Private clubs were first formed in the 18th century in London for aristocratic gentlemen as a place where they could relax, do business, or mingle with their friends. As Britain’s middle classes became richer, they wanted their own clubs. These days, many private clubs are cosmopolitan affairs, counting women members and seeking creative professionals for an edgy atmosphere. Canadian private clubs also have a long history, with a few longstanding clubs with wide-ranging membership criteria. Here’s our pick of private clubs in Vancouver.
915 West Hastings Street
Established in 1889
The oldest club in our vibrant city, full of old-world charm and looking to the future at the same time, The Vancouver Club can be found in a heritage building that’s a fine piece of real estate. It was the old gentlemen’s club at first, but it changed in the 1990s when it allowed women to become full members. Members are people from industries of every stripe, from diverse local companies and young creative organizations to global ventures.
The Vancouver Club
This club is the best place to dine, play, relax, and connect with other professionals who are the creative energy of the West Coast. You may fully enjoy your adult world, as kids are not allowed, except Friday nights in the Grill, or on special occasions like Christmas or Easter and the annual Princess Ball (where you can make your little girl’s dream come true). The Vancouver club boasts its own in-house barbershop, wine- and spirit-tasting rooms, fine cuisine led by the expert passion of executive chef Sean Cousins, Bar III — the perfect place to play poker or have a cocktail, and the $2 million wine cellar (the club is one of the largest wine buyers in BC) that can no doubt satisfy everyone.
Dessert Table at The Vancouver Club
Of course, there are rules that need to be followed. Unless you have a private room for a business meeting, you cannot have your papers on your table. Always keep the dress code in mind; business casual is the minimum, so no denim or sportswear. Women are allowed to wear pants (but dresses are preferred), while men have to wear a jacket (or blazer) in the Georgian Room. Leave your cell at home, but if you are too attached to this piece of technology, keep in mind that cellphone use is banned outside of the special phone booths. If you think this is exactly what you’re looking for and that you’ll fit right in, you will require a proposer, a seconder, and three references.
Barber Shop at Vancouver Club
Other Perks: Men’s Black Tie Lobster dinner, a port and chocolate tasting, live jazz in Bar 3, father and sons dinner
Fees: Entrance starts at $68 a month for three years and monthly dues start at $104, details available online
837 West Hastings Street
Established in 1892
Terminal City Club has always played an important role in the city, with its members making significant contributions to the business and political activity of the City of Vancouver and the Province of British Columbia. Much like the Vancouver Club, this club is also a mix of history and modernism, and everything here screams luxury. It’s a favourite place for Vancouver’s finance sector.
Reading Room at Terminal City Club
This club is rather expensive, but it is for rich people who have money to burn, right? The pretty steep coin gains access the to club’s facilities: two restaurants, a fitness centre, a lounge, The Lions pub (a gorgeous piece of Gastown history), a snooker room (everything here is so British), a reading room downstairs with beautiful oak desks and armchairs, and the cherry on top, a 25-metre ozonated (chlorine-free), glass-encased pool with views of the North Shore Mountain Range.
Terminal City Club has a strict dress code as well: business attire is a must, and you are not allowed to use your cellphone. Play it cool and go back to the good old days by using a small telephone booth to make your calls. Kids are allowed, and for some this might be a downside. Membership is obtained through the acquisition of a common share, and all applicants are presented to the Board of Directors for approval and are then put forward to the membership for balloting.
Swimming Pool at Terminal City Club
Tip: Book a night at Terminal City’s boutique hotel (so what if you don’t live far away?), which has 143 excellent/very good reviews out of 159, and get a guest entry to the club.
Other Perks: the 1892 Restaurant with incredibly flavourful cuisine and an award-winning wine list, over 160 reciprocal arrangements with clubs worldwide
Fees: Initiation fee starts at $8,849 with $246.50 in monthly dues for people over 45
950 Cross Creek Road, West Vancouver
Established in 1963
This Hamptons-style club situated mountainside on 42 acres of West Vancouver’s renowned British Properties is probably the best fitness club in B.C. and a key to a better and healthier life. Besides sports, this is also a private hub for dining, entertaining, socializing, and business. The Hollyburn Country Club caters to the modern family and its demanding lifestyle, offering swimming pools, twenty-five tennis courts, seven squash courts, three ice rinks, fitness facilities, a wellness centre, and many lessons to choose from: badminton, hockey, karate, figure skating, curling, cycling, and more.
Hollyburn Country Club
It’s a great place to take your kids, and if they’re not crazy for sports, put them in the homework room, where they are taken care of, and as a reward for good grades at school, you can arrange a birthday party here for them. The food is great, and the view of the city is stunning — you can choose to eat on the outdoor deck, taking in the Burrard Inlet and Mount Baker.
Fitness at Hollyburn Country Club
Other Perks: 90 affiliated clubs worldwide and spring and summer camps for kids (so you can have a break and enjoy the facilities yourself)
Fees: $45,000 for a lifetime family membership (plus applicable taxes) and monthly dues starting at $277
3811 Point Grey Road (the main clubhouse)
Established in 1903
Different from the other listed clubs (but worth mentioning), The Royal Vancouver Yacht Club is based on the principles of tradition, volunteerism, and a love of yachting. It has much to offer everyone who’s into yachts and sailing (and more). Without doubt, this is also one of the best kept secrets in Vancouver for fine dining and they have an excellent wine selection. The Club has nine yachting facilities, including two Vancouver marinas (the Jericho Clubhouse accommodates a wide range of club and private functions and Coal Harbour Marina & Restaurant provides simple breakfast and lunch in a relaxed atmosphere) and seven offshore stations. Another bonus is The Nautical Library, where members can enjoy books by yachters for yachters, the RVYC community for women, and the many yacht programs and events.
Yachts at Vancouver Harbour
There is not much public information about this club to find, and we were told by Melissa Seraglio, club liaison, that
because the Club is of a private nature, we unfortunately will not be able to provide you with the information you are looking for.
Fancy a ride?
A prospective member must be proposed and seconded by Active, Honorary Life, or Special club members. The proposer vouches for the character and suitability of the applicant. The process takes about three months and has several stages.
Tip: A nice place to hold a wedding
Fees: On request