What’s Old is New Again

by Peter Malcomson

Jan. 22, 2018

Cedar Springs Health, Racquet and Sportsclub in Burlington is under new ownership and has begun extensive facilities and programming upgrades.

Opened over 40 years ago in a commercial area in Burlington, the Cedar Springs Racquet Club, as it was known then, offered just squash, tennis and a restaurant to its’ membership. The club is located on Cumberland Avenue, just south of the QEW near Walkers line in Burlington. The clubs second owner (since 1980) City of Burlington and Halton Regional Councillor Jack Dennison continued to expand the operations; adding fitness classes, indoor and outdoor water parks, a yoga studio, a basketball gymnasium, badminton courts, a pro shop and more. The club currently has 11 permanent indoor tennis courts and 2 outdoor tennis courts. The club originally opened when the first tennis boom was underway; Borg and McEnroe were taking the game to new heights. At its peak, the club had over 1,500 year-round members and was a major GTA tennis hub. Many tournaments and other tennis events were held there, including OTA sanctioned tournaments.

The club has had a long-time relationship with ACE Tennis – one of the GTA’s biggest and best known high performance training academies. Formerly known as the All Canadian Tennis Academy, its owner and founder Pierre Lamarche saw early on that the facility was an excellent venue to train some of the country’s top junior tennis prospects – ACE has been at the club since 1998 and in fact was operating there (as All Canadian) in the ‘70s for a period of time.

Cedar Springs has been a go-to tennis destination for over 40 years.

The facility, in partnership with ACE has been instrumental in helping to dramatically grow the OTA’s winter tournament schedule for competitive juniors. Working with the club management, ACE now hosts over 70 tournaments a year, mostly in the critical winter months when indoor court availability is tight.

So – what about the future of the club? Enter the Bradaric family.

Ivan Bradaric, a local real estate investor and engineer, has been a member of Cedar Springs for over 12 years. When Mr. Dennison made his intentions known with respect to selling the facility, Mr. Bradaric offered to purchase it. A deal was done and Cedar Springs was acquired by Mr. Bradaric in the spring of 2016.

Here’s a little background on Mr. Bradaric. He left Croatia to come to Canada in 1965 where he was given his first opportunity to work for the Ford Motor Company. He and his wife Ann learned the English language and put themselves through college while holding full time jobs and having 2 young children. Ivan then began working at Niagara College in Welland Ontario where he became the program coordinator for their Power Engineering program. From there, through his company IBA Enterprises, he consulted with several large companies including St. Lawrence Starch, Imperial Tobacco and Stelco. During this time he settled in Burlington, raised a family, joined the local Chamber of Commerce and began to acquire real estate in the Burlington area. He and his wife Ann are enthusiastic tennis lovers and when the opportunity arose to acquire Cedar Springs, he looked at it as a great opportunity to combine his passion for sport and business. He has a vision to upgrade the facility to ensure that it remains a family friendly sports and social club that services the people of Halton Region. “I’m very excited to service the community. Nothing will change other than the quality of Cedar Springs”.

Cedar Springs - a great place to play tennis, work out, enjoy some family time and meet new friends.

To that end, the 200,000 square foot club has already undergone some significant structural and design upgrades under the guidance of Mr. Bradaric and his son Rob, who left his hi-tech position with Oracle-NetSuite to become the club’s General Manager. The tennis roof has already been upgraded, as has the front reception area and the tennis court lighting. As well, the men’s, women’s and family locker room areas for have been newly renovated including the addition of steam and saunas. On the fitness side, 53 new pieces of fitness equipment have been purchased and the fitness schedule is constantly evolving with the addition of new classes. The newly renovated special events rooms can cater to birthday parties to family events like weddings, showers, etc. Future upgrades and renovations include revitalizing the childminding area and upgrade of the fitness studios as well as the addition of fun programming for adults and children and a new more user friendly website (cedarspringsclub.ca) and booking system.

The club has recently undergone extensive upgrades.

“A lot of people thought that once Mr. Dennison sold the club it was going to close down and be repurposed for another business” said Rob recently. “My father had a different vision. He wanted to improve every aspect of the club and restore it as a premiere family friendly club that can be enjoyed by the people of Halton Region. We want to give back to the community”. Speaking of “We”, the upgrades to the club and programming at Cedar Springs are truly a family affair with Ivan’s wife Ann also contributing to the improvements by adding a women’s touch and attention to the details in the decor as well as taking leadership on all social events like wine and beer tasting for all of the members to enjoy. The couple and their grandchildren can often be seen together at the club enjoying the facilities.

Of course, rebuilding and improving the club is only one aspect of its revival. Rob has reached out to schools in the area to offer free or low cost use of their facilities and has also improved the programming offered to members – including a terrific summer camp program, swim program, child fitness, karate, racquet sports to name a few.

New Director of Tennis Natalie Armitage with Club GM Rob Bradaric.

Tennis has long been a foundation of the membership at Cedar Springs but over the years, the tennis membership has declined. Since the new ownership stepped in, all that has changed. The team is committed to do everything possible to reinvigorate the membership and reach out to the players in the region and those changes have already increased the membership count. “One of the greatest strengths this club has always had is its members; without them there really is no club. We are committed to making Cedar Springs the go-to tennis, sports and fitness clubs in the GTA”. One of the most positive steps that the club took recently was to hire long time Cedar Springs pro Natalie Armitage to the position of Director of Tennis.

“I am really excited to be a part of the new management and new vision of Cedar Springs. We offer a lot of programs that fits every level of player from beginner to expert, from young to old. I look forward to sharing my life-long passion of tennis with others.”

At a time when there is an increased demand for indoor tennis in the province, it is great to see that, instead of closing the doors of yet another indoor tennis facility, the Bradaric family is not only keeping the doors open but is also making wonderful improvements to one of the most important indoor clubs in the region. A great family decision for a great family destination!

For more information on Cedar Springs Health, Racquet and Sportsclub, visit cedarspringsclub.ca