The world-class indoor facility along with admirable outdoor fields, allowed for year-round polo. By 1969 the TPC boasted a membership roster of over 40 playing members, and the facility had been used by a number of illustrious guests, including Prince Philip.
In 1979 Col. Sifton, by now an ambassador of Polo in Canada, saw an opportunity to merge his love of polo with his commitment to philanthropy. In partnership with The Heart Action Committee he held the first Polo For Heart event, a charity polo tournament to raise funds for heart-related research (his father, had died of a stroke) to take place on the TPC grounds.
The inaugural event was a resounding success with a crowd of over 600 spectators and raising $25,000.
Col. Sifton championed the event for the next 16 years until his passing, when his wife Heather Sifton, a competitive rider herself, along with their sons Cliff, Michael and Derek continued his legacy.
To this day, nearly 40 years after the original Polo For Heart, The Sifton family continues play a vital role in the event. Cliff acts as honorary Chairman, Derek sits on the Executive Committee, and one of Col. Sifton’s grandsons sits on the Junior Executive Committee as well as competes as a part of Team Canada at the event.
Starting with Col. Sifton’s vision to join polo and philanthropy, Polo For Heart has now become Canada’s largest and longest running charity polo event, in fact it is now truly an international event, with players hailing from as far away as Ireland, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, England, South Africa and the United States.
BEYOND POLO FOR HEART
Col. Sifton is often referred to as the Ambassador of Polo in Canada; he raised the profile of the sport in our country more than any other player before or since.
In a New York Times interview, from July 1970, Col. Sifton discussed his value of the sport “Polo is important to me, I have a fair amount of pressure in regular business activities…I think there is a tremendous physical relationship between physical fitness and the ability to withstand pressures.”
Today, nearly six decades after Col. Sifton established the TPC; it has one of the largest memberships in all of Canada. The club has grown to include three unique facilities, under three different ownership groups, giving members access to an impressive seven outdoor fields, two outdoor arenas, one indoor arena and two polo schools.
Spanning three decades the club boasts a remarkable eight National Interscholastic Championships (1977, 1979, 1984, 1987, 1988, 2006-2008) and one National Intercollegiate Championship in 1980 by TPC members attending York University. In recent years, Western University in London, Ontario, began an intercollegiate team consisting entirely of Toronto Polo Club members. Last year, in only their second year they reached the semifinals of the National Intercollegiate Championship. Meanwhile most recently, Toronto Polo Club’s women’s interscholastic team qualified for the 2017 Girls’ National Interscholastic Championship.
In 2015, Col. Sifton was awarded The Posthumous Philip Iglehart Award for outstanding lifetime contributions to polo.