Like everyone else facing the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s been hard for the Mount Seymour Lions Club to function normally.
The club, which was chartered in 1966, is part of the Lions Club organization which began in the United States in 1916 but became Lions International in 1920 when the first club in Canada was established. Since then, Lions clubs have sprung up around the world with the mission to empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding.
The motto of Lions is “We serve.”
Obviously, that’s been hard to do during a pandemic — which is why you may not have seen the Mount Seymour Lions out and about in their distinctive yellow coats and vests.
Covid-19 has put the kibosh on the Mount Seymour Lions activities that, over its 55-year history, have raised more than a million dollars which have been put back into the community.
Fortunately, the pandemic hasn’t stopped the ongoing efforts of Mount Seymour Lions Housing Society, which was responsible for the construction, and now management, of three family housing complexes in the Parkgate neighborhood and a seniors’ facility in Deep Cove. The housing was built by the Lions because they saw a need for subsidized housing in the area. Lion Garey Ham Court opened in April of 1986 and Lions Plaza followed in September of that year.
In 1988, Lions Manor in Deep Cove opened and was recently renamed Lion Ron Morrice Manor in honor of Ron Morrice, one of the founders of the Mount Seymour Lions and a regular attendee of the club’s twice-monthly meetings until they were curtailed by Covid-19. The final building in the club’s housing project was Lions Terrace, which opened in June of 1990. All told, the four complexes provide almost 200 units of affordable housing for just over 500 North Shore residents.
While the housing is a big focus, the club has also supported organizations like North Shore Search and Rescue, Family Services of the North Shore, the Harvest Project, Cascadia Society, Salvation Army of the North Shore, Cops for Cancer and many, many more.
Since its inception, some of the activities that the club has engaged in or supported have included: North Vancouver—Chiba, Japan Youth Exchange Program; annual Easter Egg hunt; Parkgate Park fitness track; and helping out with the Deep Cove Penguin Plunge. The club has also provided food services at Canada Day parades, youth soccer, Mount Seymour Little League Baseball opening, Breakfast with Santa, the Dorothy Lynas School Spring Carnival, Special Olympics basketball tournaments and Parkgate Day.
For the past 12 years, the highlight of the club’s year has been the Don Allardice Memorial Golf Tournament. The tournament is named in honor of a founding member of the club and has been the club’s main fund raiser. Unfortunately, the tournament is on hold along with the club’s other activities until the pandemic has ended.
The Mount Seymour club has the longest record of service on the North Shore but there are three other clubs in the area: Deep Cove, Lynn Valley and West Vancouver’s Ambleside-Tiddlycove.
Anyone interested in learning more about the Mount Seymour Lions or coming to a dinner meeting as a guest when life returns to normal can contact Membership Director Larry Chute by calling 604-314-2022.
Paul Scott is Secretary of Mount Seymour Lions Club.