A Chronology of the Regina Gyro Club
1920 - founding of The Reveille Club. Many of the first Regina Gyros were originally members of the Reveille Club, aimed at promoting "good citizenship" and to be comprised of "young business and professional men resident in the city of Regina." The club itself was not to take action "in any religious or political question."
1921 - October 20th: Petition to establish the Regina club. October 26th: Constitution and Bylaws written.
November 17th: Founding Banquet and Installation, at the Regina Trading Company Banquet Hall
1922 - the Club tried meeting at noon but it was found too much of a rush, so meetings were every other Thursday evening. November 9th: the Regina Gyro Club's first public event was to sponsor a "monster" radio concert over CKCK. It was claimed that this was the first-ever musical broadcast by a Gyro Club and it was heard as far away as Des Moines, Iowa. An All-Star concert at the Capitol Theatre on December 10th supported the Children's Shelter, and the Dixie Jubilee Singers were sponsored at Westminster Church on December 21st.
1923 - the Club held its meetings on the top floor of the New Trading Company Building..."so that there was little danger of annoying the public" (as Gyro historian and humourist Ernie Kynch recalled). Kynch added that in 1923 the Club endorsed affiliation with the League of Nations and "thus we became a world power." A Moose Jaw Gyro Club was started in 1923 and functioned until 1930. In 1923 the Gyro song "Cheerio" was written by Stanley Bennett and Fraser Allan of Gyro International.
1924 - a big event of 1924 was the "Gyro Whirl," a midway and fair in Broad Street Park. This event raised revenue of $14,000. The first Gyro student achievement medal was presented to a student at Central Collegiate in 1923-24.
1925 - in August the Gyro Club sponsored a boxing event at Exhibition Stadium. Due to poor weather, many expected from out of town did not come, and the event lost $1067. But this was the Club's only unsuccessful event. In September the Club presented a "snappy variety show" called Glorious Girl. Proceeds from such events were donated to a wide variety of causes. The list for 1924-25 includes Babies Welfare, Children's Shelter, Leader-Post Cheer Fund, Local Council of Women Milk Fund, National Institute for the Blind, Salvation Army Women's Social Settlement, Leader-Post Farmers' Fund, Russian Relief Fund, and others.
1926 - Gyro George Schlamp and Mrs Schlamp were blessed with triplet boys in August. Schlamp was a CNR employee who chaired the Gyro Children's Welfare Committee. When the triplets came he had to resign, to "transfer his activity nearer home." Kynch adds that there seemed to be a great demand for Gyros, and the Club had to stop the practice of giving wedding gifts for budgetary reasons.
- a committee was formed in 1925 to plan a golf course. The Regina Gyro Citizens' Golf Course was opened on August 6th of 1926, with nine holes and sand greens, between Elphinstone Street and the present airport. A club house was built in 1927, the course was increased to eighteen holes, and two foot bridges were built across Wascana Creek.
1927 - inauguration of the Gyro Shield for Intercollegiate Rugby.
-on April 30th Gyro sponsored a concert by "Canada's foremost mezzo-soprano" Cedia Brault; a concert at the Capitol Theatre on December 11th raised funds to purchase quartz lamps for babies welfare (mothers were treated with quartz light before they gave birth to prevent rickets)
1928 - sponsorship of exhibition hockey between Regina and Winnipeg
-on November 18th a concert was held at the Capitol Theatre to buy a Frigidaire for babies welfare
1929 - Gyro sponsored a fancy-costume skating carnival for Valentines' Day on February 14th, and on April 15th a public lecture at Metropolitan Church on the role of Q Boats in World War I. A picnic for newsboys was held on June 8th and a fried chicken picnic at Hungry Hollow on September 11th.
1930 - Gyro sponsored a "made in Regina" exhibition in March--it cost $2500 to stage and it "did not lose money." A dinner was held for the championship junior hockey team, the Regina Pats, on April 10th. The Gyro District Convention was held in Regina in 1930, in July.The President of Gyro this year was "Piffles" Taylor, for whom Taylor Field was named.
- Even as late as the end of 1930 many thought the Great Depression would be a temporary economic setback. Ernie Kynch wrote that at Gyro meetings members talked of buying stocks at the "new low prices": "we had public sing-songs, when we tried to woo the bashful prosperity from around the corner, and we tried to mesmerize ourselves into thinking that happy days were here again. It now looks as if we were a little credulous." The Gyro monthly fee was $6.50 in 1929, but dropped to $2.50 by 1932 and remained there because people were so hard up.
1931 - proceeds from the Gyro golf course and from special events continued to be donated to a variety of local causes, including a midget rugby cup, the Leader-Post Christmas Cheer Fund, LCW Milk Fund, an aerial at Grey Nuns' Hospital, the Victorian Order of Nurses "Keep Smiling" campaign, the IODE Summer Camp, the Lieutenant Governor's Relief Fund ($400), donation of a Kelvinator to the Salvation Army home on Dewdney Avenue ($375) and donation of $500 to the Saskatchewan Lung Association to produce an anti-tuberculosis educational film.
