Nutana Lawn Bowling Club – A History 1938-2010
The Early Years: 1938 – 1950
Buena Vista Park and City Approval
In the summer of 1938 a number of lawn bowling enthusiasts got together to form a club in Nutana. There were already established clubs in Mayfair, City Park and Victoria. A meeting was held at Grace Church Hall and in attendance were: Jack Keyser, A.E. Cooke, Joe Mighton, Frank Holmes, W. Foster, W. Arrand, Mrs. J.E. Paul, Mrs. Cooke, Mrs. A. Wright among others.
Jack Keyser and Fred Cooke attended the next City Park Board meeting to propose a club in Buena Vista Park. There were objections from City Commissioner Leslie based on costs, and Mr. J. Tucker because of the loss of trees and shrubbery to build the greens. However, support came from Chairman W.W. Ashley and Mr. J. Stephenson. A motion passed to provide a site in B.V. Park for the Club.
Park Superintendent Brown would not start grading until the Club had financing of $200.00 in place. The Club raised funds by charging $5.00 to prospective members. Enough money was raised and Brown started clearing the ground, grading, and seeding. Volunteer members put up a fence to protect the site. There was considerable interest from the community and members started coming forward.
At the official opening on June 7, 1940, 54 members were registered.
A building was purchased from the Saskatoon Ladies Lawn Bowling Club, which was defunct, for $60.00 and Harvey Sinclair moved the structure to the B.V. Park location at a cost of $50.00.
In the early years operating funds were always an issue. Funds were raised by hosting raffles such as a draw for a set of bowls, and loans were taken out until the Club was put on a sound financial footing.
Lights and Greens
The first lighting system consisted of 10ft 2×4’s stuck in the ground with a reflector on the top and connecting wires to the clubhouse. The set-up came from an old skating rink and was donated by W.W. Ashley.
The City Electric Inspector did not approve of the lighting system but was a bowler himself and looked the other way.
In 1944 under the direction of Harry Cowley, a proper lighting system was installed by volunteers.
In 1946 the fireplace in the Clubhouse was built by John McGrath and volunteers who gathered rock, mixed cement and worked together to re-build the initial effort which tumbled down.
In 1949 there was a visit by an Ontario Club who were on a tour of the west.
The Middle Years: 1950 – 1970
In 1950 the Club’s first Constitution was formed with President Jack Keyser, and Board members John McGrath and Walter Hailwood.
In 1953 founding member and first President Jack Keyser passed away. And in 1959 John McGrath passed on.
In 1954 the B.C. Lawn Bowling Team paid a visit to the Club on their way back from the British Empire Games. The Nutana Club team chosen to play the B.C. Team was: Charlie and Frank Moxley, Jim Philip, Walter Overholt and George Allingham. A Banquet at the Elite Café was held at the end of the day to celebrate the event.
The June Tea tradition began, Saturday night social functions, Annual Corn Roasts, Pot Luck suppers and visits from other clubs. The Annual Banquets were started to wind up the season.
In 1955 ditches were dug around the greens in accordance with the World Rules of Lawn Bowling. This was an innovation at the time and the Club was the first in the City to install such as system.
In 1958 beautiful new greens were installed under the guidance of Harvey Spence. The greens were surrounded by full sized ditches and asphalt walkways.
Life memberships to the Club were presented to John McGRath in 1954 and Kathleen Keyser in 1959.
The Later Years 1970 – 2010
The new Clubhouse was officially opened on June 25, 1983 featuring an open house and spring tea convened by Ladies, President Adrienne Eidem, and assisted by Gwen Barrett and Tommy Laplante. The cake which was decorated to look like a lawn bowling green was prepared by Dorothy Burnyeat.
At the opening, the club President Max Grasley welcomed guests including Senator Sid Buckwold, Provincial Minister Paul Schoenhals, and Deputy Mayor Henry Dayday. The Saskatchewan Lawn Bowling Association was represented by Mr. Bob Mepham.
The first ball was rolled by charter member Mrs. Ivy Billings. A picture of the old clubhouse was presented by artist Mrs. Bessie Findlater, which hangs on the wall today.
The Club looks forward to many more wonderful years of memories and enjoyment in Buena Vista Park.
*This summary was prepared by Sean Sass, 2010 from text provided by the Club to the Buena Vista Community Association. The BVCA gratefully acknowledges the special partnership of the Nutana Lawn Bowling Club with the community in Buena Vista.*