District VIII consists of the following clubs: (To visit each clubs website click on the clubs name.)
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.
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.
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.
Chartered on May 3, 1957, the Edmonton Crossroads Club is celebrating 55 years of Gyro friendship this year. They find it difficult to believe that they were once known as the “young” club, having been formed as an alternative for the then young founders to the aging “old” Edmonton Club who sponsored the young group along with the Calgary Club.
The club has experienced its ups and downs membership-wise with membership being about one third of its high in the mid 1980s. The smaller group does allow for the flexibility of having house parties and other functions that do not work well with clubs with larger membership. This does not preclude them from “Inviting a Friend to Gyro”.
Contributions to the District have included providing one District Governor and hosting three great District conventions. The dedication of the members is attested to by -the fact that one member, Harf Watson reached the 50 year status. Three of the current members have attained the 30 year level and one the 25 year level.
A collection of great athletes participates regularly in the District curling and golf events.
An active group of Gyrettes supports the Club and the guys insist they organize and host the best parties.
The first of our clubs to Charter on July 29, 1921 as the 15th Club in Gyro International was spearheaded by Reg Henry and Harry Fuller. Of special note is that a gavel was presented by the installing officer Rowe Holland from Vancouver. This gavel was made from material from the old Hudson Bay Company steamer, the Beaver, the first such ship to sail into Burrard Inlet in Vancouver.
Immediately after chartering, the Club started raising funds through running a carnival with all of the proceeds to go to providing children’s parks in the city. Not only did the children benefit but also the university students who were hired as supervisors. Through to the late 1940s, nine such parks were built before the City Parks and Recreation Department took them over. They, along with the other Edmonton area Clubs of the time continued the tradition by raising the funds for “Gyro Children’s Playground #10” in historic Fort Edmonton. The club’s benevolence has not stopped as over the years funds have been raised for many other causes including music scholarships for advanced studies, cancer research and many more. The relatively large membership is maintained through the efforts of an active group of recruiters.
It would be remiss not to mention that they also provided us with District VIII’s Mr. Gyro of so many years, Gordon Rennie, who in addition to his membership in the Edmonton Club, was an honorary member of the other three Edmonton area clubs. He and his Gyrette Ivy were fixtures at all of the area and District functions.
Chartered on March 28, 1925, the Lethbridge Club was sponsored by the Calgary Gyro Club. The Charter was presented by Governor Clarence Lougheed. Of note is that the banquet cost was $1 per person which included cigars and cigarettes for all.
From the beginning, community projects were part of the Club’s reason for being. Youth was at the forefront as the Club even attempted to start a Gyro youth group to get boys involved in the spirit of Gyro. Soon after chartering, $2400 was raised for a dance floor at the Exhibition. The Club undertook the operation of the YMCA for many years and paired with the Rotarians to bring a mid-way to town during the Exhibition, netting the club $2,300. During the depression years, the club, spearheaded the Christmas Tree fund insuring that local children did not go wanting at Christmas.
During WW II the efforts were directed to the sale of War Bonds and after the war, the creation of a Gyro Park which became one of the City’s most beautiful parks. Later significant contributions went to the refurbishment of this park.
Over the years, the Club continued its civic work with many projects. These included: contributions to a YMCA Camp in Waterton, purchase of instruments for the Sea Cadet band, nine or so years of involvements with the Lethbridge Ballet Auxiliary in the Alberta dance festival, contributions for a Cub Village, assistance with refurbishing an historic old mine entrance, a very significant contribution for the construction of public tennis courts, assistance with the funding of the Lethbridge Track and Field Club, funding equipment purchases for local hospitals, purchases of unit for the Handibus Association, the Food Bank, and a neighboring town’s fire department, major contributions to the local university and college and the list goes on.
It can be seen that the Club has been actively associated with Lethbridge and District and its development and welfare. The members are extremely grateful for those who preceded them in helping create and develop the cultural and economic roots of their fair city.
– The Nelson Gyro club was charteredin 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.
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 .
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 neighboring 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.
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 has three active charter members and one returnee who joined just after the chartering, left the Club for an extended period, and has now returned.
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 an International President, 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.
Various fund raising projects have been undertaken over the years with a significant portion of the proceeds being given to various needy groups.
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 Cranbook 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.
To visit each clubs website click on the clubs name above.
All information taken from the Gyro International database.