The Tillman Briggs Capital Fund was established in December 2021 to support fund-raising for expansion and renovation of the James Bay Athletic Association (JBAA ) Clubhouse.
The James Bay Athletic Association was founded in 1886. It is the oldest Canadian sports organization west of Montreal and has a proud history including 25 provincial championships. The current JBAA clubhouse was built in 1967 and had major upgrades in 1986 and 1987. A major overhaul (see plans) is planned to begin immediately along with a major fund-raising campaign.
The Tillman Briggs James Bay Capital Fund has two primary purposes:
1. The more immediate purpose is to raise and invest funds used in the expansion and renovation of the JBAA Clubhouse located at 205 Simcoe Street, beside MacDonald Park. Funds collected in the capital campaign and interest earned on those contributions will be withdrawn as construction proceeds and will not incur penalties under the minimum term provisions of the MOA.
2. An endowment fund to finance the JBAA club premise’s annual operating and maintenance expenses from annual interest disbursements. Additional funds raised will be added to that Tillman Briggs James Bay Capital Fund unless directed differently by the donor and fund representatives.
Background story on the renovation follows:
205 SIMCOE BUILDING RENOVATION
Built by club members in 1891, JBAA’s first clubhouse was on Belleville street, overlooking the inner harbour. It was two stories high and had a floating boat house to go along with it.
We stayed in the inner harbour until 1928 when we moved to the Gorge, and in the late 30s we spent some time in Vic West on Roberts street. Then, for a time, we would meet in either coach and manager Alex MacDonald’s basement or at the Pro Pat’s legion, or, according to club legend Hans de Goede, at the Saanich municipal hall.
But in 1967 we moved to our present location at 205 Simcoe Street, right beside our home field of MacDonald Park. Sonny Vickery was instrumental and a key part in ensuring the move – and build – was a massive success. And we haven’t moved since. Hans mentioned that our old clubhouse was in fact loaded onto a truck and then driven down Douglas Street by Jack Reed, finally let down onto a waiting foundation at 205 Simcoe, but we weren’t sure which structure that was. We suggest contacting Hans to get the details behind how it all worked out.
We did one massive upgrade in 1986 and 1987 with a ton of input from JBAA icon Tillman Briggs, especially regarding the never-vandalized-or-graffitied-grey stucco (definitely a testament to his character and spirit). It was a bold plan at the time, but it worked out well. We doubled the size and we doubled the capacity. The clubhouse you see today is the 1987 clubhouse. Eric Forsyth, from the Three-Pete era, appended an interesting-looking chin-up structure in or around 2005 in the north corner of our lot, and many smaller renovations have been completed in the last thirty-three years, but nothing to the scale we have planned for the summer of 2021.
TIME TO RENOVATE
The club has grown, thank goodness, and today its physical stature isn’t meeting the needs of the club membership. Club captain Blake van Heyningen and his ever-growing whiteboard-record-keeping-meatheads are a bit cramped now – and not because of the weight gain from incessant Chicken on the Run ingestion. Early morning fitness enthusiasts collide with the Bad Boy’s Boot Camp all too often – but on nice terms, of course (sometimes). And AGMs and executive meetings are getting a bit tight.
So Hans, and every last person he can get to help, will modernize it. The plans look promising, though not yet finalized. The building will expand, and the north and south corners of our lot, including Big E’s chin-up instrument, are to be absorbed adding another 600 or so square feet to both upstairs and downstairs; stairwells will be moved to free up space; the downstairs will look completely different and have higher ceilings and a much larger gym; the Mel’s Diner beacon will continue to shine brightly and loudly above a larger bar; referees will have a private shower and bathroom, and handicap access will be added for greater accessibility.
Hans hoped to lift the building, but our relationship with the Blue Heron Montessori Daycare is too strong, and we need the regular influx of cash from their rent to keep the lights on; asking them to put their business on hold so a Dutchman can lift a building just won’t fly. So instead Hans will dig. It’s his hope and plan to open up the northwest wall of the clubhouse, get an excavator in there, and dig and dig, and then build and build and build some more.
Some of the drawings are included below, and hopefully, they help in painting a picture in your mind of exactly what this new, modern clubhouse will look like. Unfortunately, a floating boat house is not planned at this time.
As mentioned, it’s our hope to be boots on the ground next summer, but there are a lot of moving parts: there’s winning approval from the beloved City of Victoria, there’s ensuring our benefactor list continues to grow – and it will, there’s working within a Dutch budget, and, finally, there’s making sure all hands are on deck. When asked what the most important thing was in order to get this project underway, Hans said:
USE THE FORM BELOW TO DONATE TO THE TILLMAN BRIGGS CAPITAL FUND: