THE STORY OF THE ROTARY CLUB OF BURNABY
by Milt Wylie, Club Historian
Click on thumbnail photos to enlarge them.
Milt Wylie, President of our
club in 1964-65, was kind enough to agree to provide some historical information about our club.
This will give everyone a better idea of our beginnings, how some things
change, and some things stay the same. It
will certainly be enjoyable.
The following are some
interesting stories from the archives of the Rotary Club of Burnaby.
Gai Paree Restaurant, owned by the Morin family. Photo shows the sign
when the place closed. Rotary used to meet there and the Burnaby
Kingsway Rotary Club held the last public function there, a meeting on
Dec. 27. 1975.
Bob Hope at a cheque presentation ceremoney with Rotary in
are listed below. Please scroll down to the relevant stories. I hope to add
1 - Our Beginnings
2 - Rotary Club of Kingsway 1
3 - Rotary Club of Kingsway 2
4 - The Later 1950s
5 - Art Bunker and the Duke of Bedford in 1956
6 - The Early 1960s
7 - Burnaby-Hastings Rotary Club
8 - Our Presidents During the Early 1960s
9 - Kamloops Trip & Rotary Ann Group
10 - The Later 1960s - The Rotary Foundation
11 - Our First Group Study Exchange
12 - Our First Rotary Foundation Students
13 - Rotary Foundation Students
14 - Club Presidents of the Later 1960s
15 - Art Says
16 - Jack
Ravenhill – 1966-67
17 - Sam Robinson – 1967-68
18 - Sid Sheard
19 - The Pioneers Club Breakfast
20 - Reg Milway – 1969-70 (Part 1 of 2)
Granting Our First Paul Harris Fellowship
21 - Reg Milway – 1969-70 (Part 2 of 2)
22 - Gus
Cruikshank, Foundation Student from Grenada – 1973-74
23 - 1970-1971
24 - Mel Spowart 1971 – 1972
25 - Ian Young 1972 – 1973
- Chris Williams 1973 – 1974
- President: Cliff Adkins 1974 – 1975
28 - RCMP Operation ID 1975-76;
RCMP Crime Prevention Van – 1985
Centre, Lopburi, Thailand;
29 - Meet a New Member – Taffara Deguefé
30 - 1975-1976 Erwin Swangard
31 - 1976 – 1977 President – Bert Price;
District Governor – Gordon Christopher
32 - 1977-1978 President – Gerry Woodside;
Secretary – Bart McCafferky
33 - 1978-1979 President – Ron Speller; Secretary – Cliff Murnane
- 1979-1980 President – Bart McCafferty; Secretary – Cliff Murnane;
District Governor – Bill Keenlyside
ROTARY CLUB OF KINGSWAY
Charter Presentation Night
Dinner and Musical Programme
June 20th, 1947 at 7 p.m.
In the Rotary Year
1946-47, President Jim Lightbody of the Vancouver Club appointed Nat Bailey and
Vern Whitworth to investigate the possibility of extending Rotary by forming
clubs in the Marpole and Kingsway areas. The
Marpole Club was slightly ahead of us, but on April 11, 1947, the first meeting
of prospective members was held. The
guest list included six from the parent Vancouver Club and three from the newly
formed Marpole Club.
The Grand Charter night
for our Club, named the Rotary Club of Kingsway (Vancouver), was held at the
Hotel Vancouver on Friday, June 20, 1947. Please
note the cost on the attached copy of a ticket for the event. (The following ticket is a
reasonable facsimile of the original).
PART 2 - Rotary Club of Kingsway
chartered Rotary Club of Kingsway had 23 members with Ronald Poole as its first
President. The Club has its core in
the Kingsway and Joyce (Collingwood) area and met in a nearby restaurant called
deeply indebted to our Charter Treasurer, Lyle Jenkins, the manager of the Bank
of Commerce. Lyle maintained very
complete scrapbooks, which provide a great deal of information about the first
two years of the Club’s activity. In
those days, a write up of each meeting appeared in the local weekly newspaper.
The clippings in the scrapbook certainly indicate that the Club started
off with vigor and an active interest in the community.
father of our Club, Vern Whitworth, remained a member of the Vancouver Club but
frequently attended the Kingsway Club as an Honorary Member. His brother, Lyle, was a charter member of the Club and
provided much of the historical information used for our 40th
anniversary celebration in 1987.
names of the charter list that are most familiar to some of our older members
include Les Newson, who served as President in 1955-56; Ron Perry, who joined
the ranks of the Vancouver East Club as one of its charter members; and Dr.
Keith Whittaker, who for many years was the only charter member still regularly
attending the Club.
early recruit to the newly formed Club was Jack Christiansen, a lover of music
and fine fellowship. Jack served as
the Club’s second President in 1948-49. Many
of us remember Jack at the piano leading all in a resounding rendition of his
early recruit who gave strong leadership to the Kingsway Club for many years was
Dr. Ed Blonde. Ed served as third
President in 1949-50 and is remembered for his strong adherence to the
Principles of Rotary. Ed moved on
to the Vancouver Rotary Club where he served as its President and was active in
the Club and District Affairs. On
anniversary occasions, we would call on Ed to reminisce about the early days and
development of the Club.
PART 3 - Rotary Club of Kingsway
the early fifties, the Rotary Club of Kingsway (Vancouver) had about
30 members and was already achieving high percentage attendance averages of
over 94%. The Club met at La Rons restaurant
in the Collingwood area.
Club Presidents in the early fifties were:
* George Sanford - 1950-51 (Paint Distribution)
* George Earnshaw - 1951-52
(Insurance) - who left Kingsway to help form the Vancouver East Rotary Club in 1962
* Joe Hicks - 1953-54 - who ran the Safeway store on
* Doug Cavaye - 1954-55 - who was the
Manager of the Canadian Bank of Commerce, Joyce Road and Kingsway.
One of the major projects of the Club in those days was
support for the
CNIB Salmon Derby. The Club supplied the prizes and members volunteered to
help man the boats so that the visually impaired could have a
day on the
water and enjoy the thrill of reeling in "a big one".
Money was not easy to come by in those days. The Club
sponsored a Talent
Quest in 1952, which produced a profit of $183.64, a hockey ticket
that netted all of $3.40, and a concert by the Trail Men's
brought in another $141.14. In those days, the Club was a major
of the South Burnaby Little League and was able to contribute
that cause in 1953.
The Kingsway Club established a reputation for its fine fellowship, love of
singing, and good humour. The essence of a Rotary Club is its
some of the names remembered by several of us include Dr. Ed
left us to join the Vancouver Rotary
Club; Art Bunker, who as a past
President, attended our 40th reunion in 1987 and proved that
he had lost
none of his distinctive humour; Jack
Christiansen, who led the robust
singing sessions; J.P. Dickson, florist and humorist, who was
CBC gardening programs of the fifties; Rev.
Stu Faulks, of St. John's
Anglican Central Park; Roy Kilby, of Printcraft, who supplied
rosters and printed Club bulletins; Ron
Perry, of Kumfort Heating, a
charter member of our Club who also left us to help establish the Vancouver East Club; Nick Rossmo, portrait photographer, who took pictures of members
for the roster, and Dr. Keith Whittaker,
another charter member, who
remained with the Club until he moved East to live with his
son in 1980.
Many of us recall his personal reminiscences
of the Club, which he
presented at his last meeting.
PART 4 -
The Later 1950s
Kingsway Rotary Club moved its meeting site to the smart
new Astor Hotel in 1955. This, together with its
fun and fellowship programs,
greatly enhanced the popularity of the club as
"THE" place to make up, particularly since Kingsway was the only
Friday club in the Vancouver area. We could regularly count
on 15-20 visitors at each meeting, including several from overseas
LES NEWSON - 1955-56 (Paint Distribution).
Father of our subsequent member, RAY NEWSON. LES travelled from the
Okanogan to attend our 40th
Anniversary celebration in 1987. His was the
year of the great orange drive when the club raised the then huge amount of
$1,644.10 through a door-to-door blitz selling oranges.
ART BUNKER - 1956-57 (Furniture Manufacturing).
The distinct brand of humour with which ART led
the Club was recognized at a subsequent
installation when a giant box was brought it.
Unfortunately, it didn't contain Jane Mansfield (as he had hinted),
or even a dancing girl, only a mannequin.
JOE TUERO - 1957-58 (Accounting Services). The major project during
Joe's year was the building of a wishing well at Burnaby's new park atop
MAURICE FOX - 1958-59 (Roofing). Several of us
MAURICE for his desire that programs include a
good balance of Rotary principles and
information. New members were hosted at fireside meetings
which were the
forerunner of our Wheelers group.
