayed on the Reservation Board name tag. See “USTA Rating”. Ratings shall be utilized to establish eligibility for different programs including Ladders, House Leagues, Lessons and Tournaments. Ratings are utilized to increase the enjoyment of playing tennis and are made as objectively as possible. A rating may be established by the Tennis Pro or other qualified instructors. Each Member shall reserve their Rating Appointment with a non-refundable fee of five dollars ($5.00) prior to the rating. Registration for rating may be booked through the Court Managers or with the professional instructor directly.

Clubhouse: Pets, bicycles, in-line skates, smoking, and alcohol are not permitted in the Clubhouse or on the courts. The Court Manager’s Office is off-limits to the general membership, and accessible only by management including Court Managers and the Board. The Court Manager’s Office window and door shall be locked if the Office is left unattended while performing other duties. The Clubhouse may be rented for the purpose of meetings or functions with the approval of the Board. Contact the Board for further details. Smoking is not permitted in the Clubhouse, and no Member, Guest or employee shall bring into the Clubhouse any beer, wine, or spirits, nor shall he or she consume any beer, wine, or spirits in the Clubhouse except as authorized by law for licensed events. (City)

Liability for lost or stolen property: The Corporation is not responsible for tennis racquets, equipment or personal effects stored in the Clubhouse or lockers, or left on the premises.

Pets: The City of Toronto Parks and Recreation bylaw prohibits pets from entering the Clubhouse or to be left unattended in the park, i.e. tennis area. All pets shall be leashed outside the court enclosures, i.e. playing area. (City)

Announcements: All telephone greetings (Bell Answer), bulletin board postings, mailings and/or flyer distribution for the benefit of the membership shall be administered and managed by the Marketing and Communications Committee. (Exec’95)

Guest Attendance: Members may bring Guests to the Club. All Guests shall pay a ten-dollar ($10.00) Guest Fee and must complete and sign a waiver prior to playing. Guests must play with the sponsorship Member. Court Managers shall maintain a Guest Log. Rules regarding conduct and attire apply to Guests. (Exec’08) Please click here to view and download the waiver: Howard Park Tennis Club Waiver. (Exec’14)

Conduct and Discipline

Conduct: Members and Guests will conduct themselves on the premises in a courteous and responsible manner. They will refrain from violent, threatening, abusive language or behaviour.

Members, Club Employees, and Board Members should provide a written report outlining the time, date, place, specific nature of the actions and person(s) involved to the Disciplinary Review Committee (“DRC”) as soon as practical after the incident. Verbal reports of such incidents are acceptable, and must be followed in writing.


  1. The President and Chair of the Rules and Regulations Committee form the DRC to consider complaints against Members and Employees.
  2. The DRC will immediately consider written report of the incident which may result in immediate temporary suspension of club privileges without written notice. The DRC’s sole discretion is subject to subsequent compliance with the process below:
    1. The alleged Member will be given notice in writing by regular mail, (and the complainant blind copied), outlining the time, date, place and specific actions alleged.
    2. The alleged Member shall respond within ten (10) calendar days of the date of the letter received so that the DRC may review the allegations.
    3. The DRC will send a copy of its decision with reasons and its actions to the alleged Member by regular mail (and the complainant blind copied).
    4. The DRC will use its discretion to suspend, terminate or restrict the alleged Member’s privileges and where applicable, grant partial refunds less administration fees.

Permitted Hours of Operation by the City of Toronto

The Club is permitted to:

Utilize the courts, Clubhouse and premises for the exclusive use of its membership; Operate a Junior Program from 4 to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday on Courts l, 2, and 3; Operate Adult and Junior Day Camp Clinics on specified dates from 9 a.m. to noon, Monday through Thursday on Courts l, 2, and 3.

The permitted Club hours are from noon to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Statutory Holidays. Court lights are extinguished at 11 p.m. per civic bylaw.

Basic Members Priority Hours: Basic Members have priority over unaccompanied Junior Members from 6 to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Statutory Holidays. Basic Members have the option of replacing tagged up Junior Members until five (5) minutes prior to playing time during these priority hours.

Junior Playing Time: All Junior Members rated USTA 3.5 and higher will be permitted to play during Basic Members Priority Hours and to enter competitive events. Junior Members rated less than USTA 3.5 shall be accompanied by a Basic Member in order to play at all times. Otherwise, unaccompanied Junior Members play shall be completed between 6 and 6:15 p.m. Monday through Friday, and shall begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Statutory Holidays. A Basic Member may displace any Junior Member during Basic Members’ Priority Hours. On Sundays only, Courts 4 & 5 become Public access after 6 p.m.

