Kiwanis - Serving the Children of the World
Serving the Children of the World

Kiwanis Club of Stratford

History of Our Club


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The Kiwanis Club of Stratford received its charter on January 21, 1948, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of London. During the first year of its existence the club began in earnest to fulfill its mandate, We Build, the motto of Kiwanis International. The projects supported by this new service club in its first year included sponsoring the Stratford Junior Orchestra for youths 10 to 16 by providing it with instruments, music and a practice hall; supporting the underprivileged in the community by giving a babybuggy to one family and coal to another, supplying cars for the funeral of a young drowning victim, and supporting the local Christmas Cheer fund; and making its initial foray into supporting the community's infrastructure by donating $1000 to the hospital to purchase two operating room lights.

It is interesting to see how the themes established in the club's charter year, its support for music, its concern for those who are marginalized in our community, and its fascination with 'bricks and mortar', have continued and evolved throughout its history .

In the early 1950's the Club began its association with two local enterprises which continued to be major committments for the next 50 years: the Stratford Music Festival and the Stratford Shakespearean Festival.


The Kiwanis Festival of the Performing Arts

In 1926, W.B. Rothwell, the Music Master at the Stratford Normal School, inspired the members of the Perth County Music Teacher's Federation to establish the Stratford Musical Festival as a way to encourage interest in music. Rothwell served as the President and Director of Competitions from the first festival held in 1927 to 1930 and then returned to those positions from 1940 to 1957.

By 1951 the Music Teachers' Federation was finding it difficult to run the festival and W.B. Rothwell, by this time a member of the Kiwanis Club of Stratford, convinced his fellow Kiwanians to "take as one of our major projects, the management of and complete responsibility for the Stratford Music Festival for 1952 and thereafter." This proved to be a considerable challenge for the club members and their families who volunteered on this committee. The job of the Director of Competitions quickly became a full-time volunteer position beginning as soon as one Festival ended right through until the next one began. Isa Gould, wife of Kiwanian Duncan Gould, who was the Director of Competitions from 1957 - 1965, gave this description of the job:

"The summer months following one Festival is spent hiring adjudicators and booking halls in preparation for the following year. After the types and numbers of classes have been determined, the various test pieces must be selected, and the syllabus prepared." Isa recalled working from early in the morning until late at night, typing the syllabus, taking it to the printer, checking the proofs and taking the proofs back to the printer. Another intensive period began when the entries started coming in: "We would have to go to the post office box with shopping bags to collect them." Entries had to be acknowledged and the official program prepared. Then trophies had to be collected, repaired and readied for the upcoming competitions.

By 1987, amidst celebrations for the 60th Anniversary of the Music Festival, a 'Strategic Plan' developed by the Kiwanis Club revealed that some Kiwanians had serious reservations about their continuing association with the Festival:

"The Kiwanis Music Festival is at a crossroads in its development. Volunteer manpower shortages threaten to undermine the efficient operation of the festival...The role of Director of Competitions has traditionally been a volunteer position but places heavy responsiblities on the individual who assumes that role". Steps were taken to alleviate this situation. Funds (from the Kiwanis Club) were allocated to provide a salary for the director and to rent office space with the hope that "an office and coordinator would lift the substantial burden from volunteers and their families of organizing the Festival".

In 1991, the Club hired Margaret McCarroll as Director of Competitions. The office of the Kiwanis Music Festival was conveniently located in her home. There was enough funding provided to hire secretarial assistance to help with all of the entries as well as an assistant director during the two-week Festival period. Margaret felt that she was reasonably compensated for what she said was "the best job in the world". Her creativity, enthusiasm and committment helped to make Stratford's Music Festival one of the most successful of its kind in Canada. But there is still a considerable volunteer effort required to run it, much of that provided by members of the Kiwanis Club of Stratford and the Kiwanis Club of the Festival City and their partners.

With the resignation of Ms. McCarroll in 2003, Michele Boniface was hired by the Kiwanis Club of Stratford for the Director of Competitions position.

“When I started,” recalled Ms. Boniface, “I met with 40 local teachers to gather their ideas about the festival and syllabus. With their input, I have systematically upgraded the syllabus each year to adjust to new trends in the music, dance and drama worlds.”