REV. STU FAULKES - 1959-60 (Religion).
REV. Stu's installation was conducted by that good friend of Rotary, District Governor TOMMY MORGAN
New Westminster. STU is remembered of his warm humour and encouragement of
the musical fellowship that JACK CHRISTIANSEN and RUDY MORIN brought to the
It was also during these years that the principle of good
attendance was established in the Club. Perfect
attendance pins for several years were being awarded to many
of the members and the Club even started to try to achieve as many
perfect attendance meetings for the entire
Club as possible.
PART 5 - Art Bunker and
the Duke of Bedford in 1956
Art Bunker in 1965
President, ART BUNKER, had a story to tell us:
I was President in 1956, I lived in New Westminster. A friend by the
name of Jim Russell was a reporter for the Columbian newspaper. He
was a tenth cousin of John Russell, the Duke of Bedford. Jim phoned
to tell me that the Duke and Duchess were to be in Vancouver for 10 days,
to show several million dollars worth of paintings and other treasures at
the Art Gallery. Also, as I found out, to push a book he had written
called “The Silver Spoon”. (He gave me an autographed copy.)
11:00 p.m., on a Monday night, I phoned the Duke at the Georgia Hotel.
I told him who I was and said that I was President of a small Rotary Club
in Burnaby, which was next to Vancouver. I asked him if he would be
interested in speaking to our Club of about 35 members for half an hour at
lunch on Friday and he agreed. I checked with our Program Chairman
to cancel the program he had already arranged. That was fine and it
was suggested that we invite the ladies, feeling sure that the ladies
would like to see this tall, good looking Duke, and would fill the room at
the Astor Hotel.
met the Duke at the Art Gallery, drove him around some of the better parts
of Vancouver, and brought him to lunch. It so happened that my
Rattan manufacturing had gone into bankruptcy at that time, while he had
become the first of the large estates in England to start charging a
shilling admission on weekends, to help pay some of the upkeep. When
I introduced him at lunch, I said how much I had enjoyed spending the last
hour with His Grace and found out that we both had something in
common...we were both broke! When I took him back to the Art
Gallery, the Duchess was really mad at me that I had not invited her, as
the ladies were there. I had a hard time talking my way out of that.
years later I was in England and decided to see Woburn Abbey, in Bedford.
I went up on a weekend, paid my shilling, and waited in line to see the
Duke. When I reached him, he shook my hand, looked at me for a
minute, couldn’t remember my name, but said “Rotary Club of
Kingsway”. We left a crowd standing there, he took me into a room
where I had not yet been, and there on the wall was a banner that Rudy
Morin had done. We had put the banner up over the head table at the
Rotary lunch and the Duke had rolled it up and taken it with him.
the way, the Club was pleased to honour Art with a Paul Harris Fellowship
PART 6 - THE
was during this period that the Kingsway Rotary Club started to play a
strong role in district activities. District 504 at the time
consisted of the clubs in Alaska, those clubs in Washington State north of
Seattle, and the Western Mainland clubs in British Columbia. The
practice in selecting district governors was to have the governor from
British Columbia every second year with representation from Alaska and
Washington State acting alternately during the intervening years.
The affairs of this wide-spread district were entirely in the hands of the
district governor assisted by a very small committee of four or five
district minded individuals.
annual visit of the District Governor has always been a significant event
in the Rotary year. In those days, the Governor would address our
Friday noon meeting and attend an evening dinner meeting with the Club
directors, committee chairman and interested members. He would
receive and comment on reports of Club activities. In 1964,
Vice-President, TED O’CONNOR, with the assistance of BERT PRICE,
prepared a comprehensive booklet of committee reports for presentation to
the District Governor with copies for all members. This practice has
been followed each year since, although in later years the booklet has
been used as an information and planning guide for the coming year.
7 - Burnaby-Hastings Rotary Club
recent months we have had the privilege of welcoming several members of
the former Burnaby-Hastings Rotary Club as members and guests at the
Burnaby Club. They have included two charter members of the Hastings
Rotary Club – Dr. Bill Hartwick and Paul Di Fonzo. Paul has
kindly supplied us with a brief history of the Burnaby-Hastings Rotary
Club which we are pleased to present to our members. He has added
his Charter Presentation brochure which is also reproduced. It has
been most interesting to note so many names of people who were or who
became outstanding Rotarians in our district. Maurice Fox was
president of the Kingsway Club at the time and presented a lectern to the
newly formed Club.
Brief History of the Burnaby-Hastings Rotary Club
Rev. Harry MacDonald who was minister of the United Church of Canada in
Revelstoke, B.C. for seven years was transferred to the United Church in
Vancouver at Hastings and Penticton streets in 1958.
noted that there was no local Rotary Club in this area and that he wanted
to continue his affiliation with Rotary as he had been a Rotarian in
Revelstoke for seven years.
approached the Vancouver Club, who controlled the area at that time, to
inquire if they were interested in forming a club in the North East sector
of Vancouver and North Burnaby. Two prominent Rotarians of the
Vancouver club were given the task to organize this...Robin Dick and Harry
Kemp. They approached the Hastings Chamber of Commerce and the North
Burnaby Business Association, as well as other prominent business persons
in these two communities. Robin and Harry were successful in
acquiring a nucleus of 23 members who would become Charter Members of this
newly expanded Rotary area.
mid-July of 1959 the 23 members began to meet Wednesday evenings at 6:15
p.m. at the Admiral Hotel in North Burnaby as a provisional club under the
guidance of Robin and Harry. We met faithfully every week and
absorbed all the information given to us on what was expected of us in
running a Rotary Club.
charter banquet was held on November 25, 1959, a good 150 persons in
attendance. Dr. Bill Hartwick was Charter Vice-President and
Paul Di Fonzo was Charter Sergeant at Arms. The Charter came
December 3, 1959. We continued meeting Wednesday evenings for two
years, then moved to a Monday luncheon meeting.
Club stayed at the Admiral Hotel for 15 years.
May of 1974 we moved to the Burnaby Villa, which later became the Sheraton
Villa, where we stayed for 17 years. In 1997 (May) the Board decided
on another move, this time to the Coast Atrium Inn at Hastings and Renfrew
streets. The Club’s stay there was for seven years. Our last
move was to the ABC Restaurant at Kensington Plaza 6500 East Hastings
Street, North Burnaby.
Club had great difficulty in obtaining members in our later years.
Burnaby-Hastings Rotary club did reach a membership of 45 at its peak.
the time of formation, it was the second Club that Burnaby had. The
Club did a lot of good work locally and internationally as well.
first President, Rev. Harry MacDonald’s first project was a “Courtesy
Contest” for the sales clerks in Hastings and North Burnaby. The
following year, 1960, the Board planned to start up a Rotary Brass
Marching Band, which lasted for 12 years.
1968 a major project to ship a huge x-ray unit to the Chiengmai Hospital
in Northern Thailand was very successful under our International Director,
several years the Club provided leadership in making contributions to
Operation Eyesight. Club members visited India to witness some of
the over 50,000 cataract surgeries performed from Burnaby-Hastings Club
previously noted, falling membership, unable to attract new ones, the Club
was down to 16 and the Board decided after 44 years to disband after
exactly all possible ideas were discussed to remain as a Club. The
Club ceased operations in late June 2003.
PART 8 - OUR
PRESIDENTS DURING THE EARLY 1960s
JOHN HOU - 1960-61. JOHN was very interested in District activities and
become District Governor in 1973-74. He tried to
make certain that the Club functioned well in all four avenues of service.
- 1961-62. With his strong sporting and
hockey background, SCOTTY made certain that we supported youth
activities in the community. DOUG BALLENTYNE, BART BARTLETT,
JACK CHRISTIANSEN, GEORGE EARNSHAW, RON PERRY and JOE TUERO
worked hard to found Kingsway's first offspring, the Vancouver East Rotary Club,
now Vancouver Collingwood Club. It was in 1961 that Burnaby Municipal
Clerk, CHARLIE BROWN, began several years of service as Club Secretary.
ROSS JACKSON - 1962-63. ROSS made certain that the Kingsway Club continued
to maintain its high reputation for fun and fellowship. During this period
we continued to have an average of about 20
visiting Rotarians at each meeting, with a high of 35 one
Friday. From ROSS' year, we remember the curling achievements
of BERT PHILLIPS and BARNEY BJORNSON, the elephant jokes of
BOB JOHNSON, the smart roster produced by ROY KILBY, and
the banners of RUDY MORIN.
