Woodbine Entertainment Group

Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG), originally the Ontario Jockey Club, operates two horse racing racetracks, a casino and off-track betting stations in the Greater Toronto Area of Ontario, Canada. Woobine also owns and operates the Canadian digital television service, HPItv and operates Canada's only online wagering platform for horse racing HorsePlayer Interactive.[1] WEG is responsible for operations of the race track at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto and also operates at Woodbine Mohawk Park in Campbellville, Ontario.[2] It employs over 2,300 people in its operation. Woodbine Entertainment Group also operated the Turf Lounge from 2003 to 2015.[3]

HistoryEdit

The Ontario Jockey Club (OJC) was founded in 1881 to improve the quality of horse racing in the city of Toronto. William Hendrie, President of the Ontario Jockey Club, and of the Hendrie Co., Limited, was a railway promoter and capitalist who was the founder of one of the most prominent families in the history of Thoroughbred racing in Canada. With the creation of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1976, Hendrie was elected to the Builders category.[4] [5]

In the 19th century, the city of Toronto had several racetracks. The OJC operated from the Greenwood Race Track, a facility then known as Woodbine Race Track.

In 1953, E. P. Taylor became president of the Ontario Jockey Club. During his term, Taylor bought out competing tracks, making the OJC the largest operation in the province, starting with the Thorncliffe Park Raceway. In 1955, the OJC bought out the Dufferin Park Racetrack and the Long Branch Racetrack from the Orpen family. The tracks were closed and their important stakes races were moved to the new Woodbine which opened in 1956. Hamilton and Stamford tracks were also bought and closed. In 1962, the club bought out the Fort Erie Racetrack and OJC tracks now held all three races of the Canadian Triple Crown. In 1963, the OJC opened the Mohawk Raceway harness racing track in Campbellville, Ontario.

As other gambling was gradually legalized in Ontario, horse racing declined. In 1996, the old Woodbine was closed and developed as a housing subdivision. The Government of Ontario, introducing more sport lotteries, starting installing gambling machines in race tracks and installed a gaming room, known as Casino Woodbine at Woodbine. In 2001, the Ontario Jockey Club changed its name to Woodbine Entertainment Group to reflect its expanded focus. In 2007, Woodbine's harness racing operations were moved to Mohawk. In 2012, the Fort Erie Racetrack was threatened with closure when it was unable to add slot machines. The WEG operated the track for one more season, then sold the track in 2014. The casino at Woodbine, operated by Ontario Lotteries, was transferred to Great Canadian Gaming Corporation in 2018.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "HorsePlayer Interactive". Woodbine Entertainment Group. 2019-03-10. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
  2. ^ "Woodbine Racetrack". Woodbine Entertainment Group. 2019-03-10. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
  3. ^ "Woodbine to Close Upscale Turf Lounge". Bloodhorse. Retrieved 11 Oct 2016.
  4. ^ Morgan, Henry James, ed. (1903). Types of Canadian Women and of Women who are or have been Connected with Canada. Toronto: Williams Briggs. p. 155.
  5. ^ "William Hendrie". Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. 1976-01-01. Retrieved 2019-03-10.