Lionism Serves Humanity and Peace

Lions Clubs International 47th Annual Convention

July 8th to 11th, 1964 Toronto

By; Ray Charbonneau, Historian

 

In keeping with our look back at International Conventions in Toronto we follow up our coverage of the 1931 and 1942 events with the 1964 Annual General Meeting of Lions Clubs International.

One feels the need to explain the social, political and economic happenings in 1964 to set the climate of the time and how Lions were a part of it. This was of course the Space Age, The Nuclear Age and the Jet Age all at once. Nelson Mandella was sent to prison and race riots were occurring all over the USA where they gave us the Ford Mustang, GI Joe and Buffalo wings.

In Canada we all got Social Insurance Cards, we extended our fishing limit to 12 miles out and Northern Dancer won the Kentucky Derby, The Preakness and the Queen’s Plate. Tim Horton’s Coffee shops made their debut and the big nickel was erected in Sunbury. Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were making eyes in Toronto home while rehearsing for Broadway.

We were listening to the Beach Boys “I Get Around” and the Beatles “Can’t Buy Me Love” and watching My Fair Lady and Mary Poppins.

 

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The Toronto Skyline has not changed much since the 1942 convention. The tall modern towers would come a few years later.

 

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Yonge Street was a happening place except on Sunday.

 

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Our Airport was taking shape.

 

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Our new city hall was nearing completion.

 

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Once again we were back at the Royal York Hotel as Convention Headquarters and it had a new wing added to the east to accommodate increased business.

 

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The plenary sessions and entertainment were at Maple Leaf Gardens where the walls were still echoing from the Leafs 3rd Stanley Cup win in a row. Nothing compared to the noise made by the Beatles in September of the same year.

 

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Opening Ceremonies featured Miss Canada, Carol Ann Bodner and all of the Canadian symbols we could put on one stage. Note the Canadian Red Ensign that would be replaced the following year by the National Flag we all know and love.

 

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Then as now we have a flag ceremony and these all appear to be carried by young persons in uniform.

 

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Plenary Sessions were well attended and the theme of the convention was displayed prominently above the stage backed with red drapery.

 

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Anita Bryant was invited to entertain us with her hits such as In My Little Corner of The World and Paper Roses.

 

She would later become known for

”breakfast without orange juice is like a day without sunshine”.

 

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International President Aubrey Green

1963-1964

 

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Aubrey Green was riding high with Lions Clubs International enjoying huge growth in his year as International President. At the first plenary session in Maple Leaf Gardens he reported 720,385 Lions in 18,455 (1,301 new) Lions Clubs in 125 countries along with a registration or more than 32,000.

 

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Governor George Wallace of Alabama was invited by the International President also from Alabama to be a keynote speaker. A known segregationist, he used this platform to denounce the new Civil Rights Bill in the USA. This was not well received by the people of Toronto and Canada and he was protested and jeered in public. Lions Clubs International received criticism in the press for associating with a person of this political ideology but he was loudly applauded after his keynote speech by Lions from the southern states.

 

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The York Lions Band was featured amongst many other marching bands and majorettes along with 35 floats. More than 250,000 people turned out to see this parade which set a record with Lions Clubs International in terms of participation.

 

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An International Lunch

 

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The Toronto Colombo Lions were in fine form and it was reported that club member and Alderman Joseph Piccininni having expressed his concern for the invitation of George Wallace was replaced as a driver carrying the International leaders in the convention parade.

 

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George Laughlin from St Catharines was completing his 2nd year as our International Director from Canada with Jack Filkin from Toronto waiting in the wings.

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Premier John Robarts welcomed everyone on behalf of Ontario.

 

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Mayor Phil Givens brought greetings on behalf of the City of Toronto. He would lose his job later in an election later that year in part due to his support for the purchase of this Henry Moore sculpture that still sits outside of City Hall today. Pretty tame by today’s standards.

 

 

Council Chairman       

GORDON W.

CLIPPERTON (CC)

Streetsville

District A1  

JACK L.

MISNER

Port Stanley

District A2

MAURIE

STREN

Brantford

District A3  

J. ROSS

OLIPHANT

Peterborough

District A4 

MARK

GOLDHAMMER

Cornwall

District A5  

ROBERT G.

BABCOCK

Sudbury

District A6  

CLIFFORD H.

COX

Temagami

District A7

DR. HUGH

MACKAY

Richmond Hill

District A8

ALBERT  

DRAPEAU

St Lambert

District A9

KENNETH M.

HENDERSON

Palmerston

District A10

MARACEL

LACHANCE

Quebec City