At the same time as the work was going on in Edmonton, a group of men led by Clarence Lougheed, the uncle of a latter day Provincial Premier, were working on a Club in Calgary. Lougheed had encountered a group of men wearing Gyro lapel pins in Vancouver in 1920 presumably doing what Gyros do best, having fun. He was intrigued when he learned of the friendship purpose of Gyro and was determined to form a Club in Calgary. The Club was formally chartered on November 12, 1921.
Since inception, the Club has been involved in a variety of community and charitable projects. One of the most unique was the funding of the Calgary Zoo’s purchase of two Asian elephants, Gyrette and Gyro-Moe. Funds are currently raised through an annual bingo with the proceeds going to a charity of the then president’s choice.
The social aspect of Gyro is emphasized by the Club and is strongly supported by an active Gyrette Club. Gyro friendship, which was so appealing to Clarence Lougheed, has consistently remained the core concept of the Calgary Gyro Club and the Club has maintained its membership by recruiting recent retirees.
Visit the Calgary website: CALGARY CLUB
Chartered on May 12, 1984 under the leadership of two former Gyros from the nearby Trail Club, Jim Marshall and Dick Lynch, the Castlegar Club had 33 charter members.
Unfortunately, due to massive cutbacks at the major source of employment for the town, half of the members were lost in the first year. Attrition over the years and the economy in the area have resulted in an ever diminishing number of members.
The remaining members are very dedicated Gyros. In 2001 they hosted a very successful District Convention when the Club had only seven members. It drew attendance from all over the District and from the nearby clubs in District IV and at least one couple from District IX.
Over the years, the club has often won the “Man Mile Award” at Conventions and Interim Meetings. After many years of traveling back and forth with these trophies, they have excluded themselves from the competition but still maintained their 100% attendance record at the most recent District Convention.
Visit the Castlegar website: CASTLEGAR CLUB
The Cranbrook Gyro Club was chartered May 10, 1924. From its inception the Club has maintained that it is a social/friendship club that makes significant efforts to contribute back to the community. Over the years the Club has been very supportive of Gyro both at the District and International level. They have contributed four District Governors over the last twelve years.
Their community efforts have included contributions to what was the largest outdoor pool in Western Canada at the time, an artificial ice surface for the local arena, an expansion known as the “Gyro Wing” at a seniors home, a Gyro Park including tennis courts and playground equipment and assistance with the cost of hospital equipment. Youth activities have also been supported. The Club currently awards an annual scholarship to a high school graduate.
Fund raising for these projects has always included fun events including carnivals, bingos and a “Barrel Derby” where tickets were sold on the length of time it took a barrel to float between two points on the Kootenay river.
The Club has contributed its share of International and District Officers and members have been rewarded for their contributions to the Fraternity. Although the membership has declined recently, there is considerable interest in regeneration and the current membership love to travel and spend time with their friends.
Visit the Castlegar website: CRANBROOK CLUB
The Gyro Club of Edmonton Club was Chartered on July 29, 1921 and was the 18th Club to join Gyro International with 32 men representing many of the Edmonton business professions. The Club Charter was spearheaded by Reg Henry and Harry Fuller. Of special note is that a gavel, made from material from the old Hudson Bay Company steamer, the Beaver, the first such ship to sail into Burrard Inlet in Vancouver, was presented by the installing officer Rowe Holland, from Vancouver.
Eleven days after receiving their charter, the Edmonton Club developed their “Objective” to provide “Playgrounds for the Children”. The Club capitalized on the popular notion that society should focus more on children. The City of Edmonton, with a huge surplus of foreclosed lands from the boom years of 1912-14, donated property for playgrounds. The Club took on the responsibility of raising funds for the construction, supervision and maintenance. To fund these lofty initiatives, an annual carnival with games of chance and rides was operated in downtown Edmonton. Playground No. 1 was opened on August 19, 1922, and Playgrounds No. 2 and 3 were opened in June 1924. By the late 1940’s the Edmonton Club had established nine (9) playgrounds. At this time, the City of Edmonton Parks and Recreation Department took on the responsibility of operating these facilities. Playground No. 10 was built at Fort Edmonton Park with the financial help of the Edmonton and area Clubs.
The Club’s benevolence has not stopped as over the years, funds have been raised for many other causes including Music Scholarships for advanced students; Gerontology Endowment Fund Scholarships for Undergraduate, Master’s and PhD candidates, at the University of Alberta; and the Edmonton Community Foundation Endowment Fund for the rehabilitation of inner city playgrounds.
The Club’s relatively large membership is maintained through its successful Luncheon Speaker Program.
Visit the Edmonton website: EDMONTON CLUB
The Nelson Gyro club was chartered in 1924 with sixteen original members. To keep the members interested and to assist in attracting new members, the Club decided to build a Gyro Park and Pool on a bluff overlooking the City of Nelson. To this day, it is one of the major tourist attractions providing a view of the City, the Lake on which the City is situated and the surrounding mountains. Yearly work parties and equipment donations have kept the Gyro Park in good shape for the last 88 years.
The Club has managed over the last fifty years to keep the membership in the neighborhood of forty-five to fifty-five mostly very active members.
There is a strong Gyrette Club and although most of the activities are social, many community activities and organizations have been supported over the years including a fish derby, the mid-summer curling bonspiel, the Hospital Foundation, Capital Theatre, scholarships and sporting teams. To raise funds, a community seafood dinner and dance is held with Gyros and Gyrettes doing the cooking, decorating etc.
