Paris Lions Club History – 1960s by Lion Diane McHutchion
The post-war boom of the 1950s exploded in the 1960s. Along with celebrating Canada’s Centennial in 1967, life was vastly improving for all Canadians. Annual family incomes averaged $5000.00. By the end of 1969, this would increase to approximately $5700.00. In 1964, regional government was proposed for Brantford township. By 1963, Bell had installed lines which gave Paris a modern telephone system. Modern gas lines were installed in our town. Sewer projects were almost completed, thereby ending the dumping of raw sewage into the Nith and Grand rivers.
Paris experienced its own growth explosion. The population in 1961 was 5820. By 1971, 6483 people called Paris “home”. Our town boasted 49 industries. Home building was also experiencing an incredible boom!
Our Lions Club was busier than ever. From a memo dated October 19th, 1965, planning, organizational meetings, and activities were numerous. For example:
Monday – Joint meeting with other service clubs
Tuesday – regular Lions Club meeting
Wednesday – Zone Advisory meeting
Saturday – work party at Lion’s Park with members of the Little League Ball Club
Tuesday (the following week) – Board of Directors meeting
The “Chant of the Jungle” continued to be published during the 1960s. In 1963’s publication, ads showed that Avey’s Bakery sold pies (on sale) for 49 cents. John M. Hall sold flannelette sheets for $3.98, while you could purchase a bunkbed at Foulds Bros. for $35.00. Along with these “Super Shopping Days”, our Club held car raffles and ‘Pig and Whistle” events to continue raising money for community projects. Lion’s Park was extended to Penman’s #1 dam along the Nith River. Other improvements at the park included painting park equipment and picnic tables, landscaping around the wading pool, building steps from the Wishing Well up to Laurel Street, erecting a guard rail at the parking lot, and continued maintenance of the swimming pool!
In 1962, Little League Baseball came to Paris. With 108 players, the Little League was officially opened in our town at Lion’s Park on May 19th, 1962. Our Paris Lions Club stepped into the picture. With the usual energy of its members and an expense of several hundred dollars, the playing field was designed, complete with a pitching mound, steel fences, and backstop.
By the end of 1964, our Paris Lions Club (since its inception) had donated $102 000 to various projects in our town. Along with the above-mentioned activities, our Club continued to support sight welfare (purchasing glasses and eye surgeries), boys’ and girls’ activities, Christmas Hampers, and the health and welfare of local citizens, where needed.
Our Lions Club members of the 1960s gave us much to appreciate and be proud of, making Canada’s 100th birthday even more special than what it was!!!!