A Brief History of the Fowlers Corners and District Lions Club 

by Lion Bernie Baudisch                                                                     

(Note: While the Club was chartered on June 1, 1985, the official Charter document from LCI was issued on January 11, 1985.)  


Charter President: George Coene, Charter Secretary: Bill Bryer, Charter Treasurer: Bill Jacklin and 26 Charter Members. 

Our Sponsoring Club was the Omemee Lions Club and our Guiding Lion was Lion Aldon Bailey.

The District Governor was Lion Peter Jackson.

Many people cringe when they hear the tired old cliché, “It seems like it was only yesterday...” but to some it does really seem like only yesterday since the Fowlers Corners and District Lions Club received its charter on June 1st, 1985. 

I guess we must have been having a lot of fun to make the time pass so quickly, for here we are entering our 35th year. 

Many of us are a bit greyer, a bit paunchier and maybe even a little bit wiser. 

Thirty-five years ago, three or four men got together and thought the Fowlers Corners area could use a Lions club. They found a few like-minded individuals with a sense of civic duty and a willingness to serve.  The second fortunate event that occurred was the sponsorship by the Omemee Lions Club and the immeasurable contribution by our Guiding Lion, the late Lion Aldon Bailey. 

On the Charter Night there were twenty-six men who were ready to take the Lions’ oath and accept the motto “WE SERVE”. Today, our membership stands at thirty-seven Lions!

As early examples of our work, we supported The Emily-Omemee, the Millbrook, the Ennismore and the Bridgenorth Volunteer Fire Departments who were in need of new equipment consisting of trucks, emergency rescue vans, rescue equipment and a marine rescue unit.  With our support and the support of other service organizations we were able to satisfy those needs. The Volunteer Fire Fighting Training Centre near Norwood asked for and received our support. The renovation of the Public Library in Bridgenorth was partially funded by us. Local schools, minor hockey, baseball and soccer leagues, figure skating clubs, 4-H Clubs,Youth Groups, Scouts and Girl Guides received our assistance. We even had the privilege of sending a local girl to compete in the 1988 Special Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.

Club members don’t even mind getting their hands dirty and are actively involved in the Adopt- A- Road Program taking care of two long stretches of local roads. Some of our major local projects have included significant contributions to the following institutions and agencies: Ross Memorial Hospital, Peterborough Regional Health Centre, Lake St. Joseph Camp for the Blind, Five Counties Children Centre, Community Living. CNIB, Peterborough and Lindsay United Way Appeals, and the Association for Children with Learning Disabilities.

When tragedy strikes in our community, the Fowlers Corners Lions Club is there to offer not only monetary assistance, but also personal time to help people. We have served individuals covering an area from Curve Lake to Millbrook and from Peterborough to Lindsay.

In 2020, our club is still vital and remains committed to serving the local and international communities.

Copy of Original Charter: Fowlers Corners and District Lions club-1985

Fowlers Corners and District Lions Club Club History: A Continuation

1986 -2022
As I See It – Lion Bernie Baudisch

* Thanks to Lions Larry Franks and Bob Warren for information, encouragement and editing.

Looking at Norman Knott’s “Growing Up” makes me think of the Fowlers Corners and District Lions Club as entering its middle age. It may be the time to reflect on the trials, tribulations and successes that we have lived through to get us to where we are now and to think about how the future might unfold. I don’t have a crystal ball but can attempt to point out both where we’ve been and our possible future.

Of the 30 men listed on the Charter Certificate nine are deceased, seven have moved away, six still live in the area, three never showed up for the Charter Night, five are still active Lions in the club and one Life Member has moved away. Of the 140 people who have been members, eighthave passed away as active members, six have passed away after retiring from the club and 36 are still active Lions. For many years, membership in Lions Clubs was only available to men but as times changed so did the club and women were accepted as Lions and have proven to be equal and invaluable members. It’s gratifying to think that over the span of more than 35 years, 140 individuals made the decision to become Lions at our club. Some have decided to move on and some have stayed for the long run but all have made a contribution to the club.

In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s the club purchased a parcel of land on Hwy 7 and spent a great deal of money to build a baseball diamond and a soccer field for community use. Both of which were used by Peterborough Soccer and Minor Baseball for some time. The club members built a picnic shelter and planted memorial trees and there were plans to build a new Community Hall. “Bingo at the Barn” had come to an end in 1998 and two years later the club decided to become a bingo hall operator. The appropriate Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission (OLG) and Peterborough County and Smith Township licenses and approvals were obtained. A suitable building on Chemong Road was leased. The costs of lease improvements needed in order to open and operate “Good Time Bingo” were very high but now that the club had its own bingo hall the spirit of optimism ran high. The charities that ran the bingos made some money but we, the owners, did not fare as well. Concurrent with our bingo hall opening, the province opened Kawartha Downs Slots, providing an uneven playing field and our fortunes proceeded to go downhill. The club members worked really hard but the writing was on the wall that the venture would become untenable.

