The Years of 1946 to 1950
In the spring of 1946 a group of Arnprior business men and concerned citizens were making a decision on how best they could help any one in need in their town and where ever else required. It was decided to form a Lions Club.On September 9th, 1946 the Arnprior Lions Club received their charter. The sponsoring club was the Ottawa Vanier Lions Club.
The original Charter Members were as follows-
E. J. Annis - Harold Armsden - Douglas F. Ashley - Arnold Bedore - B. V. Bedore - Clifford Bedore - Max Bedore - D. H. Brown - Don H. Butler - C. W. Camp - A. D. F. Campbell - A. S. Campbell - N. A. Campbell - Charles Cole - Barclay C. Craig - W. B. Craig - H. C. Gardiner - J. C. Irvine - Thomas Johnston - Fred Lampole - W. E. Levan - Oswald Lewis - P. M. Locke - L. W. MacDonald - Melville McConeghy - Ralph Miller - Wilhaem Moe -
Martin Oelsner - Raymond Osborne - J. W. Reavley - Frank Smith - Malcolm Smith - W. N. Thomson -
W. J. Thompson - W. A. Zadow.
Now that the Lions Club has been formed it must be decided what a new club would like to do. Some of the decisions were 1 regular meeting per month. There would also be 1 executive or board of directors meeting per month. The club had to decide on projects, fund raising and various donations to be made. Projects decided on were the running of a Santa Claus parade. It was decided they would become involved with the Arnprior fair. They became involved with the program for T.B. that was on going. Donations to Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal, the local hospital, and Girl Guides were recommended. As it seemed apparent that a waiting list was forming for membership. It was recommended that membership would be limited 75 members only.
The new club had no place to hold regular meetings. For now and many years to come meetings were held (in no particular order) at the Curling Club, Oddfellows hall, Arnprior Rink, Madawaska Hotel, CWL Hall, Arnprior Golf Club, Arnprior Park, Legion Hall, Town Hall and at times at members residences.
In the year of 1947 it was decided that Bingo would be held. They would be held at the Arnprior Rink during the summer months only, with the first one in July. It was a huge success. Public speaking, children’s sports days and musical festivals were considered. Donations to the VON, an oxygen tent for the hospital and food for the Britain Fund were approved. A pony complete with tack was purchased for a raffle at the upcoming Fall Fair. The Bingo at the rink was being cancelled until the roof was repaired.
As hockey was a big part of the community in 1948 the Lions donated a trophy to be presented to the winner of the town league. A bathing house was built at the wharf at the park and a raffle for a 1949 Ford was held. Participation at the fair, Bingo, other small projects and local aid continued.
1949 would be the start of some busy years to come. The club would be well recognized, and now had became a large part of the community. Bingo was held with attendance in the 1500's not being unusual. A sports day and picnic were held at the park for the children with about 700 attending. A new wading pool and bathing house at the park was presented to the town. Four students attending rural schools who had received the highest standings in the Entrance Examinations would receive medals. Two gold and two silver medals were awarded. As well the gold medal winners would receive free text books for the first year of high school and silver medal winners received a fountain pen. To this day our club still presents plaques and monetary awards at the high school and most local elementary schools including McNab Public school. As well an award in honour of Charles Grace is presented each year at the Arnprior High School.
Half of the concession booths at the Fair were taken over by the club with the rest being farmed out. During a Bingo held in October of 49, a draw was made for a 1949 Pontiac. The winner was Private Ross Sutton of Kingston, some 3461 Bingo players attended.
An engraved watch was presented to Bruce Armsden for a perfect record of attendance and punctuality that had lasted for 9 years during his school years in Arnprior. The Arnprior Lions held a Santa Claus Parade that saw some 5000 people attend. Not bad for a small town whose population was less than that.
The start of the 50's. Club wise everything was terrific. The club now had 55 members and felt almost anything could be accomplished. In March the first annual Farmers Night was held. Today it is still an annual event. Another event that was hoped to be an annual thing was a Barrel Derby. Tickets were purchased to see how long it would take a barrel to travel 3 miles down the Madawaska River. It only lasted a short time. Bingo was now held once a month. At the first Bingo a cheque was presented to the VON to purchase a car. During the second Bingo the feature prize was a Ford Tudor, won by Paul Coules of Renfrew. A Bingo in August had an attendance record of some 3555 people. (If any of you are still around today we still are having Bingo.) Again a 1950 Pontiac was the prize at this Bingo with the winner being Herman Carr of Arnprior. The September Bingo saw Mrs. Ferguson of Braeside win a 1950 Ford.
In co-operation with the Salvation Army food and clothing parcels were distributed to the needy at Christmas. This would later become part of the Christmas Cheer Program of which along with the West Ottawa Lions Club and CFRA, an Ottawa radio, station we were associated with for many years.
A young widow and her daughter lost all of their belongings in a fire in 1950. With the small pension she received , if watched closely she could survive but had no home. The Lions Club emergency committee went into action. By early December a small cottage was purchased, moved into town and set up on a lot provided by the Arnprior Town Council. It was provided with water hookup and other services needed. Blankets, bedding, clothing, dishes etc, were supplied by the Club. A lady and her daughter were once again secure in Arnprior. Shortly after that, yes Santa Claus did come with what was described as the best parade in Eastern Ontario.