Over the years
dozens of clubs and organizations have been very
active in and around Onoway. In the early days,
many of these began as informal gatherings where
neighbors visited neighbors simply for the company
and companionship; they might have spent the
evening playing cards or possibly musical
instruments. Some groups evolved into "formal"
organizations because they had decided that
something needed to be done, like build a hall.
How many of these groups are
still around? How many clubs were created,
achieved their goals and enhanced the community
then, sadly, dissolved? Think back to some of
Onoway's clubs: those included here are only a
small part of that total but their names may bring
Tribune (November 8, 1983)
the 123 donors at the blood donor
clinic held in fall, 1983.
Three clinics were already scheduled
Lehman, President, accepts the
charter of Onoway's
newest club, On The Way
in April 1982. Seventeen members
joined that public speaking club.
One of the longest running groups
was the Women's Institute (1916-1993). It had been
called the "homemaker's university" because its
function was educational as well as social.
Church-based organizations such
as C.G.I.T. promoted Christian education of girls,
providing leadership training as well as camps
where there were opportunities for outdoor fun as
well. Onoway's C.G.I.T. was organized in 1932.
Ruby Wennerstrom was the leader for many years.
The Onoway Branch of the Red
Cross received its charter in 1949 and was active
on and off for years, finally dissolving in 2000.
An ongoing project was to assist victims of fires.
One handwritten note says "First fire 1970 – March
6th. 2 girls, 10 & 11, 1 boy 6
years. Clothing was purchased at Majeau to the
amount of $54.28." In 1997 Charlotte Potter was
awarded the Order of the Red Cross for 56 years of
The Onoway Lions Club was
launched in 1973 and contributed strongly to
Onoway's progress, finally dissolving in 1983. The
annual rodeo initiated by the Lions was a huge
event first held in the arena, then in specially
built grounds in the Industrial Park.
Onoway B.P.O Elks was active 47
years: 1956 – 2003. They were a major force in
Onoway's Centennial Project, the building of the
new Onoway Community Hall. The Onoway Order of the
Royal Purple, the female branch of the Elks, was
initiated in 1960 and had 42 members at its
busiest time. Catering to meals at public events
was their main source of funds.
Does anyone remember TOPS (Take
Pounds Off Sensibly?) that started in 1973? And
one can't forget the many sports clubs – hockey,
curling, skating, baseball.
Let's think back to the clubs and
organizations that flourished in Onoway and area –
so many of them! Let's try to put together a
complete list – stop by the Onoway Museum and add
Elks & Purple Hats
worn by Elks and Royal Purple members to
meetings. Elks Park continues to be a
well-used family park
Onoway Lodge MasonsThis program
tells that the first meetings in 1925 were
held above the Pool Hall. "On meeting
nights, it was necessary to place posts
under the lodge room floor in order to keep
the floor from collapsing from the added
The back of the
ticket allows the holder to vote for the
most valuable player, most valuable
defenseman, most improved player, most