Rotary Club of Burnaby, Burnaby, BC, CANADA
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by Milt Wylie, Club Historian

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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.

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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. 
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Bob Hope at a cheque presentation ceremoney with Rotary  in Burnaby,

Under construction

The headings are listed below. Please scroll down to the relevant stories. I hope to add bookmarks later.


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 Formed

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 – 1968-69

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

26 - Chris Williams  1973 – 1974

27 - President:  Cliff Adkins  1974 – 1975

28 - RCMP Operation ID 1975-76; 

        Burnaby RCMP Crime Prevention Van – 1985

        Community 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  

34 - 1979-1980 President – Bart McCafferty; Secretary – Cliff Murnane; District Governor – Bill Keenlyside



Charter Presentation Night

Dinner and Musical Programme


Friday, June 20th, 1947 at 7 p.m. Tickets 

$2.00 Each                        213  


Part 1 - Our Beginnings

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 1

The newly 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 the Lamplighter.

We are 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.

The 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.

The 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.

An 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 favourite “Smiles”.

 An 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 2

During 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 Victoria Drive
*  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 raffle that  netted  all  of $3.40, and a concert by the Trail Men's Chorus, which brought  in another $141.14.  In those days, the Club was a major supporter of  the  South  Burnaby Little League and was able to contribute $300.00 to 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 members and some  of  the  names remembered by several of us include Dr. Ed Blonde, who 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 featured on CBC  gardening  programs  of  the  fifties;  Rev. Stu Faulks, of St. John's Anglican  Central  Park;  Roy Kilby, of Printcraft, who supplied membership 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

The  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 clubs.

Our Presidents:

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 Burnaby Mountain.

MAURICE  FOX  -  1958-59 (Roofing).  Several of us remember 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 of New Westminster.  STU is remembered of his warm humour and encouragement of the musical fellowship that JACK CHRISTIANSEN and RUDY MORIN brought to the Club.

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

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Art Bunker in 1965

Past President, ART BUNKER, had a story to tell us:

When 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.)

About 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.

I 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.

Five 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.

By the way, the Club was pleased to honour Art with a Paul Harris Fellowship in 1992.

PART 6 - THE EARLY 1960s

It 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.

The 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.


PART 7 - Burnaby-Hastings Rotary Club

In 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.

A Brief History of the Burnaby-Hastings Rotary Club  

The 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.

He 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.

He 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.

By 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.

Our 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.

The Club stayed at the Admiral Hotel for 15 years.

In 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.

The Club had great difficulty in obtaining members in our later years.

The Burnaby-Hastings Rotary club did reach a membership of 45 at its peak.

At 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.

Our 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.

In 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, Norman Terry.

Over 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 funding.

As 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.



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.

SCOTTY  MILNE  -  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.

MILTON  WYLIE - 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.


PART 9 - Kamloops  Trip & Rotary Ann Group Formed  

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Left to right: Ted O'Connor, Cliff Sadler, Milt Wylie, a Kamloops club member and Ron Jackson.

It 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.

It 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. 

The 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.

 Nick 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 achievement.

  Members 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.


 John 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.

 The 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.  


PART 11 - Our First Group Study Exchange 

The 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.

We 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 Clubs.

The 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 Mike program.

Nine 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?  

Our 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.  


PART 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.

Taffara Degueffe 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 Rotary.  


Part 13 - Rotary Foundation Students

 Ralph Gwynne (1967-68)

Our second 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.

Ralph arrived 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.

Ralph was 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 Sidney.

Soon after 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.

The Kingsway 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.

Ralph has 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.

The 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.


Part 14 - Club Presidents of the Later 1960sXTIES

Ted O’Connor – 1965-66

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 died.


PART 15 - Art Says

Reg Millway has kindly supplied me with a set of the Bulletins distributed in his Presidential year 1969-70.

A feature in several of the Bulletins was a weekly joke (?) under the heading Art Says:.  Some examples:

-           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!”

 Yes, 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 Art Bunker.


PART 16 - 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.


PART 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.  


PART 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?  



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:  



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 delightful event.


Part 20 REG MILLWAY – 1969-70

(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 possible.”

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 his year.


Part 21 REG MILLWAY – 1969-70

(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.

During Reg’s 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.


Part 22 - Gus Cruikshank,  Foundation Student from Grenada – 1973-74

By 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.  

However, hotel 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.

The next 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.  

 In 2002 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.


PART 23 - President Donn Dean 1970 – 1971

District 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 Association.

Bulletins 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.

After several 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.


PART 24 - Mel Spowart 1971 – 1972

Spowart_Mel_2003.jpg (46001 bytes)  

Mel Spowart 2003

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 installation evening.

The Federal 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.

During this 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.

Finally, we 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.  


Part 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.

Erwin Swangard 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).

Rotary Ann 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:

“A Milne 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’ 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.” 

Tulare (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.

Rotary 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.


PART 26 - Chris Williams  1973 – 1974

The 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.

We 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 frequent suggestions.

We 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.

A 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.

Bulletin 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:

“It would take an entire book of many, many pages to transcribe the trials of Gary 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 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 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 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.”

The 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.


PART 27 - President:  Cliff Adkins  1974 – 1975

Cliff 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.

Wilf Lambert 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.

Outstanding 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 1975.)

Speaking 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.


Part 28

Operation Identification   1975 – 1976

This program 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.

The most 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.

Burnaby RCMP Crime Prevention Van – 1985

Past President, 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 mark bicycles.

Community Centre – Lopburi, Thailand

As 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 appropriate recognition.


PART 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.  

Other 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 Columbia.

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.

Taffara has 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.

I thoroughly 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 Club.   

This is all in keeping with our efforts to improve our knowledge of each of our members, both long-standing and newly inducted.  

PART 30 - 1975 – 1976 Club President – Erwin Swangard                  District Governor – Jack Ravenhill

Our first 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.

The second 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 projects.

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 to vacate).

We described 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 1,000 canvassers.

Unfortunately 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 – Gordon Christopher

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.  

We particularly 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.

The Vancouver 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 1977-1978 President – Gerry Woodside; Secretary – Bart McCafferky

Gerry 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.

Gerry’s 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 members.

Gerry’s 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.)

Activities 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.

Of 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.


PART 33 - 1978-1979 President – Ron Speller; Secretary – Cliff Murnane

There 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.

Other matters of note:

-           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 and $30,000.00;

-           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.

 Yes, 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:

“To 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 thereof.”

The following year’s community service goals and objections of Community Service Director, Tom Nairn, included the following item:

“The 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 deserve recognition.

The fellowship 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.

The Burnaby Rotary Club still has a great future and has been truly enriched by those who have joined us in recent years.







Rotary Club of Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada