When James Henry Vidal (pictured on the left) moved from New Westminster to White Rock in the spring of 1934, he was already an avid bowler. He immediately began a campaign to establish a bowling club here, with the assistance of Rev. W.C. Frank (on the right) of the United Church. Five people held a first meeting in the library room of Mrs. North's block on May 29, 1935 where a committee was formed with a plan to canvas for subscribers of shares in a lawn bowling club. Rev. Frank was appointed acting chair, James Vidal, acting secretary.
The first bowling green was Mr. Habgood's lawn on Stayte Road, which was rented from him in May 1935 at a cost of $10.00 for the summer. The very first game was played June 19, with thrice bowling weekly after that in the evenings. Player numbers swelled to 14. As the days shortened into fall, bowling was moved to the afternoons. Bowls were scarce, but bowlers delighted in sharing bowls and the luscious strawberries and raspberries from the Habgood patches.
A fall meeting of October 2, 1935, held in the United Church manse, was spent reviewing the year and planning for a permanent club site. The first financial report was given. A possible site had been found and George Palmer, green's keeper at Terminal City Bowling Club, Vancouver attended the meeting to report his assessment of the site owned by Mr. Tully. The site, part of one city block, bounded by Pacific Avenue, Royal Avenue and D (Dolphin) Street. Mr. Palmer approved the site as suitable and was paid $5.00 for his services. That night a decision was made to purchase the Tully site. Mr. Tully was given a down payment of $5.00. Provisional Officers were elected for the coming year (1936): President, Re. U.H. Oswald; Vice-president, Mrs. Calderbank; Secretary, James Henry Vidal; Treasurer, John MacMillan. Others present at the meeting were: Rev. Frank, Mr. Calderbank, Mrs. MacMillan, Dr. and Mrs. Ross, and George Foster. Rev. Oswald and James Vidal were commissioned to draft a constitution and by-laws and registering the new club as the Semiahmoo Lawn Bowling Club. Special help was received from the Terminal Lawn Bowling Club of Vancouver.
The first annual general meeting of the club, was held May 12, 1936. Rev. H.V. Oswald was in the chair. The most pressing question on the agenda was the discussion of a mortgage loan to pay the balance owing on the site to Mr. Tully. By November of that year the club had become a member of the BC Lawn Bowling Association. Membership fees were set at $5.00 per member per year. The first financial statement showed assets of $55.00.
A building committee was established to incorporate the club under the Society Act, and make arrangements for laying out the green and ensuring a proper and playable green. After a busy spring of leveling, drainage, seeding, and fencing, thoughts began to surface about building a club house. A Mr. Walter was engaged as architect and builder and with the help of the members, laid the foundation and floor for the new building, and prepared the frame of the structure. In the course of a few months the club house was completed. Though not elaborate, it provided a convenient and comfortable shelter for club activities.
The formal opening of the Semiahmoo Lawn Bowling Club took place on July 8, 1936 with 100 people in attendance. Bowlers from New Westminster, Abbotsford, Bellingham and Vancouver attended. The president of the New Westminster Club threw the first Jack and a Mr. Reid rolled the first bowl. The new green accommodated 8 rinks. It was a momentous and happy occasion. The New Westminster Club played a very supportive role in the formation of the club, in laying out the green, and the loan of equipment etc.
In 1937 bowlers from South Africa, 30 men and 15 women, were entertained. This was the first of many visitation were guests from abroad were entertained. Club membership fees were set as: Men, $10.00; Ladies, $5.00; and for non-members using the green, 25 cents per game.
In 1938 the first executive meeting dealt with the question regarding that portion of land still held by Mr. Tully, and which the club had a verbal agreement to buy. It was agreed to purchase the 66 foot by 140 foot parcel of land on the north end of the property for the sum of $250.00 and in turn rent it back to Mr. Tully for the sum of $5.00 every six months. If the acquired property was not needed, it could be sold sometime in the future. Unfortunately, Depression woes forced the sale of this property (for the same amount paid for it) in 1940, and the funds were applied to the existing $450 mortgage.