Ms. Boniface has submitted two successful applications to the Trillium Foundation of Ontario and one to the Stratford and Perth County Community Foundation which provided the financing for the Festival to purchase and customize festival-management software, and develop a website that incorporates data directly from it.  The result is more timely and accurate information going out to teachers and students.  Another website improvement was implemented in 2008 that allows participants to register on-line for the Festival.

Externally, Ms Boniface has moved the festival into an active role in the Ontario Music Festivals Association by bringing the syllabus in line with OMFA rules, regulations and age limits and by encouraging a large and successful team of competitors to participate in the Ontario Music Festival Finals each spring.

Her creativity, enthusiasm and commitment have helped to make Stratford's Music Festival one of the most successful of its kind in Canada. But there continues to be a considerable volunteer effort required to run it, much of that provided by members of the Kiwanis Club of Stratford and the Kiwanis Club of the Festival City and their partners.

Michele submitted her resignation as the KFPA Executive Director at the conclusion of the 2013 Festival, but generously volunteered to assist the new Executive Director adjust to the role.

Brian Reid, chair of the Kiwanis Festival of the Performing Arts Committee, was delighted to introduce the KFPA’s new Executive Director, Janis Auster.  Janis moved to Canada in 2012 from New York City where most recently she was the Innovations Program Manager for EmcArts, an arts service organization and consulting firm.  During her 18 years in New York Janis also held the positions of Professional Development Coordinator for the Queens Council on the Arts, the Program Manager for Camp Broadway, a theatre education company, and the Production Manager and Producer for Stick figure Productions, a documentary film company where she worked with HBO, PBS, and Bravo.  Janis holds a BFA in Technical Production: Stage Management from New York University and a Masters in Arts Administration from Columbia University’s Teachers College.

Janis believes that the Festival is an opportunity for Stratford to welcome thousands of students engaged in the performing arts from a wide area throughout southwestern Ontario and beyond.  “This is an occasion when the entire community ‘comes together’ to mount a festival that provides participants with opportunities to showcase their talents, receive supportive feedback, and realize their dreams.  Arts celebrations such as the KFPA provide performers with a lifelong appreciation of the arts, and we know that arts change lives and communities.”


The Kiwanis Booths

An address by Festival founder, Tom Patterson, early in 1953 led to the long and fruitful association between the Stratford Shakespearean Festival and the Stratford Kiwanis Club. The Club committed to running the food booth at the newly established theatre in its inaugural season and has continued to run the refreshment booths at the Main Stage, the Avon Theatre and the Tom Patterson ever since. The Club hires the staff who order and prepare and sell the products. The Festival Theatre provides fully equipped booths and maintenance. The profits are shared between the Kiwanis Club and the theatre, providing the major source of income for the Club for its community projects. This profit can only be realized because each member of the Club, and many of their partners, provide 20 to 30 hours of volunteer time each season to serve at the booths during the busy intermission and pre-theatre times which reduces the need for additional paid staff.

Stratford Garlic Festival

The Hudson Valley Garlic Festival was already a run-away success when Stratford Kiwanian Ron Deichert read about it in the Kiwanis magazine. It also happened that Ron’s good friend was a garlic grower.  Ron thought, “Why not work together and bring a Garlic Festival to Stratford!”

The members of the Kiwanis Club of Stratford recognized an opportunity to merge service to the community, fun and fund raising and supported the idea wholeheartedly.  The first festival was held on September 15, 2007 and was a resounding success.  Large crowds attended (approximately 2500 people) and both attendees and vendors were impressed with the Club’s organization and teamwork.

President, Gerald Cook remarked at the conclusion of this project that this new fundraising project had created a new energy level within the club.  He also was proud of the fact that as with all of the projects undertaken by the Club, the Festival had created the opportunity for our members to share their individual gifts with Kiwanis and the community.  “It is this matching of our needs with their gifts that really brings satisfaction to our members!”

The Kiwanis Club will be hosting its 8th annual Festival on September 6 and 7, 2014,  having moved to a two-day event four years ago. For up-to-date information on the presentations, programs, vendors and special events, check out the website:

Tennis Courts in Upper Queen's Park

"Bricks and Mortar" has been a dominant theme throughout the 55 year history of the Club and most of these projects have demanded a considerable committment from the Club in both volunteer time and money.

