More than 56 Years of Community Service
The Kiwanis Club of Manotick was chartered on November 22, 1960, following a meeting at Rideau Glen Restaurant on old Highway 16. The club of 25 men has grown steadily over the years, to its current complement of 60 men and women; Past President Dale Davidson remains the only active founding and charter member.
In 1960, Manotick was a rural village of about 600 people located 20 Kms south of the City of Ottawa. Over the years, while the Village grew tenfold, the Club has been an important contributor, having led or participated in many major projects that brought new services to the community. For their 5th Anniversary, in January 1965, the club bought and renovated the Ayers Building on Mill Street to house the Manotick Library. That building was eventually sold and the money raised was used to jump start the construction of the Rideau Township Arena, a facility used intensively throughout the year. The Ayers Building is now the home of Rural Ottawa South Support Services (ROSSS), an agency providing essential home services to the elderly and infirm across rural Ottawa.
Among its other contributions to the built environment of the Village were the building of a first-class community swimming pool and aquatic centre; the new Manotick Library; the rebuilt Manotick Legion Hall; the Centennial Park playground and skateboard structures; athletic facilities at several Manotick schools; as well as restoration of Watson’s Mill and the establishment of Millers Oven, a seniors drop-in centre and tea room in the Village that has been run by volunteers since 1983.
Support for children include: ski and swimming lessons in the 1960’s; the starting of a 1st Manotick Boy Scouts troop, as well as support for local Girl Guides and Pathfinders; annual support of the 2958 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps; sponsorship of local hockey and curling teams; the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa; the 4H Club; Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind and many other individual and group activities.
The Kiwanis Club of Manotick provides Bursaries and Scholarships to students each year at three local High Schools: South Carleton High School in Richmond, St. Mark Catholic High School in Manotick, and St. Francis Xavier Catholic High School in Riverside South. The Kiwanis Club of Manotick also supports a Key Club at St. Mark Catholic High School. A Key Leader Camp is held each autumn at Arden, Ontario to bring future leaders together to learn new skills and help set new directions for their lives.
The Club has also supported many in need in this community, including seniors, through a variety of on-going programs and special projects. It has furnished a room at the Queensway Carleton Hospital, and a lounge at Hyfield Place senior’s residence in Manotick where the Club Board meets on the second Tuesday of each month. It assists the Manotick Food Cupboard, and has helped with the local Meals on Wheels program, a program of ROSSS. For many years, the Club has conducted monthly bingo nights for residents at Hyfield Place and the nearby Carleton Lodge long-term care facility. It assists Canadian Blood Services conduct a blood donor clinic every second month.
Members support a group of 54 developmentally challenged adults who meet at the Ottawa Aktion Club for bi-monthly dinner meetings.
During the 1960s and 70’s, the Club put on Storybrook Farm at the annual Eastern Canada Exhibition to give children a chance to experience farm life and animals they may have only seen through a car window. For several years, Ron Howard (“Opie” on the “Andy of Mayberry” hit TV show) starred at the Farm. The Club also hosted Grey Cup events when the fall classic was held in Ottawa. During Kiwanis year 1970-71, Robert J. Faulkner, a member of the Kiwanis Club of Manotick was Governor of the OQM (now the EC&C) District of Kiwanis International.
For more than 15 years, the Club organized an annual Fun Run/Walk/Skate as part of Dickinson Days weekend. In the early 1990’s, it took over running Dickinson Days from the Manotick Kinsmen Club. This celebration of the founding of Manotick for the whole community is held on the first weekend in June. A parade, children’s show and major fireworks display begin the weekend on Friday evening. Thousands attend the exciting craft market, cheer local performers on the outdoor stage in Dickinson Square, participate in the children’s catch-and-release fishing derby and take part in various street events.
Since its inception, members support the local Business Improvement Association’s “Taste of Manotick”, an annual event that brings out the village to sample the wares of Manotick’s many businesses. Booths are set up on the closed Main Street and Kiwanians man the barricades to ensure safety. At the end of August, members volunteer to assist the Manotick Soap Box Derby, an event now in its 9th year that relies on Kiwanis, Legion and Lions members.
Each winter, the Club erects a welcoming Christmas tree at the main intersection in the Village and puts on a Christmas party for children from disadvantaged families. It hosts a Pancake Breakfast during the Village’s ShiverFest Winter Carnival, held at the end of January each year. Since 1985, it has supported financially and with volunteers the Kiwanis Music Festival - National Capital Region, a judged competition in which more than ten thousand local young musicians participate.
The Club has traditionally raised funds through two main service activities: the sale of Christmas trees and cakes, and by assisting at the Ottawa BingoLand South centre some 48 times per year. A Donations Committee considers financial requests made by groups and individuals and recommends to the Board of Directors how to dispense the approximately $40,000 per year the Club fundraises.
When you walk the streets of Manotick and appreciate the health and integrity of the community, its many historic buildings and parks, and the rich cultural events that make the village a special place for so many, it is in no small part due to the many contributions made over the last half century by the dedicated and enthusiastic men and women who belong to the Kiwanis Club of Manotick.
Brian Cromie, Club Director, January 2012 (updated: September 2015, August 2016)