After more than 88 years of service, the Kiwanis Club of Nanaimo is calling it a day.
Chartered in 1923, the club began serving the Nanaimo community with a variety of projects and by the early 1950s, saw a need for seniors’ housing.
Together with 14 other service organizations it formed the Nanaimo District Senior Citizens Housing Development Society in 1955 with a mandate to offer low-cost housing for seniors.
A 2.5-hectare parcel of land on Nelson Street was purchased and the first project – a series of nine duplex cottages – was completed in 1957. In 1970, two fourplexes were added to the village.
By the early 1970s, it was clear an intermediate care facility was needed in Nanaimo and Kiwanis Village Lodge was built to meet the needs. Other projects over the years included Kiwanis Manor, a new Kiwanis Lodge, the 45-unit soroptimists suites and Kiwanis Villa.
With the building projects completed and the society operating independent from the Kiwanis Club, momentum waned and the club’s membership began falling off.
The Polar Bear Bathtub Race fundraiser became the focal point of club activities and for the last five years raised more than $20,000 for the Canadian Diabetes Association.
But the single focus has not been enough to sustain the last few members, and most have transferred to the Sunrisers Kiwanis Club, leaving the club under the minimum workable level.
The club has organized a final member reunion Oct. 19 at 6 p.m. in the Firth Radcliffe Auditorium at Kiwanis House, 1233 Nelson St.
All past members are invited to celebrate the 88 years of service the club has given to Nanaimo. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.