In 1968, according to then president, Bob Boyce: "We physically built the clay tennis courts at the east end of Water Street (in Queen's Park). There were frequent work parties, involving wives also, levelling the ground, spreading the material for the courts, setting up the lines and nets, and setting the light standards correctly. Guenther Mohrmann actually hugged one of the poles, which was not standing straight, and set it right. The Club contributed $25,000 towards the project, then 25 members of the Club signed notes at the bank in order for the revived Tennis club to have the money to build the clubhouse."


The Kiwanis Community Centre

In 1967, the Kiwanis Club of Stratford, fulfilling in part its mandate We Build and inspired by a directive from Kiwanis International to "enrich the lives of the aging", began a 10 year journey that culminated in the opening of the Kiwanis Community Centre on October 18, 1978.

The Club recognized that the senior citizens in Stratford had no place of their own to hold meetings and social events. In 1967 the members purchased the building at 30 Rebecca Street (now Gentle Rain) from the Children's Aid Society and began to convert it into a senior citizens' drop-in centre. The Club owned the building and invested additional cash and labour to renovate and decorate the interior. The new Stratford-Kiwanis Senior citizen Centre had its official opening on November 22, 1969 and was described as "a cheery spot for older folks to visit, play cards, work on their favorite craft or have meetings".

By 1971 it became clear that the building was inadequate for the needs of the seniors and seniors' groups that were interested in using such a facility. Hazel McWilliam, director of the centre, reported to the recreation subcommittee of city council and the centre's board of directors, that it was simply too small: it would hold a maximum of 60 of the centre's 160 members, which was in turn a small fraction of the seniors living in Stratford. The kitchen was inadequate for cooking even a simple meal for a large crowd and Mrs. McWilliam had to resort to cooking the meal at her home and bringing it to the centre to be served. Activities at the centre had to be restricted to card playing and reading and many seniors were interested in workshops where they could continue to practice skills in areas such as woodworking. Kiwanian R.G.Boyce, president of the centre's board of directors acknowledged that the board was aware of the centre's urgent need for expansion.

The goal of expanded services for seniors seemed to come one step closer to realization with the awarding of a New Horizons grant for $8350 from the Federal Government. The grant would provide the funds to equip a new senior citizens centre with woodworking, quilting and games facilities, to hire staff, and to maintain the facility. The grant was conditional upon the group's ability to obtain a permanent location. Mayor Keith Culliton said, at a meeting of the recreation subcommittee on April 10, 1973, "We have been short changing the senior citizens of the city." He moved that the city search for a larger facility for senior citizens, a facility that could house the equipment that would be available with the funding from the New Horizons grant. A short while later the city offered the vacant Beamish building and the soon to be vacated Metropolitan Store. These offerings could not accepted because the buildings were only available on a temporary basis.

The Kiwanis Club continued to press for improved facilities for senior citizens and on December 5, 1973, Kiwanis president, N.E. MacDonald formally proposed to Mayor Culliton and the recreation subcommittee that, "the club match the city dollar for dollar to a maximum of $50,000 towards the purchase of an existing building or the erection of a new building to be used as a drop-in centre for senior citizens". The mayor and members of the subcommittee were reported to be enthusiastic about the proposal. Mayor Culliton noted that additional funding of up to 30% of the outlay would be available from the Province upon its approval of the project. A Stratford-Kiwanis Senior Citizens Corporation was formed.

In 1975 the Stratford-Kiwanis Senior Citizens Corporation was still looking for a suitable site for the centre. In 1976 the capital works and public works subcommittees recommended that the city council move the senior citizens centre back to the 1977 capital forecast. The project was on hold for another year. Finally, the Corporation decided to house the facility in an addition to the Casino building on the Avon Riverfront and the centre survived the budget process. Construction was scheduled to start on January 1, 1978 and to be completed by the end of August, at a cost of $438,000. When the Kiwanis Community Centre opened, the Kiwanis Club sold the building on Rebecca Street and donated the proceeds towards the new building.