1939 saw the creation of the Ladies' Division. A full discussion of forming their own division was held at the request of the Ladies. The proposal was granted. The ladies retained full membership in the club and continued to be an integral part of the club.
The years 1940 to 1950 were to the Semiahmoo Lawn Bowling Club years of trials and errors. Through the help and dedication and foresight of those members who devoted so much of their time and energies it survived the Depression years and the War years. Like so many social and business organizations the club contributed to the war effort by sending parcels overseas and working on behalf of the Red Cross. Names so prominent in those early days were W. Coo, who served for many years as President and guided the club through many difficult times, Mr. Vidal, R.B. Gaskarth, A.Greenwood, Mrs. Holmes, W. Frank to name a few who contributed so much and so often to the welfare of the club.
1940 saw the legal Deed to the property registered in the name of the Semiahmoo Lawn Bowling Club. Thus the land title, held for so many years by Mr. Tully, passed to the Semiahmoo Club. Mr. LB Calderbank was the President of the Club in 1940 when the deed was registered.
In 1943, the mortgage debt was released against the club and property, with payment of $100.00 and a Promissory Note for $50.00 for eight months. This brought a sigh of relief from the membership as they could see at last a light at the end of the tunnel of indebtedness. The membership continued to grow, and the executive set a limit of 75 members for the club. Fees remained at $10.00 for men and $5.00 for women. In 1948, the ladies set up their own division but they still remained an integral part of the club, but became an independent entity with their own executive and games program. The first President of the Ladies' Division was Mrs. Holmes, who had been an active member for many years.
This is the White Rock Bowling Club and its membership in May of 1947.
In 1948 the decision was made to employ a greens-keeper. Mr. Jameson became the first paid greens-keeper at a salary of $50.00 per month.
In November 1949 the club's name Semiahmoo Lawn Bowling Club was changed to the White Rock Lawn Bowling Club, and operated under the existing Constitution and By-Laws and under the authority of the BC Society Act.
The years 1951 to 1970 continued to be ones of progress for the club. Each year improvements were made to the facilities and green. Improvement of the grounds surrounding the Club House resulted in a beautiful display of plants and flowers which gave the Club House such a pleasing appearance.
Each President and their executives in office during this time contributed to a share in the progress. Membership increased, finances showed improvement, and all added up to a very progressive and active club. Presidents of the club during this period were Jim Hazlett, Cyril Huntley, Dick Bennett, Gordon McDougall, and Austin Elliott.
The White Rock Lawn Bowling Club, always a very competitive club, and many of our members distinguished themselves over the years.
Through the 1960s the club was faced with increasing costs. The club made application to the City of White Rock in 1967 for a grant to offset these expenses, on the grounds that the club had been catering to and furnishing enjoyment to senior citizens and that the City had received valuable publicity from the club's activities. However, the grant was not forth coming but the club received $100.00 rebate on that years taxes. This was very disappointing as it appears that the White Rock Bowling Club was the only Lawn Bowling property paying taxes. The financial statement for the year ending September 1968 showed a balance of $925.81.
Visitations, then as now, played an important part in the clubs' social activities. Games were played at Terminal City, Vancouver, Bellingham, Vancouver Heights, Chilliwack, New Westminster and Stanley Park.
This is a good view of the club house and green in 1964. It is typical of the warm summer days when members could enjoy an afternoon of "bowls". In 1964 the club hosted visitors from the United Kingdom. The bowling tour was made up of participants from all over England, Scotland and Ireland. After an afternoon of friendly bowling competition, a turkey supper was served in the club house and attended by some 100 visitors and club members.
1968 saw the start of a building fund. A cheque for $100.00 was received from the family of Mr. Buzza. Mr. Wilbur Dawson was appointed trustee of the building fund.
In 1970, total membership totaled 91; 50 ladies, and 41 men. The financial statement showed $1,098.00 on hand.
