It was in April, 1925 that Walden Thomson, a hardware merchant, decided the time was right for a Kiwanis Club in Owen Sound . Within two weeks prospective Kiwanians, and their wives, held an organizational meeting.
J. Walden Thomson was elected president and the Kiwanis Club has never looked back. The Boys’ Band and the Barrie Kiwanis, Owen Sound ’s sponsoring club, were part of the parade to Knox United Church on Charter Night, July 15, 1925.
In 1931 the club decided to undertake a conservation project to keep the sand from drifting across the road as cars approached Hepworth from the east. Under an arrangement with the county, the club planted pines and poplars on the south side of the road and the plan worked.
Ultimately the club purchased 70 acres on the north side of the road. Scotch Pine were grown and sold at Christmas as a fundraiser for the club. The Christmas tree project is still ongoing although we now purchase trees
The local Club received it’s Incorporation Status on December 30, 1941.
The Santa Claus parade started in 1945 and has been continuously sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Owen Sound.
The Kiwanis radio auction was introduced in 1949 which evolved eventually into a TV Auction.
The evolution continues from a TV Auction to a live auction in the most recent couple of years and for 2010 will be turning into a Service Auction where prominent members of the community will be asked to provide service to the community for a fee in recognition of the Clubs service to the community for 85 years.
The Owen Sound Kiwanis Club sponsored the formation of the The Golden “K” Kiwanis Club for senior members, and a Key Club in the Notre Dame Separate School for public school children. Both of these clubs are active and doing great service work.
It was the Kiwanis Club that created a wading pool for children at Harrison Park and sponsored minor sports including softball, hockey and lacrosse.
In 1972, a handicap scout cabin was built at Big Bay by Kiwanians, who for years had supported Clubs and Scouts. The cabin was dedicated to the memory of Sid Harpell, a life-long Kiwanian and Scouter. The property for the Scout camp was donated by Past Lieutenant-Governor, Charles Middlebro, himself a life-long Kiwanian and Scouter.
As a 50th anniversary project the club pledged $25,000, toward a social centre as part of a senior citizens’ apartment complex now called the Kiwanis Apartments.
The Adult Rehabilitation Centre for developmentally delayed adults was constructed partly by the $100,000 raised by the late Past President Red Leckie. To this day Kiwanis has a room in the building used for Board Meetings each month. The Music Festival The Grey County Music Festival began with an initial meeting in November 1932 at the King George Hotel in Owen Sound . The driving force behind the festival was T. Stewart Cooper, Agricultural Representative for Grey County and a staunch Kiwanian.
The Kiwanis Club of Owen Sound and the Meaford Kiwanis Club are now the sponsors. Ultimately the Meaford Kiwanis Club, too, became involved. Today, participants exceed 5,000 annually.
Two members of the Kiwanis Club sit on the Board of Directors for the Kiwanis Festival of Music. Over the last 5 years, members of the Club have been able to initiate named scholar- ships which has raised over $100,000 for the Kiwanis Festival of Music. The income earned goes towards scholarships to the participant in the annual festival. The Kiwanis Soccer Complex
A huge commitment, totaling $150,000 was made by the Owen Sound Kiwanis Club toward a new and expanding soccer complex now named the Kiwanis Soccer Complex. The 10-field complex is used by more than 3500 children each season.
The membership of Kiwanis has changed over the years and now involves both ladies and gentleman who attempt to attend the weekly meetings Thursday at noon hour.
In 1972 the club decided to develop a recreational campground on the 70 acres of land it owned at Hepworth. The camp now has in excess of 235 sites (with 185 of them devoted to seasonal campers), a walking trail, playground, tuck shop, laundry, showers, a chip wagon and a building for storage of our Santa float and cooking equipment. The camp now has 2 heated salt water pools to accommodate all ages.
It was in 1980 that the club pledged $50,000 toward the construction of the Grey Bruce Regional Health Centre. The club has sponsored, bicycle rodeos, provided helmets, and also given child safety kits for new mothers.
A sum of $50,000 was given to the OSCVI ( Owen Sound Collegiate and Vocational Institute) auditorium to help purchase retractable seats.
At the International Convention in New Orleans (1994) Kiwanis initiated its first world-wide service project: IDD (Iodine Deficiency Disorder). In cooperation with UNICEF, the goal was to eliminate iodine deficiency, affecting 1.5 billion people in 110 countries. Sights were set on raising $75 million U.S. dollars by the year 2000. For the 70th anniversary of the Club it raised $45,000 to assist with the IDD cause.
The Club again partnered with the City of Owen Sound and committed $150,000 towards a new playground for children at Harrison Park in 2009.
Our District, Eastern Canada and the Caribbean raised close to one million dollar to innoculate mothers to stop the transmission of HIV to their babies in Jamaica, Trinidad/Tobago and Guyana. We did this over a three year period from 2008 to 2011. During this time, our club member Gary Levine became Governor of E.C.&C. in 2009/2010. He spent the year travelling, speaking and motivating members from Ontario to Newfoundland and throughout 17 Caribbean nations.
Our latest global initiative ending in 2015 is a $110 million dollar joint project with Unicef to fight Maternal Neonatal Tetanus. This is called our Eliminate Campaign. We have pledged to donate $45000 to save 22 500 babies. Together we build!
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