The Kiwanis Community Centre celebrated it official opening on October 16, 1978 and was hailed as one of the better facilities in southwestern Ontario: "Other cities of 26,000 people don't have facilities nearly as grand." It held a large hall that can seat 200 for dinner with a large adjoining kitchen, several small meeting rooms, and a woodworking shop. According to senior John Van Waggoner, the new community-senior citizens' centre had one important feature - it 'mixes ages'. That, he said, will 'let the youth see that senior citizens aren't a bunch of old fogies..." Mayor Keith Culliton declared that he didn't believe that the day of opening would ever come. "It was a long, hard, winding trail to walk and crawl until today," he said.

In 1992 the building was expanded once again, adding the Kiwanis refreshment booth, additional washrooms, and expanded office space onto the front of the building. A conference room, and additional meeting rooms and storage facilities were added beside the original main hall. The woodworking shop was expanded and an additional workshop was added. The Kiwanis Club stepped forward again with financial assistance pledging $10,000 per year for 10 years towards the costs of these improvements to the building bearing their name. Kiwanian Bob Boyce, who has been associated with this project since 1968 and who continues to sit on the management board, is proud point out the impact that this centre has had upon the lives of all citizens of Stratford: "The original senior citizens' drop-in-centre could only serve about 60 people at a time and while it was a good beginning, we very quickly realized that our seniors required a much larger, more accessible and more versatile facility. The Kiwanis Community Centre which opened 25 years ago serves in excess of 60,000 people each year, excluding the large number of festival patrons who visit the Tom Patterson Theatre each summer. Several community groups, including the Lakeside Seniors which has a membership of over 600, regularly use this building."

The Kiwanis Club of Stratford, whose contribution in both time and money was recognized by the Stratford City Council when it accepted the name, Kiwanis Community Centre as "the honor bestowable on a club that has supported the old, and new, centre for years", regards this facility as one of its most rewarding community projects.


Anne Hathaway Park

In 1976, the Club spent $15,000 to put Anne Hathaway Park in shape for children in the city's south end. In the fall, they paved the ice surface at the outdoor rink and installed lights at the ball diamond. And as in so many cases, the club members spent many volunteer hours in addition to their financial contributions: An article in the Beacon Herald reports that "Club members have been spending spare time clearing and flooding the rink...We were up until 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning working on the ice." Thanks to their efforts, free skating was offered to the community.

In the spring they installed new playground equipment including a playfort and swings, and later, bleachers. In 1978, and again in 1997, a sign was installed at the park acknowledging the thousands of dollars that the Kiwanis Club of Stratford had contributed to improving the park and contributing towards the building of its clubhouse in conjunction with the Stratford Minor Girls Softball Association. The club continues its support to this day, operating the Anne Hathaway Park Clubhouse and offering it for use by non profit groups in the city such as A.A and the Stratford Big Band.


Homes for the Developmentally Delayed

In 1984, the theme of Kiwanis International was Enriching the Lives of the Handicapped. The Club began investigating the needs of the handicapped in this area. They found that the local Association for the Mentally Retarded needed a sponsor to provide a group home for the young people who were being returned to the community from the institutions which had housed them up to this point.

The club purchased a duplex on Devon street for $75,000 and renovated it to suit the Association's needs. The Association rented the house from the Kiwanis Club, using funding provided by the Provincial Ministry of Social Services. The club ensured that the building was maintained, the grass cut and the snow shovelled. The rent merely offset the costs incurred by the club for this project as it was never intended to be a fundraiser.

On October 28, 1984 the residence was officially opened and became "home" to four boys and two girls whose ages ranged from 8 to 16. Its aim was "to provide a family atmosphere for the children and to maximize each child's potential as an individual in the community."

By August, 1992, the Association for the Mentally Retarded, renamed the Stratford and Area Association for Community Living, no longer required all the space in the Devon Street property and moved into a smaller home on Maple Street purchased for them by the Kiwanis Club. L'Arche needed more space than it had on Ontario Street and moved its clients into the duplex on Devon Street.

Thanks to the Kiwanis Club of Stratford, both of these associations had suitable residences for their clients for many years. In 1999, SAACL no longer needed the residence on Maple Street, so it was sold. L'Arche continues to rent the duplex on Devon Street.


Bandshell in Upper Queen's Park

In 1986, the Stratford Kiwanis Club proposed that they take the leadership in building an open air thrust stage and bandshell on the south side of the Pavilion in Upper Queen's Park. The club members hoped that it would attract local and visiting musicians and "provide a new and exciting venue for Stratford's theatrical community." Both the Board of Parks Management and the Stratford Festival agreed that the stage would boost the city's cultural atmosphere.