JOHN HADDY - 1963-64. JOHN concentrated on increasing Club
membership and improving Club attendance. The Club managed 13 weeks of
perfect attendance during his year. This was largely as a result of JOHN's
telephone calls to everyone who was not present at the Friday meeting.
- 1964-65. During this year we tried
to establish balanced programs by having the responsibility for programs rotate through the four
"avenues for service" committees. The
Club made a practice of taking a
photograph of our most distant visitor, which we sent to
his club as an appreciation of his visit.
9 - Kamloops
Trip & Rotary Ann Group Formed
Click on photo to enlarge
|Left to right: Ted O'Connor, Cliff Sadler, Milt Wylie, a
Kamloops club member and Ron Jackson.
was during the early sixties that the Club became active in student, foundation
and international activities for Rotary. However,
there were those who felt that the major district activity was the annual
curling bonspiel in which the Club could be counted on to enter four or five
rinks. We hosted the district
bonspiel with 48 rinks at the Burnaby Winter Club in 1964. Our curling Rotarians also attended a bonspiel in Abbotsford each
November. In 1963 several of us
went on a curling visitation to Kamloops. Imagine
– rail fare, two night’s sleeper accommodation, two meals, two curling games
and a ski trip to Todd Mountain, for a cost of $16.00 per person.
was during this period that our Rotary Ann group was formed. The ladies carried on their own program of service concentrating on
assistance to the residents of the Woodlands School in New Westminster. A major fund raising activity of the ladies was an annual rummage sale at
which our members gave cheerful assistance.
Club itself tried raising money through a weeklong “hole-in-one” golf
tournament. This project was more
noted for the fellowship enjoyed by Club members, than the amount of money
raised. The proprietors of a golf
driving range located north of Canada Way and east of Willingdon welcomed us to
utilize their facilities. Participants
would pay a dollar for a pail of 15 yellow-coloured golf balls, which they would
try to sink in a golf cup about 70 yards out. The least popular job was that of the member who would crouch behind a
protective screening to note if a particular drive was successful. One successful participant was B.C. Lions football player, Baz Nagel.
Members were quite amazed one evening when their most notable
participant, Bob Hope, arrived at the driving range and happily (but
unsuccessfully) participated in our Hole-in-One Tournament. He generously insisted that we take $20.00 for his pail of golf balls.
Rossmo, our Club photographer, kindly responded to a telephone request to come
and take a picture of Bob Hope (Sev Morin has the original picture). Art Bunker urged Nick to take a turn at the hole-in-one.
Nick protested that he was no golfer, and that he didn’t know one end
of a club from another. Well, he
knew enough to achieve a hole-in-one! A
discussion ensued as to how many holes-in-one, at $500.00 a pop, could our
revenues sustain. Nick kindly
volunteered to forget the $500.00 and merely accept our appreciation of his
participated also in a blind date program, driving blind persons to weekly
outings, and continued to support the annual C.N.I.B. fishing derby.
10 - The Later 1960s
- THE ROTARY FOUNDATION
Morrison, of Prince George, was governor of District 1965-66 and made his main
theme the furtherance of the programs of the Rotary Foundation. The Burnaby Kingsway Club strongly supported him in this by seeking
applications, hosting foundation students and assisting with one of the first
group study exchange programs. Bill
Hughes, of New Westminster, was leader of the team that visited Sweden.
Rotary Foundation decided to prepare a promotional slide set on Foundation
Programs for presentation at the 1967 Nice Convention and for distribution to
all Rotary Districts. They chose to
base the presentation on the activities in District 504 where all of its
programs were being carried out. The
presentation included two foundation scholars we were hosting, Kassa Gabre, from
Ethiopia, and Ralph Gwynne, from Australia, as well as a student we were sending
abroad, Tom Calnan, from B.C.I.T. Perhaps
we can include a presentation of the slide set “Foundation for
Understanding” at one of our meetings.
- Our First Group Study Exchange
Rotary Foundation introduced the concept of Group Study Exchange in 1964 and
District Governor John Morrison appointed Norm Terry of the Burnaby Hastings
Club to chair a committee to organize participation by District 504.
were one of the first Districts to send an exchange team abroad – in our case
to Rotary District 139 in South Sweden in which Malmo is the major city. The team leader was Bill Hughes, the manager of radio station CKNW in New
Westminster. Team participants came
from the Anchorage, Bellingham, Marpole, Quesnel, Vancouver, and Vancouver East
team spent nine weeks visiting communities within a geographically small area in
South Sweden, about the size of our Fraser Valley. Bill Hughes, at that time, had a very popular morning radio program
called the Roving Mike, in which he
would interview people at the bus depot, train depot or airport. Once or twice a week Bill Hughes took the opportunity to send
the radio station interviews of team members on their experiences and
impressions during the trip to broadcast on the Roving
weeks was a long time to spend in such a small area so the team took a side trip
to Berlin and had the experience of a brief visit to East Berlin. On returning home, Bill said that every Rotary Club they visited wanted
to show the team their major project and, as a result, they visited over 30 rest
homes. The team had some difficulty
with language differences, as we hadn’t been wise enough to select a team
member who could speak Swedish. The
team recommended that, in future, a host district should provide a wide variety
of vocational experiences for their visitors. They also recommended that we should arrange our next exchange with a
District that was English speaking, or make certain that we had plenty of team
members who could speak the language of the host country. Was it just coincidence that our next exchange was with a substantially
rural area in northern Japan? Any
guesses as to how many of our team members could speak any Japanese?
Clubs hosted the return visit from District 139 in the spring of 1967. Norm Terry and his committee certainly arranged a wide variety of
experiences and travel that extended from Everett, Washington, to Nome, Alaska.
We remember meeting with the thoroughly exhausted, but tremendously
appreciative, Danish team at the 1967 District Conference in Anchorage, Alaska.
12 - Our First Rotary Foundation Students
Kassa Gabre – Ethiopia (1966-67)
Kassa arrived from
Ethiopia on the Labour Day weekend in 1966 to participate in the newly
established Foundation program “Technical Training Awards” at BCIT. He
had been sent by the Rotary Club of Addis Abba, of which Taffara Degueffe was
then President. Taffara was a commerce graduate from UBC and is currently
a distinguished member of the Vancouver Collingwood Rotary Club.
Shortly after arrival,
Kassa announced that he was going home – he said he was a graduate engineer
and had been teaching in a place similar to BCIT. Kassa’s Rotary
counselor, Tony Parr, head of the Burnaby Planning Department, and members of
our District Foundation Committee faced up to the problem and in two days had
Kassa enrolled in the Regional and Community Planning section of the Graduate
Studies department at UBC. Suffice to say that Kassa had an outstanding
year as visiting Foundation Scholar including four months practical work
experience in the Burnaby Planning Department.
Kassa had much to tell
us about his homeland and many of the difficulties that existed economically and
politically in his country. I well remember his use of the expression “I
must be careful not to rise too high”. Well, Kassa did rise to high
places. His next trip to America was as the person in charge of school
construction for all of Ethiopia, seeking to arrange for assistance funding from
the World Bank in Washington, D.C.
As an engineer in high
places, his responsibilities continued when a communist government took over in
Ethiopia. He rose to the position of Minister of Construction, which I
understand was roughly the equivalent of Minister of Public Works. He came
to Canada in 1977 on a buying trip of road construction machinery, which
included business in Vancouver. He took the opportunity to visit the
President of UBC and the Burnaby-Kingsway Rotary Club.
When the communist
government was ousted in 1991, Kassa was perhaps too vocal in defending many of
that government’s actions and was detained in jail. Kassa had been in
the habit of making telephone calls to us from time to time but we were no
longer able to make contact with him. We were in great despair that Kassa
had “Risen Too High” and possibly was no longer alive. However, last
November we received a telephone call from Kassa who was in Washington, D.C.
He had been released after 12 years and three months of being detained in jail
and was visiting with members of his family who years before had gone to live
with Kassa’s brother who was a doctor in Washington, D.C.
