Looking Back


Remembering Onoway's Clubs and Organizations

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 back memories.


Red Cross
                                  blood donor clinic
Toastmistress Club

Red Cross

The Onoway Tribune (November 8, 1983) applauded
the 123 donors at the blood donor clinic held in fall, 1983.
Three clinics were already scheduled for 1984.

New Club

Bev Lehman, President, accepts the charter of Onoway's
newest club, On The Way Toastmistress Club,
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 volunteer service.


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 your suggestions.

Elks Purple

Elks & Purple Hats

Uniforms were worn by Elks and Royal Purple members to meetings. Elks Park continues to be a well-used family park

Onoway Lodge Masons This 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 weight."



The back of the ticket allows the holder to vote for the most valuable player, most valuable defenseman, most improved player, most popular player.

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Last updated: March 24, 2020