As the Club has many snowbirds, these folks maintain their Gyro commitment by meeting once a month while away.
The Club was one of the first to enter into the “twinning” concept being paired with Blacklake. Visits are exchanged with each club hosting in alternate years.
The Nelson Club is very well known and respected in the community.
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The Regina Club first met in 1920 and was chartered in 1921 with Ray Louchs as president as the twenty third Club in Gyro. They transferred to District VIII in 1980.
Always active in the community, in 1927 the Club was instrumental in starting an 18 hole golf course complete with clubhouse. It was turned over to the City in 1957 and is still in operation. For 34 years, ending in 1980, the Club ran “Stairway for Stars”, a variety musical and dance review which provided young talent an opportunity to perform before an audience. Many became performers on the world stage. Continually since 1966, the Club has annually awarded seven music scholarships to young musicians and singers. Applicants are judged by a panel of Gyros.
As a result of the active community involvement of the members, five public schools bear the name of past Gyros.
The club is on the remote eastern edge of the District making travel to a lot of functions a two day adventure. In spite of this, they are active travellers to most of the District events in spite of getting stranded on occasion due to weather.
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On October 4, 1975, the Gyro club of Sherwood Park was chartered under the presidency of John Quinlan (who had been a member of a Club in eastern Canada) with thirty members. The chartering efforts were patiently encouraged by then Governor Howard Wilson from the Edmonton Club. There are currently five charter members with continuous service in the Club. There are two others who left the club for a period of time due to work transfers and have now returned. Another has left but remains very active in Gyro in our neighbouring District IV.
A number of years ago, the Club removed its 40 member cap. Since that time it has increased to nearly sixty members. Many are not as active as they used to be due to time spent as “Snowbirds” but the absentee members remain in contact over the winter and keep the Club very healthy.
The Club is very proud of being from Sherwood Park, and in 2010 hosted their third District convention which they were able and very pleased to do within the City of Sherwood Park with out relying on the resources of their larger neighbor to the west. It provided a real “small town” atmosphere resulting in a great convention. They are currently one of the key organizers of the District VIII Alberta golf tournament held annually in central Alberta.
Over the years the Club has been supported by an active group of Gyrettes who have added to the solidarity of this group.
They are a fun loving group and there are many stories of their antics at various Conventions and Interim meetings. The next time you run into a Sherwood Park Gyro or Gyrette, ask them about Mary McAllister.
Visit the Sherwood Park website: SHERWOOD PARK CLUB
The Stampede City Gyro Club celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in the Centennial year of Gyro International, 2012. Chartered in October 1962 under the presidency of Bob Dixon, it has always been a very active Club in the District. Formed under the sponsorship of the Gyro Clubs of Calgary and Lethbridge, it was to be the “young Club” in the Calgary area. The club currently one remaining charter member.
In the early days, prompted by the Gyrettes, convention skits were always a priority. Although not an organized Gyrette Club, they have always been very supportive of all of the crazy things done over the years and insured our part was done for the District. What may have been the final chapter in all of this was a “Chicago Highlights” skit performed at the International Convention in 2006 which the Club hosted. The ladies, unbeknown to the Gyros, were rehearsing of all things. They eventually embarrassed the guys to the point that it ended up as a wonderful show.
The Club has provided two International Presidents, an International Secretary-Treasurer and more than their share of Governors to the District. They have also hosted their share of District conventions and the above noted International convention. The Club has a member who is currently the International Immediate Past President.
Various fund raising projects have been undertaken over the years with a significant portion of the proceeds being given to various needy groups.
Visit the Stampede City website: STAMPEDE CITY CLUB
The Wallace Gyro Club was installed on May 19, 1934 under the presidency of J. W. Osborne with ten members. Prior to that date, on December 9, 1933, four young Wallace men met with two Spokane Gyros to discuss the formation of the “Wallace Thursday Noon Club” with the idea that after the Club had functioned for three months, it would petition for membership in Gyro International. The minutes of that meeting report that the “Thursday Noon Club” was “an association of young men representing various commercial and professional activities formed to create opportunities for social and business relations, as well as to promote genuine friendship and to encourage the discussion of community and civic questions.”
Wallace’s history of community service has been impeccable. During WWII, the club voted to support the “Padre Jones Cigarett Fund.” Not necessarily politically correct today, but certainly a worthy cause then. Wallace was encouraged to do so by the Cranbrook Gyro Club who were running a “Barrel Derby” event to raise funds for the project (above). This was the start of the Lead Creek Derby that continues to this day. Tickets are sold giving the buyer the length of time a ball will take to travel from Mullen, Idaho to a bridge in Wallace. In 1942, the prize of War Bonds was presented by Lana Turner, a Wallace native. Over the years the net proceeds have gone to patriotic charities and recently to the Gyro Community Service Fund. They are then disbursed to various causes in Wallace with a lot of emphasis being on children. The entire vent has now grown into “Gyro Days” with parades, fireworks and a children’s carnival. In 2011 the District VIII convention was held in conjunction with the 70th running of this event. At one time, the only traffic light on highway I-90 between Seattle and Boston was in Wallace, Idaho and Gyros were always at the light selling tickets.
Although the Wallace Gyro Club members are not great travelers, District VIII knows that they and the town of Wallace are great hosts. The rooms were sold out for the 2011 convention within a few weeks after the previous convention.
Visit the Wallace website: WALLACE CLUB