Kassa advised me that
although he had spent a long time in jail, he had never been convicted of any
offence and that he had merely been detained. While in the jail, Kassa had
devoted his engineering skills to improvement of the jail buildings and
facilities and, in particular, its medical facilities. Friends and
relatives had assisted financially with these projects. Upon his release,
he was welcomed back into the community by many friends and associates.
had met with Kassa on his trip to Ethiopia last fall and had advised him that we
in the Burnaby Club had continued to be interested in his welfare. Kassa
hopes to some day obtain the necessary visa to visit his friends in Canadian
13 - Rotary Foundation Students
Rotary Foundation student was Ralph Gwynne who came from Townsville,
Australia, to study Systems and Control Technology at BCIT. Reg
Millway was appointed as Ralph’s Rotary counsellor.
just prior to New Years 1967 to begin his studies at BCIT. He told
us that he had been working as a rather junior technician at the remote
Collinsville Power Station, inland from Townsville, and that he was
concerned about the sufficiency of his academic background to be entering
BCIT halfway through an academic year.
correct about his academic concerns, but dug right in to try to bring
himself up to the level of his classmates. One day he telephoned me
to say that he had received a 15% score on a math test. I told him
that I was sorry that he had done so poorly but Ralph said “Don’t be
sorry – I hadn’t expected to score better than zero”. Well,
Ralph did continue to improve and was able to arrange for another full
year of study at BCIT. He graduated with a standing of third place
in a very competitive class.
Ralph was very
proud of his BCIT training and when he returned to Australia he hoped to
put that knowledge to good use. However, he had contracted to
continue working for at least six months for the Queensland Power
Authority and was extremely disappointed when he was sent back to
Collinsville to work in the same junior position of his earlier
employment. When he had completed his six month obligation he
immediately left the Power Authority to work for an engineering firm in
there was a serious breakdown at the Collinsville Power Station which they
were unable to remedy. They found it necessary to get help from the
experts in Sidney. You only need to guess as to who was sent to
successfully solve all of their problems.
Club was certainly honoured to have Ralph as a Foundation Student.
His activities were featured in the Rotary slide series “Foundation For
Understanding”. He was also able to join those of us who went to
the 1967 conference in Anchorage, Alaska, and was a welcome visitor at
many Rotary Clubs during the term of his visit.
maintained regular contact with the Millways and myself since his term
with us and has kept us advised of his many challenging business ventures
over the years. He currently resides in Melbourne, Australia.
His Christmas note indicated that he still looks forward to a further
visit with his Canadian friends.
Burnaby-Hastings Rotary Club, with Brill Campbell as counsellor, also
hosted a BCIT Foundation Student in 1967-68. His name is John
McGregor-Skinner and his studies were in the wood processing field.
He came from Coffs Harbour, north of Brisbane, and has had an outstanding
career in Rotary and with forestry firms in northern New South Wales.
Like Ralph Gwynne, he has continued to keep in contact with his friends in
Burnaby Rotary and his wife, Denise, visited our Club in 1999.
14 - Club Presidents of the Later 1960sXTIES
Ted can be well
remembered as one of the great “Idea Members” in our Rotary Club.
As mentioned earlier, Ted was the instigator of our annual report for the
District Governor’s visit which was soon transformed into our Annual
Planning Booklet of Organizations, Aims and Objectives provided to members
at the New Offices Installation in June. Curling was one of Ted’s
many interests and he could be counted on to see us enrolled in many a
bonspiel. Along with Scotty Milne, Ted helped to organize a
“Junior Hockey Tournament of Champions” held at the Forum Ice Rink.
Bulletins record that our attendance slipped badly that year – one month
we were down to 8th place in the District with average attendance of
barely over 90%.
Ted made it a
personal objective to attend each year’s Rotary International Convention
if at all possible. Unfortunately it was while attending the
International Convention in Calgary in June 1996 that Ted collapsed and
15 - Art
Reg Millway has kindly
supplied me with a set of the Bulletins distributed in his Presidential year
A feature in several
of the Bulletins was a weekly joke (?) under the heading Art Says:.
An elderly wolf is a fellow who won’t lust much longer.
The best Christmas gift for a girl who has everything is a police whistle.
An Italian travel folder says that if some amorous fellow pinches you, don’t
panic – just turn the other cheek.
If you think hockey is Canada’s greatest sport, try looking around at a
drive-in movie some night.
A man carrying his new bride over the threshold in a motel was somewhat jolted
when she remarked, “Good heavens, not this room again!”
I suppose these excuses for humour are somewhat dated! But those of you
who moan and groan when Art Gambel gets up to tell a joke should appreciate how
greatly the Club’s humour has advanced. The “Art” of Art Says: was
- Jack Ravenhill – 1966-67
Jack’s term as
President was the year in which the Kingsway Club became seriously involved in
the projects of the Rotary Foundation. The Foundation had instituted a new
program called “Technical Training Awards” and, with BCIT in our territory,
we hosted Kassa Gabre and Ralph Gwynne and sent Tom Calnan, from BCIT, to study
in England. We also participated in the hosting of the Visiting Group
Study Exchange Team from Sweden.
As mentioned earlier,
the Foundation sent a team of photographers to record Foundation activities in
our District. Their slide series, “Foundation for Understanding”, was
shown at the International Convention in Nice, France, and distributed to all
Rotary Districts in the World. Several of our members were able to attend
the Nice Convention. Some of us, together with Kassa and Ralph, attended
the District Conference in Anchorage, Alaska, which was chaired by District
Governor Hurff Saunders. We were able to make our own presentation of
Foundation for Understanding at that Conference.
Jack’s term included
many events related to Canada’s Expo year. We participated in the
chartering of the Burquitlam Club at the Golf Course, which is home away from
home for so many of our members. Another significant fact – this was the
year that we changed our Club name from Kingsway to Burnaby-Kingsway.
Jack was a perfect
attendee for all his years in Rotary and ably served as District Governor in the
Rotary years 1975-76.
17 - SAM
ROBINSON – 1967-68
Sam was the Personnel
Manager at Kelly Douglas and certainly brought his superb “people skills” to
his year as President. His installation at Frank Baker’s in West
Vancouver also marked the 20th Anniversary of the Burnaby-Kingsway Club.
The Club had a serious discussion on the subject of “fining” and it was
decided that the objective of fining should be the promotion of fellowship and
not just raising money. Sam also instituted the practice of naming the
“Good Joe” of the month so that the contributions of individual Club members
could be given appropriate recognition.
It was during Sam’s
year that several of us took the opportunity to attend the Rotary Convention in
Mexico City. In addition to the many entertainment and tourist type
visits, there was one serious resolution before the Convention. The
resolution involved broadening the very restrictive classification principles of
membership so that Clubs could have more than one additional active member in a
classification. The Club of District 504 strongly supported this amendment
and frequently took opportunities to promote its passage.
One morning Ross and
Ada Jackson and I shared a taxi going to the Convention Centre with a gentleman
from somewhere in the mid-west U.S.A. who was a Past District Governor. We
inquired as to his occupation and he told us that he was a lawyer. Since
law firms were among those who had the greatest difficulty with classification
restrictions, we asked if his firm had any such problems. He replied,
“Gosh, no! I raise ponies. I’m classified as a hobby farmer.”
We took the opportunity to say, “Then you must certainly be in support of the
constitutional amendment that would allow a Club to have more than one lawyer
and one additional active.” He responded, “Absolutely not – we
can’t water down Rotary!”. Unfortunately at the Convention vote the
majority did not want to “water down” Rotary.
18 - Sid Sheard – 1968-69
Sid practiced as a
chiropractor in our Burnaby community and brought enthusiasm and constructive
ideas to his year of leadership.
This was the year when
the Astor Hotel shocked the Club by increasing the cost of meals to $2.50 (not a
misprint – it’s all in the Director’s Minutes at the time).
The Club continued to
be a strong supporter of the Foundation and its programs. We undertook to
assist the Burnaby Association for Retarded Children in their creation of a
short stay hostel. Some will remember that we lost an attendance contest
with the Mission Club and had to host them to a steak dinner (with baked beans
for the losing Club).
The climax of this
eventful Rotary year was the participation of 18 of our Rotarians and their
wives in the International Convention held in Hawaii at the end of May.
Most of us stayed at the same hotel and particularly enjoyed a great pool –
the centre for soaking up the sun and relaxed conversation.
A feature of the
Convention program was a presentation by astronaut Frank Borman of his space
trip to view the far side of the Moon a few months earlier. They did not
land on the Moon, but of significance was that their return to Earth landing in
the ocean was within 10 minutes of the pre-trip timing projections.
A further comment on
the classification principle.....
At the Hawaii
Convention I attended a Vocational Section Meeting for Lawyers. I was
quite amazed how the meeting degenerated when one lawyer after another got up to
explain various ruses by which they got around the classification principle.
I was so annoyed by the extent that these ruses blatantly ignored the principle
that I told the meeting about the failed resolution at the previous year’s
meeting in Mexico City and that they should concentrate their energies on trying
to broaden the classification principle. My words fell on deaf ears.