The demise of our “Good Time Bingo” ushered in a period of turmoil for the club. The club found itself in debt as its main fund raiser died, leaving the club holding the bag. Some members found this very stressful and left. I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that the club was nearly in tatters, holding on only by a thread. I already stated that the club was in debt – a lot of debt. The bank wasn’t too willing to throw a life line, but a neighbouring Lions club was and offered to pay off our debts. It was a tempting offer but the members knew they couldn’t let someone else get them out of the mess they had gotten themselves into. There were many hard discussions and the only viable option was to sell the property on Hwy 7. It was sold to a group of soccer enthusiasts who promised to keep it as a community sports facility and the “Lions Spiplex” came into being. With the proceeds of the sale, the club was able to pay off its debts and have some money left over to invest and keep for future community projects.

In the early ninety’s, the Loyal Orange Lodge 41 was in the process of dissolving and looking for a community group that might take over the building at Orange Corners. The club was already holding meetings there and subsequently became the sole owners when the Orange Lodge Chapter closed. The building was renamed the Orange Corners Community Hall. The hall was in desperate need of updates and renovations which were soon started and completed through the efforts and skills of the members under the leadership of Lion Bob Van Dompseler. New members were found and new income opportunities were explored and developed. The club discovered lotteries – cars, ATV’s and snowmobiles. The members became sellers of fireworks, foil and plastic wrap, Lions Chocolate Easter Bunnies , Christmas trees and provided events where local artisans could sell their creations . When the opportunity arose to run a cruise night for antique, vintage and classic cars the club did not hesitate. Things were looking up. The club was still giving money to worthy causes but most of it was earmarked for charitable organizations as specified on our lottery licenses.

The 100th Anniversary of Lions Clubs International in 2017 offered clubs an opportunity to embark on major projects to help commemorate the occasion. Lions Larry Franks and Carl Young started work on an amazing project to raise $200,000 to replace and up-date surgical equipment for the Peterborough Regional Health Center’s Cataract Surgery Unit. Reaching and surpassing that goal would include the combined efforts of thirty two Lions and Lioness Clubs from District A3 and A16 and became the second highest monetary project in Canada. The club’s efforts and successes were greatly acknowledged by both PRHC and LCI. More recently the club passed the $100,000 milestone of donations to Five Counties Children Center while still continuing its ongoing support of many other charities. The club accepted the challenge to maintain a section of the Trans Canada Trail and just recently the task has become easier with the installation of new decking on the Doube’s Trestle Bridge. There is no more lifting, cutting and replacing rotting pieces of 2 by 8 decking, but Lion David Birch is still able to find trail maintenance work for the willing Lions.

Fund raising projects were profitable and Lions member participation rate hit the 100% mark. Service projects were completed and everything was going well for the club. The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019 with its myriad restrictions and regulations threw the proverbial monkey wrench into the works. Cruise Night at Craftworks was cancelled. Fireworks sales plummeted. The possibility of impending municipal restrictions on fireworks sales is disturbing. In person Lions meetings were not possible and ZOOM took on new meaning in our vocabulary. New and different fund raising streams had to be found. Lion Bob Warren’s Ways & Means Committee had to do more than just brainstorming lists of ideas – and it certainly did.

Lion John Dewar proposed that the club should run an Internet based Catch the Ace raffle program. All of the club members were in total agreement on starting this venture and were immediately faced by a number of obstacles. This would involve obtaining a license from the AGCO – no small feat, securing a company to provide the software solutions and technical assistance - $4,000 – plus incidental tasks such as the construction of a backdrop for the weekly video draws. Lions John Dewar, Larry Franks and Scott Mason became the leaders of this venture and expended an inordinate amount of effort and time to bring it to fruition. Meanwhile, they also undertook to increase the club’s “Break Open Ticket” project from one active location to five with three more in the wings.

This is the beauty of new and old members working together! Things are definitely looking up. Again in September 2021 the members were again able to hold regular dinner meetings catered by the wonderful staff from the Cheese Shop. New members with new ideas are being attracted and welcomed by the club. Plans are being drawn up to make this year’s “Cruise Night” the best yet. Members are selling KD Cloths. The older members are not saying, “We can’t do that!”, instead, “Why not!” has become their mantra and once again proving that working together is step one in accomplishing what others might deem impossible.

Lions Clubs International News
Connect with Us Online