1932 - on March 15th Gyro sponsored a beauty contest at the Trianon Ballroom, in aid of Community Clothing; over 650 couples attended the dance.
-in October a musical show entitled "Oh, Dear Me" was staged at Darke Hall
1933 - the Gyro Golf Course posted an operating loss of $53 for 1933, but rebounded in 1934 with a profit of $1025. The Course usually returned a small profit, which became a source of revenue for Gyro community donations. For example, in 1937 the Golf Course returned $1800 to the Club.
1937 - Gyro began sponsoring a "Turkey Shoot," at 2225 - 11th Avenue, with proceeds in support of the Leader-Post Christmas Cheer Fund. Participants would shoot at targets and the winners would receive a turkey. When World War II began the proceeds were redirected to support troops overseas. The event was discontinued in 1940 due to lack of a suitable venue.
- on February 17th, Gyro sponsored an organ recital at Metropolitan Church, by Canadian organist and composer Healey Willan
1941 - The Gyro Club of Regina Annual Golf Dinner and Dance was held at the Hotel Saskatchewan on November 28th. Those present sang "Show Me The Way To Play Golf" (to the tune of "Show Me The Way To Go Home"):
Show me the way to play golf,
I'm rotten but I want to win a game,
I had a good shot about an hour ago,
But I'm needing one again.
Wherever I may roam, in bunker, creek or rough,
You will always see me plugging along,
Trying to do my stuff.
The Regina Gyro Citizens' Golf Club printed "Score Card" noted that Wascana Creek was considered out of bounds, and that gopher holes, wheel tracks and hoof marks on the fairway were not considered as hazards
1942 - Gyro International published a booklet in 1941-42 entitled Gyro. Its Origin--Growth and Expansion. This educational document referred to the recent international convention held at Victoria, British Columbia. It described Gyro International as "democracy in operation. It starts with the individual Gyro, with the vote of the majority setting up a minimum number of formal rules necessary for the running of our organization." Perhaps it was this individualist perspective which led to a lukewarm reception for the "Regina Resolution." At the international convention of 1942, in Windsor, Ontario, the Regina Club proposed that all the clubs in Gyro International pursue some large, common objective. The Kinsmen's Milk Program was cited as an example--a program which donated over four million quarts of milk for children in war zones. The resolution was passed unanimously at the convention; but when it came to implementation only 15 clubs out of 92 responded, with a wide range of opinions. Some clubs supported the idea in principle while other clubs worried that a centralized program could undermine their local community programs.
1943 - a concert at Metropolitan Church on January 24th, earned $533.58 for Russian relief
1944 - a Military Band Concert was held on April 23rd
1945 - a concert by Dorothy Hamilton at Darke Hall on January 9th, in support of the Red Cross.
1946 - a recital by Francis Chaplin at Metropolitan Church on April 9th.
1947 - the inaugural year of a Gyro variety revue called Cavalcade of Song and then Stairs for Stars, on January 10th, 11th and 13th. This year the profit was $700.68, in aid of the Junior Red Cross, the Shrine Hospital in Winnipeg and Children's Aid. This annual event continued until 1980.
1955 - In 1948 and 1949 the Golf Course returned profits of $2500 and $2600, but profits dropped off in the early 1950s and the Club began losing money. By 1955 this trend was clear and in addition the club required significant expenditure to bring the clubhouse and grounds back to an acceptable standard. Both had deteriorated due to age and flooding. There was some controversy within the Club about whether to upgrade the Course but in the end it was decided that it was no longer viable to run a golf course on a largely volunteer basis.
1980 - The final Stairs for Stars variety show was held on April 19th. Stairs for Stars was an annual event in Regina for over thirty years (see 1947), initially at Darke Hall, then at the Sheldon Williams Collegiate Auditorium in the 1960s and after. The value of Stairs for Stars, both for individual performers and for the cultural community, is difficult to quantify but undoubtedly very significant. A performer in the 1969 show was Laura Belden-Dubois, who wrote in 2015 "I was very grateful for the Gyro Club's generous artistic encouragement. With such experiences there is always a 'domino effect,' and I know that I was invited to take part in further musical endeavours because of my performance in Stairs for Stars...Thanks to the Gyro Club, many musicians and performers have gone on to a lifelong appreciation of the arts." In the 1969 show Laura sang works by Mozart and Gilbert and Sullivan. She has recently retired as a Regina high-school teacher who has performed in and directed musicals, performed in and directed various choral groups and been an important contributor to the artistic life of the community over her whole career.
- in 1980 the Regina Club became part of District VIII of Gyro International, comprised of clubs in Alberta, British Columbia and the Northwestern United States.
To be continued...