The next speaker went back to explaining how his Club had gotten around the
principle. I did make certain that subsequent representatives of our
District to ensuing councils of legislation, were aware of my little “Hawaii
Lawyers Meeting” story.
One wonders at the
continuing erosion and casual application of the classification principle for it
was one of the pillars of Rotary that made it a significant organization. Have
we lost something from the days when members took pride in being a
representative of their profession or business within the Rotary community?
19 - THE
PIONEERS CLUB BREAKFAST
For many years a
feature of the Annual District Conference was the Pioneers Club Breakfast.
Those in attendance at the Conference who had been Rotary members for 15+ years
were privileged to participate. I well remember the 1970 Conference in
Prince Rupert where I missed out on all the laughter and fun of that special
breakfast because I was not yet a Pioneer!
The tenor of the
occasion was well expressed by the oath which each new Pioneer was asked to take
on the occasion of his first breakfast.
The following excerpt
denotes the seriousness of the oath:
PLEDGE OF ROTARY
On my honour I agree
that the good old days of Rotary were the happy ones.
I agree to be obedient
to the mandates of the upstarts now controlling Rotary affairs.
I further agree to let
the younger generation push me around at their pleasure.
Having survived one
thousand Rotary lunches,
I agree to absorb in
future what ever form of food is offered me without beefing.
I agree to try and
keep the old carcass from disintegrating too rapidly.
I further agree not to
doze at Rotary meetings unless attempts are made to uplift me.
I can also further
agree that I have reached the
stage of senility,
when I feel I can keep myself morally straight.
After the breakfast
meal, the host Rotary club provided entertainment for the visiting Pioneers.
One wonders if Mel Spowart managed to obtain a picture of the belly dancer who
entertained us in 1987 at our last District Conference in Bellingham.
Belly dancers were much rarer in those days than at present.
There is still a great
deal of fun and hilarity at our District Conferences but, unfortunately, the
Pioneers breakfast has fallen by the wayside. Jack Hutchings and Art
Gambrel are both past presidents of the Pioneers Club. It would be great
if they would consider prevailing on future District Governors to reinstate this
REG MILLWAY –
(Part 1 of 2) Granting
Our First Paul Harris Fellowship
It was during
Reg’s term of office that Rotary International celebrated its 65th
anniversary. Our Club had been a strong supporter of the Rotary
Foundation and its programs. Rotary International had recently
introduced the Paul Harris Fellowship as a special recognition and fund
raising program. The Kingsway Club took the lead in our District by
convening a special meeting on February 20, 1970 to present a Paul Harris
Fellowship to Past District Governor John Morrison, of Prince George.
John had been a significant force in promoting the Foundation in our
District. The Signpost reported the meeting as follows:
“We would like to think that last week we enjoyed one of the very
special meetings in the history of the Burnaby-Kingsway club as we
celebrated the 65th Anniversary of Rotary. We certainly appreciated
having District Governor Harold Stafford, Past District Governors Art
Simpson, Tommy Morgan, Win McLean, John Morrison, Reg Rose, John
Vanderzicht and their ladies join us on this occasion. We were also
pleased that the Presidents of Burnaby-Hastings and Vancouver East, and so
many of our own ladies were able to attend. The presentation of a
Paul Harris Fellowship to John Morrison recognized the leadership and
effort which John has given to the International Objects of Rotary during
recent years – achievements which have brought recognition to our
District for its International efforts throughout the Rotary World.
In a letter of appreciation John has marked this honour as the greatest of
his career. John, it was our pleasure and privilege to help make it
In his closing
remarks at the June installation of our next president Donn Dean, Reg
Millway designated the Paul Harris Fellowship meeting as the highlight of
Part 21 REG MILLWAY –
(Part 2 of 2)
A feature of
Reg’s year was the visit of a Group Study Exchange team from Northern
Japan. The visiting team had appreciated that we might have some
difficulty in remembering their individual names so they introduced
themselves as Mr. Monday, Mr. Tuesday, etc., with the team leader
being Dr. Sunday. This worked very well and it was convenient for a
host to be able to say “I had Wednesday stay with me”. A team
member would be responsible for everything that happened his day,
including organization of the day’s activity, speaking at a Rotary
meeting, and writing up the report for the day.
year our District Governor was Harold Stafford, who held his conference at
Prince Rupert. The visiting Group Study Team played a prominent
role. I recall participating in a discussion group where the topic
of Rotary visiting came up. A Rotarian from Burns Lake told us that he
planned to visit his home city in Switzerland. He said that the
Rotary Club there consisted of the leaders of Industry and Finance.
However, he was looking forward to the opportunity, when asked to give his
name, club and classification, that he would stand and proudly advise them
that he was a barber.
22 - Gus Cruikshank, Foundation
Student from Grenada – 1973-74
Councillor Jim Grant
It was with
great pleasure that we welcomed Gus Cruikshank, who had arrived from the Island
of Grenada in the West Indies to study Hotel Management at BCIT. I offered
to take Gus for a first visit with local Rotary at the noon meeting at our
Annacis Rotary Club. I was so impressed with his personal demeanor and
ability to express himself that when we learned that their speaker had cancelled
I volunteered Gus to do the job. He was somewhat shocked at the lack of
notice, but acquitted himself admirably on the occasion.
Gus had a truly
outstanding year as a student at BCIT and made it his personal objective to
train himself so that he could set up a hotel management training school in
Grenada. Those of you who know Gus can well understand that he was greatly
sought after as a speaker at Rotary Clubs all over the District.
Then we got a
most amazing request from the Grenada Rotary Club! In it they pointed out
that Canada had, for that year only, in order to clear up all the illegal
immigrant situations in the country, announced that everyone who had come to
Canada could stay, no questions asked. They said that Gus could get far
better hotel management experience in a hotel chain in Canada than he could ever
get in Grenada – and with that experience he would probably be able to get a
good position in Grenada. We certainly could not refuse that suggestion
and all the appropriate arrangements were made.
Getting a hotel
management trainee job wasn’t all that easy for Gus, but he did get a job as a
waiter in the Odyssey Restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Vancouver.
His outstanding personality made him very popular and he was able to make
sufficient monies to be able to marry Carol, his newfound love, in White Rock
and settle down in Surrey.
management was Gus’ vocational goal and after much badgering the hotel allowed
him to participate in the night audit. Then came the event of the United
Nations Habitat Conference in Vancouver and the hotel was flooded with
international visitors. More help was needed at the front desk so Gus was
asked to assist there. His popularity was such that promotion after
promotion followed and in an exceedingly short time he became an assistant
manager of the Hyatt Regency Hotel – in charge of the day shift.
It was only two
or three years later that a World Socialist Conference was held in Vancouver.
Communist delegates from Grenada were amazed to discover that one of their
people was an assistant manager of the hotel and immediately began negotiating
with Gus to come to Grenada to run the state-owned hotels. That wasn’t
an easy decision for Gus, but he agreed to accept the offer on the basis that he
could retain his newly acquired Canadian citizenship, that there would be
adequate provision for his growing family, and that he would be able to
effectively manage the hotel operations.
Alas, such was
not the case. It was not long before differences developed between Gus and
the government as to who was to make payment in carrying out government
instructions with respect to looking after Cuban guests. The government
tried to put the blame on Gus and it was only with a great deal of assistance
from the Canadian High Commissioner in Barbados that Gus was able to get his
family and eventually himself back to Canada.
project for Gus was management of a hotel on the Island of Montserrat, until the
time the Communist government was overthrown in Grenada. Then came a
request for Gus to manage one of the finest resort hotels in Grenada. That
offer was accepted and for the next 14 years Gus managed the Spice Island Beach
Resort and, on occasion, was able to welcome members of the Burnaby Club as
guests. Gus was a very active citizen of his Island community, was head of
the hotel association, worked for the establishment of a new hospital on the
Island, and ran a school for trainees in hotel management (based on his BCIT
training information). Meanwhile, Gus and family would make annual visits
to Vancouver which usually included a visit with his friends in Rotary.
Gus decided to retire with his family to Burnaby and we were delighted to have
him join our Burnaby Club. Present members have greatly appreciated his
many talents and we have chosen Gus as our President Elect for the year 2005-06.
23 - President Donn Dean 1970
Governor: Lloyd Hines
It is clear
from reviewing old bulletins that Donn provided us with a well-organized and
eventful year. In fact, Donn had it so well organized that he appears to
have felt free to enjoy numerous hunting and fishing trips. The bulletin
following our July 22, 1970 meeting contained the following excerpt:
“Last Sunday our worthy Pres Donn entered the Bathtub Race. Nobody had
heard from him by Monday afternoon and we wondered if he was still in the
Nanaimo Harbour! However, we saw him at noon on Tuesday and he reported
that all was well. In fact, this year he made it across the Gulf.
