In 1893, at a meeting in Hamilton, the seeds were sown for the establishment of a movement to be called The Canadian Club. Its objective would be the study of the history, literature and resources of Canada, the recognition of native worth and talent and the fostering of a patriotic Canadian sentiment.
In 1907 an organizational meeting was held at the Town Hall in North Bay to plan for a Women’s Canadian Club. The inaugural meeting was in October 1908. Starting in 1909 meetings were held in the newly built Normal School.
A men’s club was also established but records regarding its activities do not exist. However in 1932 there was a motion that men and out-of-town visitors be admitted to any meeting of the Women’s Canadian Club for a fee of 50cents. In 1972 men’s names first appeared on the membership lists. At a later date the name was changed to The North Bay and District Canadian Club. In 1992 the club had its 1st male president.
During the formative years the programs were comprised of local speakers on timely topics. The first out of town speaker was in 1913.
In 1924 L.M.Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables, spoke to the members. The club arranged for her to speak at the secondary schools. Nelly McClung, noted author, politician, feminist and activist was a speaker in 1935.
1961 was the year that the club donated the cairn that can be found in Champlain Park. On the plaque was the following inscription “From this point the Canadian explorers and early fur traders caught their first glimpse of Lake Nipissing as they paddled westward on their journey from Montreal by way of the Ottawa, Mattawa and French Rivers to the Great Lakes”. Samuel de Champlain viewed this scene in 1615.
The club’s association with schools began in 1910 when seeds were distributed to the public school. The resulting flowers were displayed by the children and prizes were awarded. In more recent years essay contests have been sponsored. The winning students presented their efforts at club meetings.
In 2001 arrangements were made for our speakers, Tim and Deanna Treadway (Pioneer Quest Participants), to give a visual presentation of “Pioneering in Manitoba in 1875-1876” to all the students of the appropriate grade who had gathered in the public and separate schools. During recent years our club has taken a keen interest in the activities of the Historica Fairs which are for elementary students. In addition, each year two complimentary memberships are given to all secondary and post secondary schools for the use of interested students.
For many years our Canadian Club was invited to participate in Citizenship Courts. The club presented each New Canadian with a table sized Canadian flag and a complimentary year’s membership.
The tour Committee was formed in 1972. Over the years it has provided interesting and educational excursions to all parts of Canada and selected areas of the United States. In recent years there have also been overseas tours.
In 2008 the North Bay and District Canadian Club celebrated its 100th Anniversary with a gala dinner. To mark the occasion the club replaced and rededicated the missing plaque on the cairn in Champlain Park.
The North Bay and District Canadian Club continues to foster the aims and objectives of the original founders.
The club meets eight times a year, presenting a variety of informative speakers and interesting tours. All are welcome as members!