The Club pledged $35,000 of the $70,000 price tag and proposed to raise the rest from the provincial government and private donors. Club spokesman, Tim Adair, described the proposed structure as an amphitheatre in front of the stage, which would begin as a metre-high semicircular berm and perhaps be filled one day with benches. City Council approved the project at a meeting on August, 1986.

The Club continues its commitment to this beautiful outdoor site by pledging each year the funds which sponsor the free "Concerts in the Park" held every Sunday evening during July and August.


Discovery Centre

The Club's latest, and most ambitious "bricks and mortar" project is the Stratford Discovery Centre. In 1997, the Club made the commitment, as its 50th Anniversary Project, to carry out a feasibility study to determine whether or not the beautiful heritage building which had housed the Stratford Normal School from 1908 until 1973, could be retained, restored and reused to serve as an economically viable community centre. The $15,000 study concluded that $3.5 million dollars would be required to renovate the interior and exterior of the aging building, install a new state-of-the-art mechanical and electrical system, and an elevator for total accessibility to the building's four levels.

In 1998, the Club presented their report to the Stratford City Council and spokesman, Bob Boyce declared that: "This building has the potential of being not only a tourist destination but a gateway to what Stratford and Perth county has to offer...Through this outreach to our visitors, not only can the building be self-sufficient but also programs expanded to serve our own community better."

In order to ensure that the City would purchase of the building from the Province of Ontario, the Club agreed to support the fundraising study undertaken by Ketchum Canada and the Business Plan. Once these were in hand, the club went again to city council and the city agreed to purchase the building and transfer ownership to a non-profit board of management comprising of members from the various stakeholders in the building (e.g. the Stratford-Perth Museum, Stratford Festival, the Kiwanis Club, and Gallery 96). A long and difficult negotiation took place with the Ontario Government, resulting in a much higher sale price than the original estimate, but the deal closed and the Discovery Centre was on its way. The Kiwanis Club was represented by President Doug Lester at the launch of the Renaissance Fund Raising Campaign to be recognized as one of three $100,000 donors.

The Club's commitment to the Discovery Centre does not end there. From the earliest days Kiwanians had planned to be one of the Centre's anchor tenants and operate a food service of some description on the ground floor. A committee of dedicated volunteers worked for over 2 years planning the Principal's Pantry, a 'high end' cafeteria style food servery located in the lower floor of the Centre. The work involved in putting together a food operation in what was most recently the Festival Book Store and before that the gymnasiums of the Teachers' College, has been intense and extensive.

The Principal's Pantry opened in the spring of 2003 and operated for 3 seasons, quickly becoming a favorite lunch spot for theatre-goers who enjoyed its location steps away from the Theatre and its fresh and tasty food. The dinner crowds did not materialize, patrons apparently preferring more formal dining in the evening, so the Pantry never managed to meet its financial targets. The club members voted to close it at the end of the 2005 season.

Sara's Place Maternity Home

The major project identified by the Young Children: Priority One (YCPO) Committee for 2004/5 was the House of Blessing´s Maternity Home. Social Service agencies have identified shelters for homeless youth as a "screaming need" in Stratford and area. Some accommodation for the 16 to 18 year olds was obtained at the former nurses´ residence for the Living Options for Youth pilot project. But there was still no safe place for teenaged girls who find themselves homeless and pregnant. When Florence Kehl shared her dream of turning the former House of Blessing´s food bank on Wellington Street into just such as space, it seemed to be a perfect project for an organization dedicated to improving the health and safety of young children. It has all of the components that make it a good project for a Kiwanis Club: it involves partnering with another community agency; it promotes our mandate "serving the children of the world"; and it involves the donation of our time and talent as well as our money.

In 2004/5 the YCPO committee donated over $300 to this project towards the purchase of painting supplies and Kiwanians provided many volunteer hours towards the required renovations. Terry Marklevitz, architect, provided his professional services to enable the facility to obtain zoning changes and building permits; Bob and Joan Neely donated their time to consult with Florence and Norman Kehl about the painting, Lauren Francis sewed curtains, Kiwanis volunteers filled the cracks around the doors and windows of the century old house and assisted with the painting, Bonnie Richardson continues to represent the Kiwanis Club of Stratford on the Maternity Home´s Advisory Board.