The first year he didn’t get out of the Harbour. Last year he broke down
part way across. This year it took four hours but he made it.
Imagine four hours in a bathtub!”
Vocational Service is an Avenue of Service that often receives less attention
than International, Community and Club Service. However, we have had many
members over the years who have taken leadership roles in their particular
profession or vocation. Donn was certainly one of those as he was, for
several years, President and an ardent spokesman for the Automotive Retailers
during this Rotary year described the numerous activities of our Rotary Anns.
Their major project was the caring assistance that they provided to two wards at
Woodlands School. There were 128 children in attendance at the Annual
Christmas party that the Rotary Anns put on for those wards. Lots of good
Christmas fun together with small personal gifts for each child. Rotarians
were pleased to help the Rotary Anns raise funds through their annual rummage
sale and other special events.
years of enthusiastic participation in the activities in the Kingsway Club, Donn
joined Gerry Woodside in 1979 in helping to found the Burnaby East Rotary Club
which we now know as the Metrotown Club.
24 - Mel
Spowart 1971 – 1972
Mel started his
year by asking each of us to adopt the personal challenge “If it is to be, its
up to me” and to recognize the Rotary motto for that year “You are the
Key”. The Club was also inspired during this outstanding year by the
leadership of District Governor Rev. Stanley Smith who presided at our
Government had at that time instituted a “municipal works program” which was
designed to further worthy projects and assist in providing means of employment.
Erwin Swangard saw this as an opportunity for our Club to sponsor the
development of an “Adventure Playground” at a school site in North Burnaby.
Being a great organizer, the project was planned and completed very quickly.
The cost to the Club was negligible because workers’ wages were paid through
the works program and Erwin just managed to persuade various suppliers to donate
the materials. The plan was so successful that Erwin and Holly Schwieger
managed to extend it to seven other schools, all within that Rotary year.
Rotary year members were encouraged to invite international students studying at
BCIT to enjoy a Sunday dinner at their homes. At a memorable Friday
meeting a B.C. Penitentiary inmate, Andre, told us about a program he had helped
develop whereby prison inmates would address school assemblies to let students
know “what its really like” and to answer their questions.
participated in the hosting of the District Conference at Harrison that year and
joined with the Marpole Club in the celebration of our 25th anniversaries as
Rotary Clubs. Some members may remember that the R1 President’s
representative was Cliff Dochterman who subsequently became an R1 President
himself. He was well noted for his humour and had a great time telling
stories to a gathering of our Club members.
25 - Ian Young 1972 – 1973
Ian Young was
office manager for Ted O’Connor’s auto transport business and was
introduced to the Club as a member in February 1970. He was inducted
as our President as of July 1, 1972.
had taken on the task of bulletin editor during this Rotary year and from
the multitude of activities that the club undertook that year a few items
to be brought to your attention included a note that this was the Rotary
year in which we hosted Gus Cruickshank as a visiting scholar from
Grenada, studying hotel management at BCIT (see Part 22).
Christmas Party for Woodlands School: Our Rotary Ann’s had
developed a special assistance relationship with two wards of the patients
at Woodlands School in New Westminster (visiting, birthday cards, outings,
etc.). The special event was an annual Christmas Party for the whole
school. Normally 300-500 children would attend (the smaller number
being due to contagious illness in one or more wards. Sev Morin will
have a special memory of these occasions as he was instrumental in
providing the entertainment.
Here is an
excerpt from Erwin’s report of the 1972 Christmas Party:
Dream Come True: Annual Christmas treat for patients at Woodlands
School simply was a tremendous success...Main credit must go to Betty
Milne of our Rotary Anns....More than 400 patients were entertained,
feasted and Christmas-presented Sunday...they had a ball...organization
was superb and support from club members A‑1...Special thanks must
go to Vancouver Canucks Hockey Club for donations of hockey history books
(400 of them), decals, special pencils and radio station CJOR for
contributions of more than 250 records...Thanks also to Sev Morin for
supplying wonderful entertainment in Bill Kenney, John Morin, Jack Munro,
Herb Boueman, John Hanson, Ron Hocaluk, Greg Sumner, Scooter Westfield and
himself as MC...Club support came from the Scotty Milnes, Jack Faust, Ross
Jacksons, Chris Williams’, Mel Spowarts, Bart McCaffertys, Murray
Kingstons, Colin Hartes, Bruce Clarkes, Bill Ternans, Mrs. Santa Mary Lee
Bacchus, Dave Hewetts, Jim Grants, and ye modest editor...Outside support
from Sharon Young’s Beta Sigma Phi girls, Mr. Santa Bill Hall and
assorted friends and relatives, Joe Little and Maureen Kelly and least but
by no means last the staff at Woodlands...Everybody’s reward came
afterward at the Williams’ mansion...food was great, drinks greater and
company the best...Special credit in prepping for hordes must go to
Phyllis (sore thumbed husband) Dean, Dot Clarke and Laurene Ternan and
sexy Denalda Woodcock, Margaret Williams’ kid sister and every North
Vancouver school pupil’s angel.”
(California) Children Exchange: This exchange was proposed and
chaired by Holly Schweger, our International Service Director. It
involved our hosting 15 boys and 15 girls, Grade 7, 8 and 9, from Tulare
during the week prior to Easter and our sending an equal number of
students to Tulare the next week where they would be guests in the homes
of the Tulare students who had visited us. The week long stay for
our visitors included sightseeing in the Vancouver area, a trip to
Vancouver Island, 60 students attending and providing the program for a
special Thursday Rotary meeting (Good Friday holiday), as well as a
special Easter Sunday service at Rev. John Bishops St. John’s The Devine
Anglican Church, and perhaps most important of all visiting in the homes
of children we would be sending to Tulare. The return trip to Tulare
was equally successful and we remember well the glowing reports by
chairpersons Chris and Marg Williams.
Re-Districting: We also note that it was the first Rotary year that
District 504 was downsized to exclude its Alaska and Whitehorse Clubs.
Those Clubs were joined with the Seattle Clubs to form a new District 503.
- Chris Williams 1973 – 1974
Burnaby Kingsway and the Vancouver East Rotary Clubs enjoyed an
outstanding joint installation celebration on June 22, 1973 at the
Sheraton Villa Inn. The
evening was chaired by Doug Ballentyne who had left the Kingsway Club to
be the Charter President of the newly formed Vancouver East Club in 1962.
The installing office was District Governor Elect John Hou who had
been President of our Club in 1960‑61. The Presidents installed were our great friend, Chris Williams, for
the Kingsway Club and our, soon to be, new member, Mickey Hayashi, of the
Vancouver East Rotary Club.
well remember the fun-filled way in which Chris chaired our meetings in
his Rotary year – and he always gave due credit to Margaret for her
had ambitious fundraising plans in 1973 and hoped to raise a lot of money
through a car lottery to be completed before Christmas. Unfortunately, despite much urging, only 4,000 of 6,000 tickets
were sold and the Club only cleared $900.00 after a huge effort. Much more successful as our annual reverse draw dinner at the Gai
Paree in February. That
enjoyable event cleared almost $2,000.00 for our charities account.
major event in the Spring of 1974 was the hosting of a Group Study
Exchange Team from Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. I assisted in taking the Group Study Exchange team to John Hou’s
District Conference in Prince George that year. One of our visitors was a journalist from North East
Thailand. When I visited
Thailand as a Group Study Exchange leader the following year, I was shown
a series of weekly magazines to which our visiting journalist had
contributed a series of fictional stories about travel in Canada. I was most surprised to see my car in the background in three of
the pictures accompanying the weekly stories.