Court Change Times: The clock in the Court Manager’s Office is the official time. The playing period is forty-five (45) minutes with at least two (2) courts changing every fifteen (15) minutes. Courts that are reserved for Lessons, Round Robins, etc. may have thirty (30) minute periods.

Schedule Events: Tournaments, Ladder, Inter-County, Lessons and Round Robins play take precedence when scheduled. Dates and times of such events shall be posted in advance. Members reserving courts immediately following such events shall (i) inherit time not required for the event, or (ii) donate extra time needed to complete the event. When a block of courts has been reserved for events, no courts within the block shall be used for regular play until all matches within the block have been completed.

Court periods following Public time shall inherit any interim between the close of Public play and the beginning of Permitted Hours of Operation. See “Permitted Hours of Operation”, Three (3) courts shall remain available to the Members at all times.


Various scheduled events such as Ladder, House Leagues, and Social and Competitive Tournaments will have varying default times as stated within their rules of play. A player shall be defaulted at the request of the opposing team or player. It is the responsibility of the player to be dressed and “ready to play” at the scheduled start of play. “Ready to play” includes wearing appropriate attire, using washroom facilities, filling water bottles, and preparing equipment. At the end of the predetermined default period, if the player is not “ready to play”, the player will be defaulted. In addition, if a substitute has been made within the default period, the late player shall not replace the substitute.

Court Reservations:

  1. Members in good standing are eligible to reserve court time.
  2. A court reservation is for one 45-minute court time period.
  3. A court reservation may be made in person only at the Court Manager’s office and only on the day of intended play. Exceptions may be made for specific club programs. See individual program rules for details.
  4. A court may be reserved a maximum of three hours in advance of the intended time of play.
  5. At least one member of the party to play on the court must be present at the time the court reservation is made in order to complete the reservation.
  6. The name of each individual to play on a court is required at the time the court reservation is made.
  7. A Member with a court reservation may not reserve another court time period until the initial period has expired.
  8. Double-booking is not permitted, meaning that a Member cannot reserve back-to-back court time. A one-session break is required in between court reservations. Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Court Manager on duty if courts are not in use.
  9. If a Member who reserved a court is unable to play, the court reservation will be cancelled, and the court time period will become available for reservation by the next Waiting Member.
  10. A Member without a court reservation or who is inappropriately dressed forfeits playing privileges for the period.
  11. Those Members who reserved the preceding time period, until other Members reserve court time, inherit courts that are not reserved.
  12. Members may indicate a preferred court at the time a court reservation is made, however, final court assignments are dependent on club programming and/or other factors, and are subject to change at the discretion of the on-duty Court Manager.
  13. The Board of Directors may, from time to time, modify court reservation rules in the event of special circumstances, including, but not limited to, periods of court resurfacing work.


Waiting Member: Amendment (2001-4): A Waiting Member is any Member whose tag is not on the Reservation Board or on the Reservation Board in the next time period(s) and qualifies to play. A Playing Member is any Member whose tag is on the Reservation Board in the current time period or immediately preceding time period.

Bumping: Amendment (2001-2): Courts that are not reserved by Waiting Members, shall be inherited for the next time period by those Members who reserved the preceding time period on that court, subject to the following conditions: The Playing Member’s tags are to be moved to the new time period, but not sooner than five (5) minutes after the new time period begins. Playing Members must be present at the Court Manager’s Office at the start of the new time period or the 5 minutes thereafter to request the movement of their tags to the new time period. If the Playing Member’s tags are not moved, the court is deemed to be open and available for reservation. It is the responsibility of the Playing Members to have their tags posted on their court for the current time period.

In the event of many players requesting use of the court at the start of a new time period, or during the 5 minutes after the start of the new time period, priority is given first to Waiting Members, then to the Playing Members who were tagged on that court in the preceding time period, then to other Playing Members of the preceding time period.

Doubles: A playing period is considered reserved when at least one (1) Member is tagged up. Any doubles court booked for singles becomes a singles court five (5) minutes after commencement of the period. If one or two Members drop out of a tagged foursome, Waiting Members may complete the foursome. In this situation, the first pair of Members has the priority to decide whether to play doubles or rally half-court. Members just completing a period are not considered to be waiting players.

Singles: Amendment (2001-3) A single player cannot hold a doubles court. Even five (5) minutes after the commencement of the period, (the period by which a doubles court can be considered a singles court) other Waiting Members may tag up on that court in that time period for the available spaces. The Playing Member has the choice to stay on the court to rally, play singles or doubles, or have their tag moved to another time period as if they are a Waiting Member.

