A roof over the pool
My memories of Espanola began in 1979 when I arrived to teach French at AB Ellis Public School. I was lucky enough to meet AB Ellis himself!
I often heard stories about chilly mornings, chattering teeth, freezing lessons at the outdoor pool, which had been built by the Lions Club in Espanola. Such is the ‘stuff of life.’
The early executives of the Lions Club fortunately had the foresight, wherewithal, and thankfully the will, to assess and respond to the needs of the local youth. The plan for a new outdoor pool was spearheaded by Herman Dorriesfield and his committee.
So early in 1954, the Espanola Lions pool was built for only $30,000. It was outside, hugely popular, and well used. For the most part, the labour was free and the materials were donated by local businesses. Over the years since then, the club had put in over $150,000 to maintain the pool and to refurbish it. The pool provided great memories for generations of local children and their parents.
Sadly, nothing lasts forever, which may or may not be a good thing. The Lions Club once more spearheaded the campaign to construct a new athletic complex, including a new pool. The club led the charge with Kirby Houle, Paul Zahorec, Marc Doucette, and Gord Alexiuk. A project this grand could not be done alone. EB Eddy and the Town of Espanola were part of the team.
The local Lions Club donated a whopping $400,000. Gord Alexiuk, Lion Club member was especially thrilled because now there was “a roof over the pool.”
This is why today there is a rather large Lions logo and motto on the wall of the complex pool. But the club commitment was not over. Since the opening of the Espanola Regional Recreation Complex, the Lions Club has sponsored countless hours of free swims for the community, to the tune of more than $85,000. It is truly a wonderful facility and as Lions, we are proud to have been involved at its inception and continue to be proud as ‘We Serve.’
The new executive for the Espanola Lions Club in 1954 were: (standing) Ernie Kelly, Ernie Dodge, Mac McMillan, Eddy Landry, Frank McCulloch, Jim Jessup, Ted Wilson, Fred Barber. (Seated) Chris Goodman, Andy Ellis, Harry Colbon (absent - Osie Labelle).