Editor, Erwin Swangard, had during the Rotary years instituted a feature
in our weekly newsletter entitled “Meet your fellow Rotarian”. Here is an excerpt from the February 11, 1974 Bulletin:
would take an entire book of many, many pages to transcribe the trials of
Gary Nikolai.....in his 42 years of life Gary has seen about everything
there is to see and experienced about everything there is to experience in
this crazy world of ours...and through it all Gary has been able to
maintain his sanity and perspective, let alone life itself...Gary is a
native of the once upon a time peaceful little town of Raditch in the very
heart of the granary of Russia, the Ukraine...and it was at and around
Raditach that the colossi of the East—Soviet Russia—and the
West—Nazi Germany—clashed in fiery confrontation in 1942 and 1943...in
whichever direction the good people of Raditch looked they faced death or
imprisonment...the family fled westward, walked all the way to
Poland...but there was no peace for the refugees and they kept on westward
until they reached Dresden just about the time of the holocaust from the
sky...so on they went now minus a father and a brother until they reached
Hanover in Germany...they stayed for five years during which they learned
that father had died in a prison camp and older brother had been killed in
the fighting...next to Canada where they initially settled in
Alberta...while in Germany Gary served his apprenticeship in
cabinet-making which led him to a job in a B.C. plant...eventually he set
up his own business, Nikolai Millworks plus assorted subsidiaries...Gary
never stopped his education since coming to Canada, like night classes,
UBC courses, et al...but, the busy man he is, he has served two years each
as president of the associations of Canadian and B.C. Millworks and will
be installed president of our Chamber of Commerce come next month...not
bad for a refugee of war, not bad at all...Hobbies: golfing, music, swimming and, once again, skiing.”
Club has so appreciated the recent vocational talks of John Smithman and
Theresa Lung that requests have been made that we increase our efforts
towards getting to know our fellow members. Perhaps if Gary Nikolai arrives early enough for a meeting he can
update his biography of 1974.
- President: Cliff Adkins 1974 – 1975
joined the Club in 1958 and resigned a couple of years ago, but is still
with us in spirit. His profession was that of a Construction
Engineer, whose work seemed to take him on roof inspections all over the
Province. However, he was diligent about making up and keeping his
perfect attendance record.
was director in charge of Community Services; Jerry Woodside –
Vocational Services; Larry Klier – International Services; and Bert
Price and Angus McDonald – Club Services A & B.
It was in 1974
that Burnaby Kingsway accepted the invitation of Sev Morin to move our
meeting place to the Gai-Paree Supper Club.
programs included Nancy Green Raine being enthusiastic about the Vancouver
Bid for the 1980 Winter Olympics, Dick Mann on the future of Vancouver
Harbour, Babe Pratt on hockey; and Annis Stukus’ prediction for the Grey
Cup. That year we hosted Mari-Mise as an exchange student from
Chiba, Japan. (I had the privilege of meeting her family when I
visited Japan on my way home from a GSE trip to Southeast Asia in April
personally, being leader of a visiting Group Study Exchange team to
Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand in February and March 1975 has been the
highlight of my Rotary career. The team consisted of an insurance
agent from Terrace, a property developer from Chilliwack, a teacher from
Langley, a lawyer from Bellingham, and a college registrar from Mt.
Vernon, Washington. Our visit coincided with the beginning of the
Chinese Year of the Rabbit, which was greatly celebrated during our visit
to Singapore. Next visit was to Sabah and Brunei on the northern
coast of Borneo – then on to Sibu and Kuching in Sarawak. Each of
these visits could merit a full part for our bulletin series. Our
travels then took us to West Malaysia. First stop was in Malacca and
a club that Kingsway had been paired with three years earlier. It
was great to see projects that we had helped to support. Then it was
on to Kuala Lampur, Ipoh and Penang. Next we spent a remarkable two
weeks in Thailand and, in particular, the club of Lopburi, whose community
service project we helped support in future years through the efforts of
Jack Hutchins and Bill Marquart. We ended our tour attending the District
Conference in Bangkok, but there was much sadness and sympathy for the
Rotarians in Saigon – whose city was falling at that time – the last
week of March 1975. There were many quiet conversations about the
other portions of the District (Laos, Cambodia and even Thailand) which
were also threatened by the communist menace.
By the way,
although we were far from home, we managed to find daily newspaper scores
so that we could keep track of the Canucks in their highly successful
Spring of 1975.
Identification 1975 – 1976
was initiated by Club member, Inspector Cy Thomas, of the RCMP, ably
assisted by then President, Erwin Swangard. Home break-ins and
thefts were a serious problem, particularly in East Burnaby. A pilot
program was set up whereby a total of 735 homes in the East Burnaby area
were visited by a Club member, accompanied by an active or auxiliary RCMP
officer. Initially explanatory information was circulated and
appointments arranged by telephone or by door-to-door arrangements with
home residents. The visit was in two parts. The Rotarian asked
the residents to bring him any articles that they would like to have
marked by an engraver with their social insurance number. This would
enable the owners in the future to identify suspected stolen goods as
their own. A window decal was provided to warn possible thieves that
valuable items in the home were so marked. The other part of the
visit was the discussion the RCMP officer would have with the home
occupants as to how they could improve the security of their home against
access and burglary.
gratifying aspect of this program was the appreciation of the home
occupants for the program and the opportunity to discuss their own home
security with a RCMP officer. We were very pleased to note the
enthusiasm of some children of the household at having their toys and
possessions marked and being able to talk to a real policeman.
As a follow up
to the pilot project, the program was extended to the entire Municipality
of Burnaby. Due to the sheer numbers involved, the project had to be
revised to provide an engraver to a resident of every block on the basis
that they would engrave their valuables and then see to it that the
engraver was passed on to every other occupant on the block. This
procedure, together with the placing of stickers at household entrances,
had significant results in theft reduction throughout Burnaby.
RCMP Crime Prevention Van – 1985
Reg Millway, spearheaded this project. The objective was to fund the
acquisition of a crime prevention van for use by the RCMP. It was
intended that the van would be brought to school grounds throughout
Burnaby where it would be a basis for lectures to students about crime
prevention. As an incentive for students to participate, they could
bring their bicycles to the van to have them marked for identification.
The Club contributed over $14,000.00 to this project. Reg’s only
disappointment was that Club members were somewhat slow in volunteering to
Centre – Lopburi, Thailand
a result of a group study exchange visit to Thailand in 1975, we learned
of the desire of the Lopburi Club to create a Health Care and Community
Centre. Jack Hutchins spearheaded fundraising on behalf of the
Burnaby Club and Bill Marquart represented our Club at the opening a few
years later. The Lopburi Club prepared an excellent booklet to
commemorate the occasion and the assistance of Burnaby Rotary was given
29 - Meet a New Member – Taffara Deguefé
We would like
to take the opportunity to provide some background information about
Taffara Deguefé, one of the members of the former Vancouver Collingwood
Club who joined the Burnaby Club on August 27th of this year.
I first met
Taffara when we were studying together in the Faculty of Commerce at UBC
in 1949. My next contact with him was when, as President of the
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Rotary Club, he had proposed Kassa Gabre as a
foundation student to study in British Columbia in 1966.
Taffara has had
a most interesting history. Although he had come from a very modest
background, his schooling provided the opportunity to develop proficiency
in several languages which, in turn, led to opportunities in the world of
business and commerce. One of those opportunities was to study in the
Faculty of Commerce at UBC where he obtained his B.Comm. degree in 1950.
In 1961 Taffara was appointed the first Ethiopian General Manager of the
State Bank of Ethiopia and in 1974 he was appointed Governor of the
National Bank of Ethiopia.
activities included service as President of the Chamber of Commerce and
Honorary Treasurer of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society. In May 1974
his achievements subsequent to his graduation from UBC were recognized by
his being awarded an honorary LLD degree by the University of British
It was also in
1974 that there were revolutionary changes in Ethiopia that resulted in
the country being governed by an essentially Communist government.
Taffara regarded it as appropriate that he continue to provide his best
services to the Bank for the good of the country. However, on
February 13, 1976 while working at his desk he was dramatically and, in
fact, theatrically interrupted by the sudden opening of his office door,
an army officer pointing a revolver at him, and two soldiers with machine
guns at the ready.
This was the
beginning of over five years detention in prison, without charge of any
sort or ability to even learn of the reason for his arrest.
written an extremely interesting book called “A Tripping Stone” which
is essentially a diary of his five years of detainment in prison, together
with autobiographical information of his life up to that time.
enjoyed reading his book and he has now advised me that he could make
additional copies available to Club members at a cost of $25.00 each to
cover expenses. I do urge members to give serious consideration to
taking up this offer and either approach Taffara at a meeting or at his
home at 604-872-3022, or me at my home at 604-261-8809 to arrange to
obtain a copy.
I have only
briefly touched on Taffara’s biography in this memorandum.
However, I did hear him give a vocational talk at the Collingwood Club and
I do look forward to him being able to give such a talk to the Burnaby
This is all in
keeping with our efforts to improve our knowledge of each of our members,
both long-standing and newly inducted.
