Cornwall Lions Club
The Lions club had its beginnings in the United States in 1917. It was formed by a group of business men who wanted to help the community beyond the aspects of business. They wanted to contribute to the betterment of their communities.1 Their Mission Statement is, “To empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding through Lions Clubs.”2 The Cornwall Lions Club was organized over fifty years later on January 22, 1968, by Allison Gill.3 Those interested in the organization held a meeting and learned that in order to form a Lions Club in Cornwall a certain number of people were required to sign on as members. As the number of people attending the meeting was too few, Arthur Howard and Lowell Hog left the meeting and came back later with the names of two more prospective people.
Sponsored by the Charlottetown Lions Club, the charter members who signed on to form the Cornwall Lions Club were; Blair Beer, William George Cole, Erroll B. Francis, Andrew Gass, another Andrew Gass, John Lowell Hogg, Arthur Howard, W. Ronald Johnson, Keith Taylor, Harry Lowther, George Earl Lowther, Allison Moore, Hillard C. Muttart, John R. MacDonald, Wayne MacEachern, Charles M. MacKinnon, Sterling R. MacLeod, Joseph Perry, John Wendell Proud, and Wendell L. Sentner. George Lowther is the only remaining charter member still active in the organization.
One of the motives behind the formation of the Lions Club was actually to create another community hall. The community hall had been disassembled and moved so by the late ‘60’s Cornwall had no place for the community to hold any events. Soon after the formation of the Cornwall Lions Club, land had been purchased from Hector and Ethel Scott in order to erect a hall. The land was located beside the Cornwall United Church. The new Lions Club hall was built in 1969. Less than ten years later the Lions Club sold the hall to the Village of Cornwall.4
The Cornwall Lions Hall c. 1979/80 - Photo Courtesy of Virginia Grant
A charter night celebration was held on March 9, 1968.5 Over two hundred people gathered at the Basilica Recreation Centre to celebrate the creation of the newly formed Cornwall Lions Club. During the evening celebrations the newly formed officers were introduced; Lowell Hogg – President, Bill Cole, Harry Lowther, Keith Taylor – Vice Presidents, Wayne MacEachern – Secretary, George Lowther – Treasurer, Andy Gass – Tail Twister, Jack MacDonald – Lion Tamer, and Arthur Howard, Hillard Muttart, James Flemming and Neil MacPhail as Directors.6 The roles of President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Directors are fairly well recognized. However the roles of Tail Twister and Lion Tamer are quite unique to the Lions Club Organization. As indicated by Lions Club International website, the role of Lion Tamer is defined as; “Lion tamers are responsible for the property and paraphernalia of the club such as: flags, banners, gavels, etc.”7 Tail Twister is defined as; “Some clubs also elect a tail twister, who is responsible for promoting: harmony, good fellowship, positive energy, enthusiasm.”8
The new Cornwall Lions Club was presented with a gong and gavel by Charlottetown Club King Lion, Weston Trainor. The members of the club were also presented with a PEI flag, a Canadian flag, officer’s pins, a guest register and Tail Twister bank. Many speeches were delivered and words of congratulations offered.9 From that day forward the Cornwall Lions Club has been active and supportive of the community. They opened up their hall to anyone that needed it. Members of the Catholic Community were making use of the space as a place of worship before St. Francis of Assisi was built. The space was also used by a kindergarten, the Cornwall Brownie Pack, and the Girl Guides.10 In the terms of agreement of sale of the hall, the Lions Club wanted to ensure that the space would continue to be available for the groups already making use of the space. A large room in the hall was designated for the permanent use of the Lions Club.11 The Lions Club continued to meet weekly since their inception.
The Lions Club held many activities over the years at the “Lions Hall.” They held bingos, car washes, teen dances, adult dances, turkey and lobster suppers, bottle blitzes, variety concerts, and many more. These activities acted as fund-raisers but were also held for the benefit and amusement of the community. One of the popular fund-raisers for the Lions Club was the sponsorship and sale of programs and score cards for stock-car races.12
The Lions hall, which later became known as the Cornwall Civic Centre was demolished in early June 2011. The Lions Club will again have a room designated as the Lion’s Den in the new Civic Centre which is due to be completed November 2011.