In the spring of 2005, the Kiwanis Club of Stratford submitted an application to the Trillium Foundation on behalf of the Maternity Home Project. In June we learned that the grant application had been approved and that we had been awarded $62,000 over two years to support its operations. (An initial payment of $17,500 has been received to date.) The renovations of the home were completed over the summer and Sara´s Place Maternity Home had its Grand Opening on September 24, 2005 Sara´s Place Maternity Home is transitional housing for young pregnant women ages 16 to 23, located in the heart of Stratford with the capacity to house three women and their infants for up to one year. We endeavor to aid, support, encourage and connect these young women to community services to assist them to create healthier futures for themselves and their infants.

The Board of Directors of the House of Blessing, along with the Advisory Board, decided to close Sara's Place Maternity Home in 2010, due to the expensive and problematice residence component.  It is the hope of the House of Blessing that perhaps an expanded Pregnancy Care Program could be established, at some time in the future.


Stratford and District Big Brothers Association

Stratford and District Big Brothers Association beginnings go back to October of 1969. The Stratford and District Community Services Council had suggested the need for a Big Brother agency in the city and the Kiwanis Club of Stratford, through the efforts of Kiwanian Reverend Fred Faist, established an ad-hoc organizational committee on December 29, 1969. On February 2, 1970, Peter McGhee, executive director of Kitchener-Waterloo Big Brothers Association spoke to the members of the Kiwanis club and at the meeting on February 16, the Kiwanians decided to incorporate a Big Brothers Agency in Stratford. Several Kiwanians let their names stand as the Corporate directors of the agency. Shortly after this meeting, service delivery standards were established and the introduction of the first four friendships were completed with ten more under consideration. In November 1971 the Board of Directors made the decision to hire a professional social worker and in 1972, an agency office secretary. In 1973, the agency, which had been funded to this point solely by the Kiwanis Club of Stratford, was accepted by the local United Appeal (now the United Way of Stratford-Perth) as a member agency and received its first allocation of revenue. By the end of 1973, 32 boys had been served on an annual basis by the Big Brothers of Stratford and District. The Kiwanis Club of Stratford continues to support this agency through participation in its annual "Bowl-for-Millions" fundraiser.


The Kiwanis-CJCS Christmas Basket Fund

The Club first became involved with the Kiwanis-CJCS basket fund in 1980 and has been involved every year since then. A number of agencies had been delivering baskets, but there was no co-ordination of effort or any verification of need. The main agency for the city was the Social Services office, but the job was becoming too big for it to handle. The city wanted to be relieved of the task.

Braden Doerr at CJCS and Jim Fair of Kiwanis began organizing the 1980 drive. Carl Thomson, a Kiwanian and produce wholesaler, arranged for the purchase of goods and Kiwanians packed baskets and delivered them. Names were submitted by agencies but there was still no central control. In the early years there was some duplication of recipients.

The Kiwanis club sends out requests for donations, and issues receipts through the Kiwanis Foundation. CJCS promotes the project and collects donations at the station. Names of potential recipients go through charities such as Salvation Army and House of Blessing, where they were checked for validity, and basket size. This has eliminated many of the duplications. Routes go out throughout Stratford and to Dublin, Milverton, Shakespeare, Sebringville, and points between. The House of Blessing, Optimism Place, the Emily Murphy Centre and Salvation Army are "after delivery day" bases for pick up or the disposition of any extra food.

Baskets were filled and delivered from Thomson's until Carl sold his business in 2000. Since then the Basket Committee has had wonderful cooperation from the staff at the Coliseum in this task - the task of assembling and delivering over 600 baskets of food with a value of over $30,000.

The Children's Hospital of Southwestern Ontario

So often throughout its history, the service that the Kiwanis Club of Stratford has provided has been inspired by the Kiwanis International motto of the day together with the demonstrated needs of the community. For the last few years, the motto of Kiwanis International has been: Serving the Children of the World.

