The first Executive of the newly formed Espanola Lions – seated from left to right are, Bruce Malcolm, of Toronto, district secretary of Lions Clubs; P.M. Bridgman, treasurer of the Espanola Club; J.F. Freure, second vice president; J.R. St. Germain, president; Wm.J. McLaughlin, third vice-president; A.B. Ellis, secretary. Standing are, F. Vincent, lion tamer; G.A. Thorton; W.H. Peterson; G. Serlui; A.H. Burk and Dr. Mitchell.
Being a “newbie” to Espanola,.I often wondered why there was a Lions club logo on the old observation booth at the ball field. What many people in town may not know,myself included, is that the Lions club was behind the construction of the now aptly named Red McCarthy Memorial Stadium. They used to be called the Lions Club Ball Field also aptly named. The club used volunteers to dig,to fill, to roll, and to grass. To cut costs further, much of the material was donated. Final cost was around $25,000. Two fields were built, with fencing , lighting, and observation booth with a confectionary underneath. The original plan included a wading pool but as we know the best laid plans change. In 1967, the completed A and B fields were given to the town and are still being used today. The club has sponsored and supported many events, teams, and initiatives involving baseball in town. Today, hundreds of children enjoy Minor League baseball an organization the Lions supports financially.
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 and to refurbish it. The pool provided great memories for generations of local children and their parents. Photo courtesy a citizen of Espanola
Photo – 1965 Swimming tests are taking place. Photo courtesy a citizen of Espanola
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. E.B. Eddy and the Town of Espanola were part of the team. The local Lions club donated a whopping $400,000. Lion Gord Alexiuk was especially thrilled because now there was “a roof over the pool”. This is why today there is a rather large Lions logo and a motto on the wall. But our commitment was not over. Since the opening of the Complex, the Lions club has sponsored countless hours of free swims for the Community, to the tune of over $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”.