- 1975 – 1976
Club President – Erwin Swangard
District Governor – Jack Ravenhill
program of this Rotary year featured a lengthy and challenging speech by
Erwin in which he set forth his expectations in many areas – in our
Club, our community, and our troubled world. A key phrase “I know
that the spirit of Rotary lives—lives well and strongly and that it is
as flexible as it is adjustable”. He was particularly impressed
with the theme of the International President “To dignify the human
being”. He also cautioned our many past presidents that having
done their major service to the Club, they should not be content to rest
on their laurels. When one considers our group of past presidents,
one doesn’t discern much resting on laurels at all.
meeting featured the first formal Club visit of District Governor, Jack
Ravenhill, a member and past president of our Club. Jack reported
with regret that District 330 in South East Asia had lost 9 of its clubs,
not because of lack of member interest, but unfortunately due to advancing
communist forces in Vietnam and Cambodia.
Other news for
the year was that we sponsored a District Institute at the Gai Paree and
strongly supported Jack Ravenhill in putting on his District Conference at
the Vancouver Airport Hyatt House Hotel. We sponsored Jim Millar as
a Rotary Foundation outgoing student and entered into many community
That year we
left the Gai Paree, at the request of Sev Morin (for economic reasons),
and moved our meeting place back to the Sheraton Villa (which we are soon
the Operation Identification Project in Part 28. This returned as a
major subject in the weekly bulletins when on March 17, 1976 Erwin
announced that the project was to be extended to cover all of Burnaby.
He advised that materials and supplies would cost $80,000.00 and that our
Club had accepted responsibility for all bills. The B.C. Police
Commissioner donated $10,000.00 and $5,000.00 was put up by the Club.
It was necessary that our volunteer workers urged all and sundry to make a
modest donation because it cost $2.00 in materials to do a household and
it was not really expected that all would donate. More than 2,000
canvassers were required and by April 26th they were still looking for
we have no other bulletins for the Rotary year subsequent to April 26th,
so we are unable to continue the story, save and except we do know that
the project was successfully completed and, in reviewing the budget for
the next Rotary year, we noted that there was no indication of need for
money to complete the funding of Operation Identification. The
requests for donations must have been successful.
Part 31 -
1976 – 1977
President – Bert Price
District Governor –
In May 1977 we
celebrated our 30th Anniversary as a Rotary Club.
It was during
this busy Rotary year that four of our present members, Cal Bergen, Bill
Marquardt, George McLean and Shamash Valji, were welcomed into membership
in the Club. At the District level new clubs were chartered at
Whistler, Vancouver Arbutus, 100 Mile House, and Prince George Yellowhead.
We continued to
strive for good attendance and finished up the year with an average
attendance of 90.59%, commendable but well behind our friends at Vancouver
East who led the district with 95.94%. We had a net gain of five in
membership that year, bringing us to 61 members.
A review of the
bulletins for that year reminds us that we were a popular Club for
attendance make-ups: March 29th – 22 Rotarians and guests and 17
on April 19th. The most distance on the latter date hailed from
Waverley, near Melbourne, Australia. John Haddy provided the visitor
with a Polaroid picture of himself for a make-up presentation at his own
club. We well remember how Bert Prothero and Larry Klier followed
this practice of providing instant make-up photos in subsequent years.
remember our assistance in hosting a visiting Group Study Exchange from
District 109 in England and taking them for a tour of Simon Fraser
University prior to their attendance at our noon meeting.
Rotary Club hosted our annual District Conference in April 1977.
Registration was over 800 and conference presentations were well attended.
We note that the best bulletin award went to the Burnaby-Kingsway Club –
Reg Butler, editor.
Part 32 - HISTORY
OF PART 32
– Gerry Woodside; Secretary – Bart McCafferky
Woodside had, prior to coming to Burnaby, been a member of the Prince
Rupert Rotary Club. He had proposed Jay Burns for membership in the
Prince Rupert Club and proposed Jay for membership in our Club when Jay
moved to Burnaby in 1975. Our secretary was municipal treasurer,
Bart McCafferky, another member who had previously served with the Prince
Rupert Rotary Club.
planning for the 1977-78 Rotary Year clearly set forth his desire to
investigate and promote the establishment of a new Rotary Club in East
Burnaby. Gerry was primarily assisted in this project by past
presidents Donn Dean and Ian Young. There were strong differences of
opinion within our membership as to whether a sufficient number of
prospective members could be found to participate in a new club, and
whether the creation of a new club would drain our existing Club of valued
efforts to establish a new club in Burnaby East and the efforts of our
extension committee were rewarded with the chartering of a vigorous new
club which would meet at Severin’s in the next Rotary Year with Gerry as
its first President. (We lost only Gerry, Donn Dean and Ian Young to
the new Rotary Club.)
in this Rotary Year had included our participation towards development of
the Burnaby Heritage Village Museum with members working on some of the
specific buildings. We remember the great excitement when Chris
Williams broke into the wall of a former railway station building and let
loose an angry swarm of bees.
a different nature was our visit as a Club to a meeting of the Rotary Club
of La Conner, Washington, at tulip time. We had a full busload
of members and spouses who enjoyed the fields of flowers and historic
buildings at the little community of La Conner, west of Everett.
We remember that each year the La Conner Club would bring a bountiful
supply of fresh tulips to be displayed in meeting rooms at our annual
conferences. We look forward to the time when we might have another
joint district conference with our neighbours from the Fraser Valley and
Washington State who are in District 5050.
33 - 1978-1979 President – Ron Speller; Secretary – Cliff Murnane
were many significant events during this Rotary year – not the least of
which there was October 20, 1978 – the date that Art Gambrel joined our
Club. By rough calculation, we have had the pleasure of hearing at
least 1,552 of Art’s unique jokes since that date. It seems to me
that for the most part Art’s presentations were the first time that I
heard a particular joke.
We established a scholarship fund at the Faculty of Education at Simon
Fraser University to assist students in advanced degree programs.
Our initial contribution to establish the fund was $4,000.00. This
was increased by further contributions from the Club and the President,
Ron Speller, believes that the capital amount reached between $27,000.00
We established a career information program for junior high school
students which Ron says was adapted by the Surrey School Board;
As part of World Community Service we arranged for a speaker each month
from a developing country to make a presentation, supplemented by the
country’s “dish” as a meal for the day. This popular feature
was carried on for many years;
Our friends who left to establish the Burnaby East Club received their
Charter on April 6, 1979;
District Governor Don McKenzie, from New Westminster, held a memorable
Leadership Information Institute which, among other events, introduced the
new Rotary Program called “Health, Hunger and Humanity”. This
program, called “3H”, was instituted as a celebration of the 75th
Anniversary of Rotary. Clubs were invited to contribute $12.00 per
member to initially fund this significant program designed to bring all
nations into a healthier, more humane world;
We were matched with the Rotary Club of General Santos City in a matched
district program with the Philippines;
We were a co-host Club for the 1979 District Conference held at the Royal
Towers Hotel in New Westminster; and
Finally, we sent four teams to participate in the District Curling
“Bonspiel” in March at the Royal City Club. Despite our good
efforts, the Tommy Morgan Trophy was won by John Verkerk from the
Vancouver Rotary Club.
Art, we have appreciated 26 years of your special humour!
PART 34 -
1979-1980 President – Bart McCafferty; Secretary – Cliff Murnane;
District Governor – Bill Keenlyside
Once again we
regret the unfortunate destruction of weekly bulletins for this Rotary
year. However, we do have the booklets outlining the Club’s plans
for each year and several District Governor’s newsletters.
Included in Bart’s plans for the year was the following item:
provide low income senior citizens within Burnaby-Kingsway territory with
fire detectors in their homes at club expense, and involve members of the
club and members of the Municipal Fire Service in the installation
year’s community service goals and objections of Community Service
Director, Tom Nairn, included the following item:
provision of Smoke Detectors to senior and handicapped citizens will be
officially completed 1980 August 15, with a total of 250 units having been
issued and installed at an estimated cost of $2,600. This program
was well received by the community, as witness to the letters on file.”
We happened to
note that Shamash Valji was designated as Club Treasurer for
1979‑80. Shamash had joined the Club in 1977 and took on the
duties of Treasurer in July of that year. He certainly has not been
Treasurer every year since, but the post has been his for a great many of
the intervening years.
This brings to
mind the extent that Club records reveal how so many of our members have
provided substantially unheralded service in many important areas of
service year after year for a great many years. I don’t propose to
list individual names because I would unintentionally omit so many that
that we find in Rotary membership is an important aspect of keeping the
organization active and appreciated. Participation and involvement
of members is equally important in retaining a solid membership. Our
officers and board members continue to strive to make certain that all new
and older members continue to have the opportunity to be significantly
involved in various Club activities and projects.
Rotary Club still has a great future and has been truly enriched by those
who have joined us in recent years.