The town of Paris, as with every other community in Canada during the
1950s, experienced a decade of positive economic growth, stability, and
prosperity. The population of our town grew to 5655 by 1959.
With a membership of 60
people, the Paris Lions Club kept pace with the growing needs of our community.
The biggest fundraising project was the publication of the “The Chant of the
Jungle” newspaper. It was published by the Paris Lions Club and printed by The
Paris Star. Local businesses partnered with our club to create “Super Shopping
Days” which ran 2 to 3 days. A percentage of every dollar spent was given to
our club. One of these publications declared that 46 local merchants
participated in this fundraising event while 20 other companies and professional
services bought advertising space in the paper to show support for our
club. One of these businesses, John M.
Hall, is still in existence today.
In the 1950s, maintaining
and improving facilities at Lions Park were of utmost importance as our club
planned on helping to complete the creation of the swimming pool for Lions Park
in time for the Paris Centennial celebration during summer of 1956. The budget
for this new swimming pool was $60 000. This was a huge project, but one which
the Paris Lions Club participated in with true Lion's spirit!!!!
Another big and just as
important project for the Paris Lions Club was assisting financially with the
Willett Hospital’s latest addition, namely the new nurse’s residence.
The Willett Hospital was
built in 1922 and had a 16-bed capacity. Because of our growing population,
extensions were added and by 1951, this small self-sustaining cottage hospital,
one of the few in Ontario, boasted a 60-bed capacity. While supporting the
growth of the Willett Hospital, our Paris Lions Club also assisted many people
throughout our community with financial assistance for surgeries, purchasing
glasses, and contributing food and basic necessities, especially at Christmas
time. The needs of children were, as in other decades, of particular importance
to our Lions Club. Whether it was health, sports, food, medical needs, or just
a letter from Santa, our Paris Lions Club was there to fill all these needs.
Our lovely town was
definitely growing and the Paris Lions Club was there every step of the way to
assist those in need.
Like the 1950s, we here in the year 2021
are facing another challenge, what with our growing population and community
needs. The new community Health Hub is being built to accommodate these needs.
Our Paris Lions Club is stepping up again to help raise funds for this much
needed facility. This proves, yet again, that our Lions Club motto “We Serve”
will never change, no matter what decade!!!