Kiwanis Club of Carbonear marking 60th anniversary
The Kiwanis Club of Carbonear is this year marking its 60th anniversary.
The Carbonear club became the third Kiwanis Club to be formed in the province, when it received its charter on April 17, 1952.
As they look back over their six decades of service to the town and region, Kiwanians have a lot to remember and celebrate this year.
Over the past 41 years, the Kiwanis Club of Carbonear has perhaps become best known for its organization and sponsorship of the annual Trinity Conception Music Festival. Every spring the hills surrounding Carbonear “are alive with the sound of music,” during festival week. Now into its 42nd year, the festival, which sounded its first notes in 1970, is still going strong. This year’s event is scheduled to get underway on March 17.
While it remains the club’s most public annual event, the festival is just one of the numerous, successful events and projects Kiwanis has been involved in over the past 60 years.
Tangible evidence of the club’s contributions to the town can be found throughout the community.
For example, the town’s swimming pool, opened in 1974, and the Carbonear Recreation Complex developed for the 1992 Newfoundland and Labrador Summer Games, both had their roots in early initiatives of the Kiwanis Club.
The club’s inaugural fundraising venture in 1952 was a public auction to raise money for an outdoor community swimming pool, built the following year in Powell’s Brook, which runs by the recreation complex.
In 1954, the club acquired what was known as Pike’s field from its owner, Stephen Pike and converted the Valley Road site into a multi-purpose venue for softball, soccer and other sports. In 1992, the same field was upgraded to be used for track and field sports at the Summer Games.
Just after Confederation, in the early 1950s, when then premier J.R. Smallwood was vowing to “dot Conception Bay with new industries,” the Kiwanis Club lobbied the provincial government to attract some of that economic activity to Carbonear. Their efforts paid off with the establishment of Newfoundland Tanneries in 1952, Atlantic Gloves Ltd. in 1954 and Gold Sail Leather Goods in 1957. The “glove factory” as it was known currently forms part of the College of the North Atlantic Carbonear campus. It’s interesting to note Kiwanis had been a strong supporter of the establishment of the Carbonear District Vocational School, which opened in 1964.
589 Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron has the Kiwanis Club to thank for spearheading the drive to form an Air Cadet squadron in the town in 1954. Sponsorship of the Air Cadet squadron was eventually taken over by the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 23, Carbonear, which continues to serve as the sponsoring body.
In 1958, the club sponsored the town’s first Boys’ Club, which met in the building vacated by the glove factory, when it closed the year before.
Supporter of the arts
Years of lobbying various government administrations for some kind of arts and culture centre in the town finally paid off in 1999 when the Princess Sheila Nageira Theatre opened in Carbonear. The 380-seat theatre continues to serve as a venue for the competitive portion of the annual Trinity Conception Music Festival as well as the grand concerts.
The club donated the Yamaha grand piano, which can be seen on stage during competitions and concerts.
The venue also hosts numerous other musical and theatrical events throughout the year.
Another Kiwanis project, which bears the name of the legendary Irish princess, is the Sheila Nageira Park on Pike’s Lane. Built around what, according to legend, is her grave site on Pike’s Lane, the park was opened in 2001. Kiwanis continues to maintain this park each summer.
Projects are endless
The Kiwanis Club has been involved in many projects and supported so many worthy causes over the past 60 years, they are too numerous to include here.
From sending local peewee hockey teams to Ontario and children’s bands to Iceland, to sponsoring a town map/brochure and adopting a Newfoundland Pony, Kiwanis has made a great contribution to the community it has served for 60 years. They currently support DARE Program in conjunction with the RCMP; Builders Club, St. Francis High School; Key Club, Carbonear Collegiate; Jump Start & Swim for Life programs and much more.
As part of Kiwanis International, the Carbonear club has also been involved with a program with UNICEF aimed at eradicating iodine deficiency disorder among the world’s children. They also support HIV/AIDS and the Maternal/neo Natal Tetanus Programs.
The Kiwanis Club of Carbonear is part of Kiwanis International, a global organization whose members are dedicated to serving the children of the world.
With nearly 600,000 members, in over 8,000 clubs in 80 countries, the international organization raises more than $107 million and dedicates over 18 million volunteer hours to serve children and strengthen communities.
Founded in Detroit in 1915 by Allen S. Browne, Kiwanis adopted its name from an American Indian phrase, nunc keemanis, which means, “we trade or we get together.”