Lyford Cay was named after Captain William Lyford Jr., who was awarded the land by Royal Decree from King George III in 1788. The modern history of the island began when Canadian industrialist and thoroughbred horse breeder E. P. Taylor, affectionately known as Eddie, visited Nassau in 1945. He was intrigued by the western end of New Providence island, then patchy dirt roads and Mangrove swamps. Trained as an engineer and a successful developer in Toronto, Taylor had a vision and purchased the 2,800-acre parcel of land from Sir Harold Christie in 1955.
Taylor assembled a world-class team of community planners and landscape designers and began work on a masterfully designed luxury community. Construction began in November 1956 with acres of marshland transformed by feats of modern engineering into rolling hills, arable land, and a golf course. Roads were carved through rock, thousands of truckloads of fill were moved into place, and water diverting canals were created to finally bring Taylor's vision of Bahamian paradise to life.