A Proud Pioneering History in the Creek
FCYC was born on July 23, 1981 when a group of interested local boaters applied to the BC Government under the Society Act to create the False Creek Yacht Club. The next year, 1982, the first club executive members were elected and Barbara Carstensen was chosen as FCYC’s first Commodore. 1983 marked FCYC’s first official sailpast.
At this point in the early 1980s, all FCYC had to show was a group of interested boaters and not much else in the way of facilities. So, the club made the decision to invest in a barge, called the Tantor, which was supposed to serve as a temporary home. A tiny little event got in the way of this grand plan – Expo 86! After Expo, a group of club members attempted to lobby the various levels of government to try to get a permanent spot in False Creek.
The challenge was daunting! FCYC was competing with 30 other organizations, many of which were large commercial operations, for rights to prime real estate in False Creek. With only about 15 signed-up members at that time, the chances of FCYC being successful were very small. The Board decided the only way this ambitious plan would succeed is if the plans for the proposed building were so expertly done that FCYC was positioned with banks and potential lessees to appear much more solid than the Club actually was. So, they decided to commission the same designer and architect responsible for the Calgary Olympics to create the plans and design a three-dimensional mockup of the proposed FCYC building. His name was John Sproule.
To engage such a distinguished architect was incredibly ambitious for such a fledgling club. Essentially, FCYC had no money to pay his fees. So, the Board turned to the membership with a unique offer. For those members who would put up a substantial sum of cash on the slim chance that this money would help FCYC secure the building rights. It was understood that this was a long shot, however, those members would thereafter be considered Honourary Life Members with dues prepaid, and not have to pay any more dues for the remainder of their membership if the bid was successful.
A small portion of the Club members agreed to participate in this scheme and enough money was raised to hire John Sproule to create the plans for the FCYC Clubhouse.
The Result? The designs and mockups were so professionally done that all the approving bodies were convinced that FCYC deserved a place in the Creek. On February 23, 1985, FCYC was able to announce that the Club now had a lease on the parcel of land known as Lots 141 & 142 for the home of the proposed False Creek Yacht Club.
As of November 20th, 1986 when outgoing Commodore Bob Logan handed over the gavel to incoming Commodore, Stan Wilson, FCYC had 248 members. Andersons Restaurants were prospective tenants for the lower floors and since they had to repay the 65-year lease, the design of the building was to be their choice. Bing Thom Architects submitted drawings and a model was presented on March 2, 1987.
On June 11th, 1987 the Hon. Grace McCarthy, accompanied by Mayor Gordon Campbell, officiated at the ground-breaking ceremony on the site of the new FCYC Club building. The Club Lounge was unofficially opened by the members in December 1989. The official grand opening was on May 5th, 1990. Included are some pictures which I took during that time.
Since that date, the False Creek Yacht Club has flourished and is now widely recognized as the “Star of False Creek.”
This is a brief history of the creation of the club and how our beautiful clubhouse came into existence with the foresight of the small group of forward thinking members and the few Life Members who were willing to take the risk for all of us.
Stephan & Terri Smolar