The Club also participates in projects that extend beyond Stratford. It has pledged $50,000 over 5 years, beginning in 2003, to the new Children's Hospital of Southwestern Ontario in London. Kiwanis Clubs from three districts surrounding London have pledged $1million to build the Kiwanis Kids' Care Centre. It will be located at the entrance to the hospital and will provide a welcoming centre for children and their families. It will have an art therapy room and counselling rooms where children can work through their fears about diseases and treatments. It will have rooms for the spiritual support of those children and their families, where they can meet in comfortable surroundings with their pastor or their social worker.

Kiwanis International and I.D.D

Kiwanis International also selects projects where it feels that it can make a contribution on an international scale. Several years ago, it decided to partner with U.N.I.C.E.F. to eliminate Iodine Deficiency Disorder in third world countries. This disorder, which results in the formation of disfiguring goiters and, often, mental retardation in children, can be easily prevented by adding iodine to the salt consumed in the areas where the disorder occurs. Kiwanis International pledged to provide the financial assistance that U.N.I.C.E.F needed to carry out its commitment to build plants that would add iodine to the salt in countries where IDD was a health concern, and to package and identify the salt as iodized. The Kiwanis Club of Stratford pledged and raised $50,000 of the $73,000,000 raised by Kiwanis International for this project.

Kiwanis Club of Stratford
Past Presidents and Highlights 1948 to present

1948 Harvey Flett held Charter Night, January 21, 1948
1949 M.V. Malcolm supplied groceries and fuel to a widow and her four children
1950 G.M. Peter sponsored hearing tests in public schools
1951 G.Kennedy began negotiations to take over the Stratford Music Festival
1952 W.J. Gorsline organized and ran the first Kiwanis Music Festival
1953 E.K. Kneitl set up and ran a refreshment booth at the Festival Theatre
1954 F.J.S. Pearce held a giant rummage sale to raise money
1955 P.J. Cooper raised $3500 from booth operations
1956 T.K. Waldie sponsored a hockey team, rural-urban night and fall fair prizes
1957 W. Rohatynski led "Carol Sing" at City Hall in the days preceding Christmas
1958 H.G. Myers became Incorporated, Dec. 23, 1958
1959 T. Mills donated $500 to the school established for retarded children at Faith Bible Church; Governor's Ball held in Stratford
1960 T.J.W. Wilcox repaired the small tent serving as the Riverside Booth
1961 T.R. Pounder supplied 59 trees to a student forestry project
1962 L. Dodgson provided hearing aids to three needy individuals
1963 J.W. Opper donated $10,000 over 5 years to Avon Theatre Project
1964 E.C. McMillan sponsored the ski events at the Winter Carnival
1965 R. Goren Riverside Refreshment Booth built in Queen's Park for $3,292
1966 L. Scales Governor's Ball held in Stratford again
1967 G.C. Smith Centenial Project - pioneer display in downtown mall
1968 R.G. Boyce 20th anniversary, built tennis courts at Upper Queen's Park, opened Seniors' Drop In Centre on Rebecca Street
1969 J.T. Priest sponsored a contestant in the "Snow Queen" contest
1969-70 B. Garratt Kiwanians incorporated the Big Brothers agency in Stratford
1970-71 C.D. Thomson assisted in the formation of the anti-litter campaign "Keep Stratford Whistle Clean"
1971-72 G.L. Nichol Black Walnut plaque presented to LG Ed Loberg
1972-73 T.L. Kydd 25th Anniversary of the Kiwanis Club of Stratford
1973-74 N.E. MacDonald honored Stratford residents for contributions to community
1974-75 R.B. Moorehead awarded prizes to winners in the Police Bicycle Rodeo
1975-76 J.W. Dale Kiwanis Foundation established; purchased a car for the VON
1976-77 R.C. Hawley raised $15,000 for Anne Hathaway Park renovations
1977-78 H.I. Greenberg sponsored a Crime Prevention Program
1978-79 K.P. Thompson Opening of Kiwanis Community Centre - $250,000 pledged
1979-80 D.G. Johnson hosted Knowlton Nash at a dinner at the Stratford Country Club
1980-81 P.G. Switzer joined with CJCS to operated the CJCS-Kiwanis Basket Fund
1981-82 C.L. Chute Stratford's 150th - 34 years of service by Kiwanis Club
1982-83 G. Moorehead Kiwanians and spouses moved Bradshaws to new location
1983-84 R. Neely purchased a home for Mentally Retarded Children on Devon Street
1984-85 G.K. Hesse pledged $20,000 over 5 years for Stratford General Hospital
1985-86 W.L. Priestap raised $6000 at the Annual Fish Fry dinner and dance
1986-87 L.G. Stickney pledged $35,000 towards bandshell on the Pavilion in Upper Queen's Park
1987-88 J.D. Wilkinson 40th anniversary of the Kiwanis Club of Stratford
1988-89 Colin Leitch Kiwanis Club of Stratford was the only club in Canada to win the Multiple Service Award presented by Kiwanis International
1989-90 J.F. Patterson reorganized the Kiwanis Music Festival
1990-91 A.L. Walker entered a float in the Stratford Santa Claus Parade
1991-92 C.D. Robertson Kiwanian Norm Gibson chosen Citizen of the Year and Kiwanian Jim Fair chosen as runner-up
1992-93 N.S. Gibson purchased puppets for young cancer patients
1993-94 Ron Deichert purchased playground equipment for the C.A.S.
1994-95 Frank Mathieson joined the Ministry of Transportation's Adopt a Highway Program
1995-96 Terry Marklevitz pledged $50,000 over 5 years to help eradicate IDD
1996-97 Wilf Smyth Normal School project proposed
1997-98 Bob Gladding 50th anniversary; women admitted to the Kiwanis Club of Stratford
1998-99 John Hayhow "Things were mighty fine in '99!"
1999-2000 Jim Fitzgerald $7500 donated to Children's Assessment Room, H.P. Centre, Kiwanian John Patterson chosen Citizen of the Year
2000-01 David MacLennan 75th Kiwanis Music Festival; $10,000 for CPR training devices
2001-02 Doug Lester $100,000 pledge to Discovery Centre, 5 year pledge of $10,000 per year to Children's Hospital of W.O.
2002-03 Harry Spenceley Opening of the Principal's Pantry at the Discovery Centre
2003-04 Ron Bailey Received a $62,000 Trillium Grant to support Sara's Place Maternity Home
2004-05 Bonnie Richardson Charter of Aktion Club and Opening of Sara's Place Maternity Home
2005-06 Lauren Francis Closed the Principal's Pantry at the Discovery Centre
2006-07 Gerald Cook Inaugural year of the Stratford Garlic Festival
2007-08 Anne-Marie Tymec Celebrated "60 years of Kiwanis Service in Stratford", Bonnie Richardson chosen "Citizen of the Year"
2008-09 Brian Reid Celebrated a profitable Garlic Festival
2009-10 Art Hodgson Celebrated the second profitable Garlic Festival and saw the closing of Sara's Place Maternity Home
2010-11 Barb Muir Joined with Simple Dreams to offer Passport to Savings to area diners and shoppers in order to raise funds for local charities.
2011-12 Dave Evans Pledged $15,000 over 5 years for the 14th World Festival of Children's Theatre in 2016.  Closed Upper Queen's Park Booth.
2012-13 Doug Smith