In 1971 the executive discussed the possibility of entering into an agreement with the City of White Rock to incorporate the club's bowling property into the City's Parks Department and in return be given a lease in perpetuity. The City of White Rock advised the club that they could not enter into any such agreement, but the club continued to press for a reduction in taxes on the grounds it was a non-profit organization.
By the early 1970s the club had grown to 70 members. The annual dues were $20.00 for men and $15.00 for woman. The club was owned by the members and was free of debt. The club house was suffering from the ravages of time and was beyond economical restoration or repair. Fences, curbs and backboards on the greens needed replacing. Members had long recognized the need for new facilities, but the problem was where to get the necessary funds. The building fund had accumulated $3,300.00. Private Lawn Bowling Clubs were the exception. Most facilities were on City or Municipal land and paid no taxes.
In 1973 the club's taxes were $500.00, but there was a change in Provincial Government in 1972 and in 1973 they introduced and passed legislation under the Municipal Act, whereby private clubs, and commercial and industrial property had large increases in assessments and consequently in taxes. The 1974 tax notice showed the taxes to be over $1,800.00. It was quite a shock. Fortunately for the club the City agreed to forgo all of the 1974 taxes. However, a long term permanent solution was necessary.
In 1973 the City of White Rock had just acquired Maccaud Park. There was room for two greens and a new club house. The City agreed to give White Rock Lawn Bowl a site there. The matter was then discussed by the Club's executive with a recommendation that we sell our present site which would divide into 6 lots and raise about $30,000.00 as a start toward the new facilities. A special meeting of the members was called and the executive was authorized to proceed. At a subsequent public hearing, the residents adjacent to the park objected so strenuously that the City was obliged to withdraw the offer.
In early 1974, Mayor Don MacDonald, who was trying to acquire more park land, made the club a new offer. The City would give us $40,000.00 toward the cost of a new building if we turned over the property to them and the City would give the club a long term lease for $1.00 a year free of property taxes. The Provincial Government would grant 1/3 of the total cost in addition to this, and New Horizons of the Federal Government would make grants for equipment and furniture. Another special meeting of the members was called and they approved of this new proposal. Cost estimates were made, applications submitted for the Provincial and Federal grants, and our property transferred to the City in July of 1974.
The club house cost $68,596.00. The City agreed to do additional work by installing a larger water main, new storm sewers, curbs, gutters, and pave the parking area. This cost was $5,883.00, so their final contribution was $49,653.00. The Provincial Government contributed $214,826.00 and the Federal New Horizons program $6,300.00.
The new Club house was officially opened on April 4, 1975. On opening day approximately 140 people attended. Mayor Don McDonald of the City of White Rock officially opened the new building. He paid tribute to the cooperation of the Club members, the Federal and Provincial Governments for their support and assistance. President Bryce Dickey was Master of Ceremonies.
Presidents during the 1971 to 1980 period were: Bryce Dickey, Gordon Landon, Cecil W. Towse, Andy Gregg, and Jim French. As of July 1976 the membership had increased to 143 members. The club's financial situation had improved with some $7,000.00 in the bank and term deposits, and all bills paid. One of the provisions now the Club House was a public facility was to make it accessible to the public. Friday night card games were now opened to the public and in 1977 some 797 players attended that season. After much discussion, a telephone was installed in the Club House.
In 1979 the club house had sustained fire damage. After restoration the club house was officially re–opened in March 1979.
Presidents during the 1981 to 1990 period were; Jim French, Stan Woolgar, Andy Scott, Orley Fuson, Len Baker, Gordon Carson, Bob MacKeracher, and Mildred Thornton. Each President, in their own way contributed so much in so many ways and gave so freely of their time and talents to make our Club one of the most progressive in the Lower Mainland.
In 1982 Sandy Scott, along with Eileen Pettie, Ralph Adshead, Alf Marcotte and Cec Towse enrolled in the BCLBA coaching classes held in North Vancouver and all graduated as coaches (Level 2) and produced a Club coaching manual for the benefit of all members.