Singles: Court 3 (The Jimmy Sztoyco and Vera Bridges Court) is a permanent singles court. A singles-playing period is considered reserved when at least one (1) Member is tagged up. Any doubles court booked for singles becomes a singles court five (5) minutes after commencement of the period. If one or two player drop out of a tagged singles, waiting Members may complete the singles. Members just completing a period are not considered to be waiting Members.

Balls: New balls shall be distributed at 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Statutory Holidays. Additional new or used balls may be distributed at the Court Manager’s discretion. Three (3) balls shall be given to new players coming onto the court. The balls must remain on the court to which they are assigned or shall be returned to the Court Manager if there are no new players assuming use of the court. Balls hit out of the court must be retrieved immediately. Used balls may be used for lessons, or they may be repackaged in tins, at the discretion of the Court Manager for sale to the Members. The discounted price for three (3) used balls in a can is one dollar ($1.00) with a receipt. Members shall provide their own balls for Social Tournaments. The winner shall utilize the unopened can as a prize or in the next round of the tournament.

Only yellow, pressurized brand name balls from Wilson, Dunlop, Penn or Slazenger shall be permitted. New balls shall be available for purchase from the Court Manager’s Office with a receipt.

Rainouts: Playing on wet or damp courts shall not be permitted. Courts 6 and 7 shall be dried first, and then Courts 1, 2 and 3. Court lights shall be turned on one (1) hour after cessation of rain to avoid electrical damage. Members assisting in maintenance such as drying the courts may be awarded extra playing time during which they may be joined by other players only at the invitation of the awardees. Rainouts for Intercounty and City League teams and House League shall be scheduled on Saturdays or Sundays after 2 p.m. or when possible. (AGM ’94)

Club Etiquette

The tennis rules, customs and courtesies utilized at the Club are to be found in the Tennis Canada publication: “The New Yardstick.” A copy is kept in the Court Manager’s Office. Some points to remember:

  • Wait until a point is over before walking behind a court where a match is in progress or opening a gate
  • To retrieve a ball from another court or to return a ball to another court, wait until the players have completed a point
  • If there is any doubt as to whether a ball is out or good, you must give your opponent the benefit of the doubt and lay the ball as good. You should not play a let.
  • It is your obligation to call all balls on your side, to help your opponent make calls when the opponent requests it and to call against yourself any balls that you clearly see out on your opponents side of the net
  • Any “out” or “let” call must be made instantaneously, that is, made before either an opponent has hit the return or the return has gone out of play, otherwise the ball continues in play
  • Do not enlist the aid of spectators in making line calls
  • If you call a bailout and then realize it was good, correct your call
  • To avoid controversy over the score, the Server should announce the set score before starting the game, and the game score prior to serving each point
  • If players cannot agree on the score, they may go back to the last score, on which there was agreement and resume play from that point
  • Foot faults are not permitted. If an opponent persists in foot faulting after being warned not to do so, the Referee should be informed
  • Do not stall, sulk, or complain
  • Turn-off all pagers, beepers and cellphones so that noises shall not disturb or distract other players, especially during tournament matches
  • Refrain from loud talking or laughter on or near the courts, and retain pets away from the courts, so those players shall not be distracted by noises

Nominations to the Board of Directors

A nomination for election to the Board shall be made in writing and shall be filed with and in the hands of the Secretary at least ten (10) days before the date of the Annual meeting of the Members, after which date no further nominations shall be accepted. The written consent of the nominee to act if elected shall accompany the nomination.

Notwithstanding the above: if there are less Nominees than positions available on the Board, then firstly those persons nominated in writing ten (10) days before the date of the Annual Meeting shall be acclaimed to the Board, then the Chair may accept nominations from the floor at the Annual meeting for the remaining vacancies on the Board. (AGM ’00)

The Directors shall be elected by majority secret ballot of the Members present at an Annual meeting of the Members or by acclamation at such meeting. Where there are fewer or an equal number of nominees as there are vacancies, the nominees shall be acclaimed as if elected by a majority vote of the Members. The Members shall be given a ballot with the names of all nominees listed in alphabetical order and the Members shall mark their ballot as instructed by the Secretary indicating the nominees they wish to elect from the names on the ballot. At the top of the ballot, the number of vacancies to be filled on the Board shall be clearly stated. Members will mark their ballot selecting only as many nominees as there are vacancies. A ballot marking more nominees than there are vacancies shall be considered a spoiled ballot and shall not be counted. A ballot marking fewer nominees than there are vacancies shall be a valid ballot.

The Secretary shall make the final decision whether a ballot is spoiled. A Director and a member selected by the Secretary shall count the ballots and the Secretary will confirm the count. The chair of the meeting shall announce the results of the vote at the meeting.