Photo: Peter Power

This past May, the Canadian Gay Open welcomed 175 players from across the world. The CGO is one of three Canadian tournaments on the Gay and Lesbian Tennis Alliance (GLTA) global circuit. Toronto was the circuit’s first-ever Canadian stop, and, since the tournament’s founding in the mid-1990s, the GLTA has added two additional events in Vancouver and Montreal.

As part of our Pride Month celebrations, Tennis Canada spoke with Andrew Matheson, CGO Tournament Director, to learn more about the event and its importance to the 2SLGBTQ+ community.

“It’s really a place to find like-minded friends and participants,” said Andrew. “We pride ourselves on providing a couple of things: 1: a space for competition; and 2: a space to build community, and the fact that we could provide both of those within one tournament venue is great. It’s really a lot about relationship building in many ways, but also providing that outlet for people who are competitive and spirited mind as well when it comes to tennis.”.

Tennis Canada’s purpose is to champion positive tennis experiences with a mission to lead the growth, development, and promotion of the sport. Equity, diversity, and inclusion remains a priority of the organization, and it has an official association with the CGO as an event sponsor. “We’re not a tournament in isolation,” Andrew explained. “Not only are we a part of this greater network of the GLTA, we’re also able to exist because of the participation relationship with sponsors, Tennis Canada being one of them. We work closely with Tennis Canada, especially as it relates to the National Bank Open’s Pride Day, and they have been a great supporter of the CGO tournament.”

The National Bank Open presented by Rogers in Toronto will host a Pride Day on Tuesday, August 6th to welcome, celebrate, and support members of the CGO and the 2SLGBTQ+ community. Fans are invited to access a special offer for Pride Day tickets to save 25% on limited lower bowl seating by using the code TO24PRIDE. For more information on Pride Day, please read here. Details of a similar celebration at the Montreal event are set to be announced shortly.

The CGO event takes place at the Mayfair clubs just north of Toronto: Mayfair East and Mayfair Parkway. “We compliment the tournament venue play with a series of social events and those typically happen right in downtown Toronto.” added Andrew. “One example of that would be our welcome party, where Tennis Canada reps participated. We also had a banquet dinner on the Sunday evening at The Carlu which is downtown. The welcome party this year was at the Anndore House, which is located on Charles Street East. Part of the reason we held it there was because the Anndore House was a new sponsor for this year’s tournament, and they served as the host hotel for about two dozen players.”  

The tournament director credited the CGO 2024 Tournament Committee with the success of this year’s event and noted that in the future, he hopes “to continue to be able to provide a good space for competition and companionship for the gay and lesbian tennis community.”

Participation in the CGO has significantly grown since its creation, both in player participation and volunteer interest, with around 200 people actively involved this year.