1984 marked the 50th anniversary of the Club. The special events of this year included an Open House on July 7, 1984 when our own and previous members celebrated this occasion. August 12, 1984 was the second Open House. This time all the presiding Officers of the Bowling Clubs in the Lower Mainland were our guests. Some 110 people came to help us celebrate on this special occasion.
This is a good view of the club house and green in 1984. This was the year of the Club's 50th Anniversary. A number of special events took place to mark the anniversary.
In the latter part of the 1980s saw the membership of the Club grown steadily. Work continued on improving the green and especially the grounds around the new club house and green.
Volunteering has been basic to the life of the bowling club over the last 75 years. Ladies have been very busy over the years: in the kitchen, preparing teas; dinners, banquets, holding sales, keeping the flower gardens or taking executive positions within the club or in the BC Bowls Association.
In 1987, the separate mens and ladies divisions were amalgamated at the Provincial level and so White Rock's Ladies Division was merged with the men's division and operated under one executive.
The separate Ladies division that began in 1948 came to an end in 1987 when the mens and ladies divisions were amalgamated on the Provincial level. This is a partial list of the presidents of the ladies division. The first ladies president was Mrs. Holmes. The other presidents names have been lost with time.
Maintenance on the club house, the green, and the grounds has largely fallen to the men. Preparation in April for the new bowling season, regular cutting of the green and the associated fertilizing, watering, and repair is all done by volunteers. Punching and sanding of the green in late September before putting the green to bed for the winter is a major volunteer effort. Maintenance of the grounds, benches, and club house are some of the many volunteer opportunities. Regular Thursday volunteer maintenance crews, along with seasonal volunteer crews have kept the club in pristine shape.
The White Rock Lawn Bowling Club is governed by its members. General Meetings are held in the Spring and Fall to determine Club policy and procedures. The executive for the following year is elected in the fall. Here are the members and the head table at the October 1990 General Meeting.
In 1990 a new rose garden was created in the middle of the lawn east of the club house. A new lawn around the green was established, cement bases for the benches were poured, and cement pads west of the club house and a cement side walk on the north side of the green in front of the club house was installed.
In 1992 the Club House under went major renovations. This included additions to the west end of the Club House and remodeling inside. The Club had received New Horizons grants of $17,000 plus some $4,333.00 casino money. This allowed the western extension which included: the bar/storage area, the locker room, and the work shed. Improved cement side walks, the front aluminum railing, and cement pads for the benches were the external parts of the renovation.
In 1994 the White Rock Bowling Club celebrated its 60th anniversary with events through out the season. On June 5th the club held a special anniversary tournament and a special celebration. At the celebration the Club's past presidents were recognized. Past Presidents from left to right are: Ruby Jensen, Alex Smith, Bryce Dickey, Jean Dickey, Beulah Huntley, Edna Woolgar, Stan Woolgar, Ruth Beauchamp.
In 1996 Beryl Harrington won gold in women's pairs at the National Lawn Bowling Championships. Harrington was lead and Selina Jarvis of Coquitlam was the skip. This was Beryl's second national gold having won her first in 1993.
There are a number of levels of competition at the White Rock Bowling Club. The afternoon drop in allows members to enter there names in an afternoon draw and play with a team drawn up by the draw master. This provides an entertaining and enjoyable games for the participants. Evening League Play allows member to sign up in fixed teams or teams that will be made up to play regular evening competitions. Special events and competitions allows members to enter into competitive play in one to four day events. Vancouver and District play allows teams to enter into competitions hosted by member clubs through out Greater Vancouver. Provincial competitions involve round robin tournaments to determine the best in the Province. Gold metal winners in the BC Provincials then are eligible to enter the Canadian National Championships.
White Rock, over the years, have had some very successful bowlers who have won gold in the BC Provincial Championships and have gone on to success in the Canadian Nationals.
