Paris Lions Club History – 1950s by Lion Diane McHutchion
The town of Paris, as with every other community in Canada during the 1950s, experienced a decade of positive economic growth, stability, and prosperity. The population of our town grew to 5655 by 1959.
With a membership of 60 people, the Paris Lions Club kept pace with the growing needs of our community. The biggest fundraising project was the publication of the “The Chant of the Jungle” newspaper. It was published by the Paris Lions Club and printed by The Paris Star. Local businesses partnered with our club to create “Super Shopping Days” which ran 2 to 3 days. A percentage of every dollar spent was given to our club. One of these publications declared that 46 local merchants participated in this fundraising event while 20 other companies and professional services bought advertising space in the paper to show support for our club. One of these businesses, John M. Hall, is still in existence today.
In the 1950s, maintaining and improving facilities at Lions Park were of utmost importance as our club planned on helping to complete the creation of the swimming pool for Lions Park in time for the Paris Centennial celebration during summer of 1956. The budget for this new swimming pool was $60 000. This was a huge project, but one which the Paris Lions Club participated in with true Lion’s spirit!!!!
Another big and just as important project for the Paris Lions Club was assisting financially with the Willett Hospital’s latest addition, namely the new nurse’s residence.
The Willett Hospital was built in 1922 and had a 16-bed capacity. Because of our growing population, extensions were added and by 1951, this small self-sustaining cottage hospital, one of the few in Ontario, boasted a 60-bed capacity. While supporting the growth of the Willett Hospital, our Paris Lions Club also assisted many people throughout our community with financial assistance for surgeries, purchasing glasses, and contributing food and basic necessities, especially at Christmas time. The needs of children were, as in other decades, of particular importance to our Lions Club. Whether it was health, sports, food, medical needs, or just a letter from Santa, our Paris Lions Club was there to fill all these needs.
Our lovely town was definitely growing and the Paris Lions Club was there every step of the way to assist those in need.
Like the 1950s, we here in the year 2021 are facing another challenge, what with our growing population and community needs. The new community Health Hub is being built to accommodate these needs. Our Paris Lions Club is stepping up again to help raise funds for this much needed facility. This proves, yet again, that our Lions Club motto “We Serve” will never change, no matter what decade!!!