Donated $7500 to outfit "The Kiwanis Room" at the Huron Perth Centre for Children and Youth.  Re-established the Twinning Project with the Kiwanis Club of St. Andrew, Jamaica, donating $2000 for computers.

2013-14 Barrie Beech Partnered with the City of Stratford in pledging $25,000.00 over 5 years for new Playground Equipment at Anne Hathaway Park.
2014-15 Art Hodgson The Kiwanis Festival of the Performing Arts became the "Signature Project" for our club.  First member to let his/her name stand for election as President a second time.
2015-16 Barb Muir Participated in the Culture Expo at the World Festival of the Children's Theatre.  Stratford is to host the E.C.&C. District Convention in 2019.



Kiwanis Club of Stratford

Past Lieutenant-Governors for Division 5 and 5W

  1950   Harvey Flett  
  1966   Fred Pearce  
  1970-71   Bob Boyce  
  1976-77   Carl Thomson  
  1980-81   Hugh Myers  
  1984-85   Gord Nichol  
  1992-92   Colin Leitch  
  1996-97   Grant Stickney  
  2001-02   Ron Deichert  
  2004-05   Wilf Smyth  
  2006-07   Peter Ivatts  
  2007-08   Peter Ivatts  
  2011-12   John Patterson  


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Box 21161, Stratford, ON Canada N5A 7V4