Lions International turned 100 this year, and closer to home, the Lions are marking a special anniversary of their own.
The Cranbrook Lions Club are celebrating 70 years of service to the community by hosting a notable event in support of seniors and the Cranbrook History Centre.
The Cranbrook Lions Club Seniors Tour and Tea is offering seniors in Cranbrook and area a complimentary tour of the Cranbrook History Centre and the adjacent deluxe cars of the railway museum, Thursday, June 8, from 1 p.m. To 3 p.m.
Bob Baird of the Lions says the event is similar to the Lions’ wintertime tour for seniors of the Christmas lights. This time, the tour has space for about 150 seniors. Complimentary tickets are required, and can be reserved by calling Bob Baird at 250-417-3350, or Curtis Bell at 250-420-1309.
Shuttle bus pickup is available at 12:45 p.m. From the Senior’s Centre, and the tours of the deluxe trains start at 1 p.m. The tea portion of the event starts at 2 p.m., in the luxurious Royal Alexandra Hall.
The Club felt it was important to celebrate the milestone and the club’s longevity, both internationally and locally, and decided to do so by supporting seniors and the Cranbrook History Centre.
Baird described the Cranbrook Lions Club and the work they do as “one of the best kept secrets in town.”
“I’m surprised at how much they do, and how little people know about them,” he said.
Indeed, the club’s list of community involvement is impressive. It has supported the camp at Blue Lake since its inception, and has been involved with the Sweethearts Youth Ambassador Pageant for 50 years. It provides an annual scholarship to Mount Baker Secondary School, and helps support the Cranbrook Food Bank, the Cranbrook Boys and Girls Club, the Cranbrook Hospice Society, the Cranbrook Society for Community Living, the cadets, ANKORS, the Public Library, Camp Winfield, and the Special Olympics, just to name a few organizations.
The Lions are involved with the TransCanada Trail, and recently opened two new facilities on the Wardner to Cranbrook leg of that cross-Canada system.
The Lions Club of BC, through the BC Lions Society for Children with Disabilities, owns and operates Easter Seal House, located near the children’s hospital in Vancouver. The society also operates several camps in the province that cater to children with special needs.
The Cranbrook Lions Club was formed in the fall of 1947, with the sponsorship of the Kimberley Lions Club. The Cranbrook Club had 20 original charter members. The charter night celebration for the club in March of 1948, with 350 people in attendance.
One of the club’s earlier projects was the sponsorship of a rodeo at what was then Moir Park (now the gravel pits by the cemetery). The club lost money over this three year venture, and started holding a series of bingos to raise funds to pay off this debt, until the provincial government eventually took over the operation of bingos.
Later, Lions created a Guide Camp at Moyie, and worked to support the “new” Cranbrook hospital, which opened in 1968.
Another early project was the club’s Project Society, which raised money for a new swimming pool and library (which were eventually located in Balment Park), and organized a series of Walk-A-Thons to help out in this regard.
Probably the biggest single project the Cranbrook Lions have undertaken among the many is the establishment of Mountain View Village, with Phase 1 opening in 1976 and Phase 2 in 1984. This facility was taken over by the B.C. government last year.
Lions have had a focus on vision and vision care since the 1920s, when Helen Keller approached Lions International to get involved in her vision campaign. This project continues, and last weekend marked the annual Walk for Guide Dogs at Wasa (sponsored by Pet Valu), to raise money for the Lions Foundation Dog Guide program, which provides dog guides at no cost to people with a physical or medical disability.
To reserve your complimentary ticket for the Cranbrook Lions Club Tour and Tea of the Cranbrook History Centre aqnd rail cars, contact Bob Baird at 250-417-3350, or Curtis Bell at 250-420-1309.