For the first time in club history, the White Rock Lawn Bowling club will send on of their own to the international stage. Marlene Cleutinx was selected to compete in the World Bowls Championship, which are in New Zealand this January.
"It's really exciting," she said. "There are some big events around, but this is the competition to go to."
Cleutinx was one of five women chosen off the Canadian National tam roster to take part in the tournament. In order to qualify for the team, bowlers' medal totals from the past four national championships are tallied up, and the top performers head to Worlds.
Cleutinx, who moved to the Peninsula from Manitoba in 2001, had two silver medals and one bronze during that time. The National team selection is the biggest accolade yet for Cleutinx, who's been bowling more than 20 years. "I just like the sport," she explained. "I used to curl when I lived in Manitoba, and lawn bowling is similar - its all weight control. I don't get to curl anymore because we go Arizona, but it leaves lots of time for bowling."
Except for a brief training camp, the 10 players haven't had any time to practice together, considering they span the country - only one other player, Hiran Bhartu, is from BC. Cleutinx will get plenty of practice time in before January's competition. "Arizona is a great place to practice," she said. "You have to play a lot of tournaments too, because you can't practice some of the shots that you'll have to make in competition."
There have been many people responsible for the success of the White Rock Bowling Club over the years. Those in the leadership roles were very important. Here is a list of the Presidents of the club from 1936 to 2010.
1936 Rev. V.H. Oswald
1937 Rev. W. Franks
1938 John D. McMillan
1939 James Vidal
1940 W.L. Calderbank
1941 H.C. Bloom
1942 H. Baker
43–49 W.J. Coo
1950 R.B. Gasarth
1951 Col. P. Pitman
52–53 Jim Hazlet
54–55 Gordon McDougal
56–57 Walter Hunter
1958 Frank Melmes
59–60 A.H. Craik
1961 A. Campbell
1962 J.H. Morris
1963 G.A.W. Wilson
64–65 C.W. Dawson
66–67 Dick Bennett
1968 J.A. Hazlett
69–70 Austin Elliot
71–72 Cyril Huntley
73–74 G.I. Landon
1975 Bryce Dickey
76-77 Cecil Towse
1978 Andy Gregg
79–80 Jim French
1981 Stan Woolgar
1982 Andy Scott
1983 Orly Fuson
1984 Stan Woolgar
1985 Len Baker
86–87 Gordon Carson
1988 Bob MacKeracher
89–90 Mildred Thornton
1991 Alex Smith
1992 Lois Paul
93–94 Alfred Bennett
1995 Joan Maclean
96–97 Jack Chessa|
1998 Jim Lyder
1999 Mickey Dekker
2000 Marjorie Defoe
01–02 Beryl Harrington
03–04 Phillis Hermanson
2005 Jack Chessa
2006 Ann Gardiner
2007 Beryl Harrington
2008 Wolfgang Schmitz
2009 Jim Logan
2010 Arlene McGinn
2011 Jim Previer
2012–13 Marlene Cleutinx
2013 Rollie Cook
2014 Rollie Cook
Be it resolved that:
The White Rock Lawn Bowling Club replace its existing green with the best available new sub and top surfaces, preferably incorporating an artificial surface.
The White Rock Lawn Blowling Club apply for and take all necessary steps to obtain a Government Grant, donations, and other funding to assist with the green replacement, including use of the club's savings as determined appropriate by the Club's Executive and including entering into contracts in the Clubs's name with consultants, contractors, subcontractors, donors and others as approved by the Club's Executive, all in order to accomplish the goal of the replacement of the Club's green.
A Green's Committee of Wolgang Schmitz, Bob Horsman, and Tom Miller convinced the Provincial and City Governments of the urgent requirement for a new green. A $100,000 loan repayable, at the current interests rates for other City investments, over ten years was negotiated and agreed upon with the City of White Rock. A new ten year lease for the Club property was negotiated with the City. With the City of White Rock's approval for the surface redevelopment, the Green's Committee finalized its negotiations with the Province for a $110,000 grant. The unwavering commitment by President Wolfgang Schmitz brought all the parties together and agreements negotiated.
