1.3 m of textual records, graphic material and objects
History / Biographical
The Kiwanis Club of St. Thomas was organized in 1921 with 62 members.
One of its first projects was a Kiwanis Park, which was located on Ross Street, opposite Forest Avenue.
The record of service by local Kiwanians has been long and varied. Believed to be one of the oldest Kiwanis Clubs in Western Ontario, the St. Thomas Kiwanis Club renewed its beliefs by also chartering a second chapter, the Lord Elgin Kiwanis Club in 1963, and in most recent years supporting the Kiwanis Golden K, oriented for seniors over 60 years old, which was chartered in 1988.
Some of the highlights of the club's early years of service included looking after fatherless sons of First World War soldiers, assisting the hospital financially, establishing playgrounds, gaining goodwill with inter-community gatherings, helping set up dental clinic in schools, aiding those with failing eyesight and taking a leading part in many fundraising campaigns.
In 1925, unable to procure a slate of officers, a motion was introduced to suspend club operations, which became a strategy move.the club survived and membership was set at 55.
During the depression years, the Club launched their crippled children's clinics and formed and carried out the man-a-block system to provide work for the jobless, and staged many successful money-raising carnivals.
Despite the Second World War, the group continued to be active. While peace-time activities including their support of the 1940 International Plowing Match continued, the club raised about $30,000 for war services, including the purchase for the Red Cross of the first mobile blood serum gathering unit in Ontario. They also assisted with prisoner of war parcels and operated and maintained extensive blood clinics for several years in St. Thomas, Dutton and at the Aylmer and Fingal RCAF Schools.
Club membership continued to rise after the war years and in 1949 the club membership peaked at 130, its highest since inception.
In 1951, the St. Thomas Kiwanis sponsored the Port Stanley Club, which received its charter on April 22. It later amalgamated with the St. Thomas Club.
The motto of "We Build" continued and in 1954 the club provided $12,000 for a ward in the new St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital, and another $1,000 was donated to assist in building the J.W. Snell Nurses Residence.
The club also continued it caring attitude towards children.In 1960, the members administered the Harry Townsend Fund to a boy who lost his legs in a railway accident.
From 1963 to 1964 local Kiwanians provided student loans of about $7,000.
The St. Thomas Kiwanis Club continued to honour it commitment of We Build, as well as supporting children's charities and helping seniors throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
Presently, the Kiwanis Club of St. Thomas continues to provide service to the community.
Records were stored at Reith & Associates Insurance, 462 Talbot Street, St. Thomas, before being donated by the Club to the Elgin County Archives in 2008.
Scope and Content
Records created and/or maintained by the Kiwanis Club of St. Thomas. Records have been divided into the following series: