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The First Years of the Fenelon Falls Rotary Club

January 21, 2023

The Rotary Club of Fenelon Falls, circa 1950

In 1943, the Lindsay Rotary Club held a meeting with interested local residents at the Mansion House (Cow & Sow) to found a new rotary club for the village. The charter members included many prominent local business owners:

George Allen

Thomas E. Carr

Foster M. Graham

Harry Kriger

Thomas H. Moffatt

David A. Scott

Albert C. Welk

Max Brandon

James H. Curtis

G.C. Graham

John McGibbon

Wellie McFarland

Alfred E. Tiers

Wm. J. Moore

Rev. M.E. Burch

A.J. Gould

W.S. Havery

Charles R. McInnes

Mossom Robson

Earl Vanatter

Morris C. Mills

The club met at the Mansion House at 6:45 each Thursday, and their first project was a skating carnival, on February 11, 1944, coordinated by Monty Robson and Max Brandon. Later that year, they hosted an event to celebrate local school children succeeded in purchasing a Hawker Hurricane Bomber, named “The Sky Queen” to serve in the Royal Canadian Air Force. To celebrate the accomplishment, Fenelon Falls welcomed the RCAF band from Trenton. Over 1,000 children attended the parade, which included flyovers by a Hurricane and a Lancaster Bomber. Local kids enjoyed sports, races and had a lunch of hot dogs, pop and lemonade. That day alone the club raised $2,000.

In 1946, the club’s meetings moved from the Falls Hotel (formerly the Mansion House) to the Hearthstone Lodge, where Mrs. F. Holliday served as hostess. That year they installed swings, slides, teeter-totters, and sandboxes in the market square (Cenotaph) for local youth. The following year, they introduced their popular swimming classes for village children. Over the years, many local kids took advantage of this free instruction.

In 1948, Bill Bain persuaded the club to create a recreation field (the Ball Park), which opened on July 1, 1949 with Monty Robson acting as emcee—over the years he would host a great many community events.  That year, they also began to host an Octogenarian night, where they would invite men in the village over the age of 80. In later years, the group was photographed, providing a unique image of local residents. In 1950 club meetings moved to Jack & Jean Marshall’s Cameo Tea Room, often with Jack performing for the group on the piano.

In the years the followed, the Rotary Club would support countless other community projects—giving local students the chance to go on educational trips, hosting community events, contributing to the Centennial Celebrations in 1967, helping to create the beach park that we know today, and helping to finance the new arena and splash pad.

For more memories of the Rotary Club over the years, check out:

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