On July 29th, 2008 and extraordinary meeting of all members of the White Rock Lawn Bowling Club was held at the Club House.
Items on the agenda included:
At this extraordinary meeting the membership was made fully aware of the cost connected with the installation of the artificial green and the projected repayment plans for the $100,000 loan from the City of White Rock.
Excavation of the old green, installing new drainage systems, laying an compacting a gravel base, and installation of the new artifical green took place during September and October of 2008.
The pictures above are of the original green prior to construction. The original green had drainage problems. In the winter, heavy rains of melting snow would leave a pond near the centre of the green. In the summer portions of the green would dry out and brown patches or thin patches would result.
Bob Horsman was the chairman or the constuction committee and had the overall responsiblity for the construction of the new green. The members of the Construction Committee were Ken Wright and Joe Van Vliet. Ken contributed engineering, project management expertise and City liaison. Joe contributed valuable construction management experience.
RF Binnie & Associates Ltd., from Surrey provided the Civil Engineering Design services and drawings. Cedar Crest Lands Ltd., from Langley, (Brian Kohlen) provided the Civil Work which included a new drainage system, new curbing, a level base course and top course.
Marathon Athletic Surfaces Inc., from Surrey, (Rob Sinclair) supplied and installed the rubberized elastic layer. Dales Sports Surfaces Ltd., from Lincolnshire, England (Richard White) supplied and installed the Mastergreen needle punch outdoor Lawn Bowling Carpet and underlay.
The finished bowling lawn carpet was laid out to cover the surface as well the the ditch and back board. The carpet was stretched by kicking into place much as residential carpet is.
The new artifical green has an expected life span of 10–12 years. UV damage to the upper turf layer will require its replacement within that time frame. A new fence and retaining wall needs to be built to protect the new green.
The year began with winter bowling. The new green allowed winter bowling as the weather permitted. Leaque play took place on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Over 1700 bowling hours took place over the course of the winter, with casual member bowling added to this. 20 members from other clubs joined the White Rock club to participate in the winter leaque play.
On April 17th Gordon Hogg, the White Rock South Surrey MLA proclaimed that 2010 was the year of the White Rock Bowling Club in Surrey and White Rock. The marked the beginning of the events recognizing 75 years of active lawn bowling by the Club members.
During the week of May 24–28, White Rock Lawn Bowling Club hosted the Bowls Canada Team Trails for the Commonwealth Games to be held in Delhi, India in October 2010. Dispite some wet weather, the competitors enjoyed the use of White Rock new green.
As part of White Rock Lawn Bowling Club's Celebration 75, the club hosted the Canadian Mixed Pairs Championships. From September 7th to September 14th teams from across Canada vied for the National Championship. Gold went to the Quebec Team, Silver to the Ontario A team and Bronze to the British Columbia B team. Mary Wright, a White Rock Club member, was part of the Bronze winning BC team.
The membership for 2010 totalled 191 members. 18 of these were joint members in that they also belonged to another club. League bowling involved week days and week evenings from the second week in May until early September. Open club bowling took place 7 days a week at 1 pm for club members. Sponsored tournaments occurred most weeks beginning on Tuesdays. Inter-club play also occurred on some weekends and some members participated in the Greater Vancouver competitions. A number of teams competed in the Provincial play downs, and two teams and two individuals successfully advanced the the Canadian Nationals in Edmonton. The 75th anniversary year was a active and successful one.
As part of White Rock Lawn Bowling Club's Celebration 75, Lois Paul and Jim Rayner are cutting the Anniversary Cake. Both Lois and Jim are senior members of the Lawn Bowl Club and joined the Club about the same time.
Some the the White Rock Lawn Bowling Club members celebrating part of the Anniversary activities.
Winter bowling will begin in mid–October and 33 members from other clubs have joined White Rock for the winter bowling.
The green and the club house 2013