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

Tennis Guidelines during COVID-19

To view and download the tennis guidelines to be followed at Howard Park during COVID-19, please click here: Howard Park Tennis Guidelines during COVID-19 – Phase 3 (Exec ’20)

Important: Please note that these guidelines form part of the rules of the Club during COVID-19 and must be followed by members at all times for the safety of staff, members and the public. Any member found to be non-compliant will be subject to disciplinary action, including suspension or termination of membership.

The information in the tennis guidelines document is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Howard Park Tennis Club and its Board make no representation and assume no responsibility in respect of the information contained herein concerning COVID-19 as the circumstances are constantly changing, and any information on COVID-19 should be obtained from your Public Health Authority.


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 bylaws that govern the structure and operations of the Board. Please click on the links below to view the bylaws and City policy document:


Teams Oversight Policy: To view and download the current policy, please click here: Teams Oversight Policy 2020 (Exec ’20)

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

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

Club Rules

Membership: 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.

Player Rating: Howard Park uses a self-rating system to assess player level, and match players to programs and leagues. A player rating must be provided at the time of membership renewal or with initial membership registration within the Member’s online profile. All Members should rate their player level according to the USTA National Rating System as described in the Tennis Canada “Play Tennis” self-rating guide on the Club’s website. Ratings are used to establish eligibility for various Club programs, including ladders, round robins, lessons and tournaments. Ratings are intended to increase the enjoyment of playing tennis and should be made as objectively as possible.

A Member’s rating may be assessed, for a fee, by one of the Club’s tennis professionals, which may be booked through the tennis professional directly.

Tennis Attire: Players shall wear appropriate tennis attire and non-marking tennis shoes. Street clothes, clothing with offensive language or logos, soiled clothing or shoes, and running shoes are not permitted. Shirts shall be worn at all times. Men’s shirts must have sleeves. The Court Managers shall refuse playing time to Members and Guests who are not properly attired.

Clubhouse: Pets, bicycles, manual or self-balancing scooters, inline 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. 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.

Smoking: Members and Guests must observe all bylaws in relation to smoking and/or vaping, including:

  • Smoking or vaping is not permitting in the Clubhouse, within nine metres of the Clubhouse entrance, or on or around the tennis courts.
  • Smoking or vaping cannabis is not permitted on the grounds of the Club and public areas within 20 metres of these grounds. 

Dogs: Dogs (service animals excepted) are not permitted in the Clubhouse, on the patio or on the tennis courts. Dog owners are responsible for the care of their animals and for complying with City of Toronto Animal Bylaws, including leashing and controlling their dogs, cleaning up after their dogs and not leaving their dogs unattended. Dog owners are responsible for ensuring their dogs do not disturb or intimidate other Club Members and/or Guests. 

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.

Lockers: Members may rent a locker, on a first-come, first-served basis, for the current tennis season, with use subject to the terms of the Club’s Locker Rental Agreement.

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 sponsoring Member. Court Managers shall maintain a Guest Log. Rules regarding conduct and attire apply to Guests. Please click here to view and download the waiver: Howard Park Tennis Club Waiver.

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 wishing to report an incident related to the conduct of a Member or Employee should provide a written report outlining the time, date, place, specific nature of the actions and person(s) involved to the Board of Directors as soon as practical after the incident. Verbal reports of such incidents are acceptable, and must be followed in writing to the Board, care of the President and/or Secretary at: and/or 


  1. The Board of Directors will consider complaints against Members and Employees, and may appoint a committee of Board Members to meet with or interview the parties involved in the incident.
  2. The Board of Directors will immediately consider the written report of the incident, which, in its sole discretion, may result in immediate, temporary suspension of club privileges without written notice. The Board’s sole discretion is subject to subsequent compliance with the process below:
    1. The alleged Member will be given notice in writing by email, 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 Board may review the allegations.
    3. The Board will send a copy of its decision with reasons and its actions to the alleged Member by email.
    4. The Board will use its discretion to suspend, terminate or restrict the alleged Member’s privileges and, where applicable, grant partial refunds less administration fees. The decision of the Board of Directors is final.
    5. In its discretion, the Board will provide updates and/or a response to the complainant during or at the conclusion of the process.

Hours and Court Booking

Permit: The Club is permitted by the City of Toronto to utilize the courts, Clubhouse and premises for the exclusive use of its membership.

Permitted Hours: The permitted Club hours are from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends and statutory holidays. Court lights are extinguished at 11 p.m. per civic bylaw.

Operating Hours: The Club’s spring, summer and fall operating hours can be found on the Hours of Operation page of the website. Some Club programs operate outside of Club Operating Hours, however, during the Club’s Permitted Hours

Junior Programs: The Club operates an after-school Junior Program on specified dates from 4 to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday on Courts 1, 2, and 3, as well as Junior Day Camps on specified dates from 9 a.m. to 4p.m., Monday through Thursday on Courts 1, 2, and 3.

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.

Scheduled Events: Tournament, ladder, club team, lesson and round robin play takes 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 Hours of Operation.

Three (3) courts shall remain available to the Members at all times.

Default: Various scheduled events such as ladder, round robin, club socials 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. Court 3 is a permanent singles court and may be reserved for singles play only.
  14. 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: A Waiting Member is any Member who does not have a court reservation in the system for the current period or in the next time period(s) and qualifies to play. A Playing Member is any Member with a court reservation in the current period or immediately preceding time period.

Bumping: 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: (i) The Playing Members will receive a new court reservation for the new time period, but not sooner than five (5) minutes after the new time period begins; and (ii) 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 new court reservation in the new time period. If a new court reservation is not created for the Playing Members, the court is deemed to be open and available for reservation. It is the responsibility of the Playing Members to ensure they have a court reservation 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.

Court Period Forfeit: At the discretion of the on-duty Court Manager, a court may be forfeited for the current time period if play has not commenced fifteen (15) minutes after the commencement of the period due to one or more players not being present.

Balls: New balls shall be distributed at 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekends 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 donated to schools.

Only yellow, pressurized, brand name balls from Wilson, Dunlop, Penn or Slazenger shall be permitted.

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 league teams shall be scheduled on Saturdays or Sundays after 2 p.m. or when possible.

Club Etiquette

All Members and Guests should be aware of the following basic principles when playing a match at the Club:

  • 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 opponent’s 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 ball out 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 mobile devices 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.

(Exec ’20)

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.

Note: A quorum of 35 members is required at the start of the Annual Meeting for the transaction of business.