Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

Lions club still roaring after 65 years

Club members discuss legacy of first-of-a-kind complex

  • Print
Lions Club of Riverside members Gerald Fontaine (left) and Len Kalinski in the club room at Riverside Lions Estates in St. Vital.

PHOTO BY SIMON FULLER Enlarge Image

Lions Club of Riverside members Gerald Fontaine (left) and Len Kalinski in the club room at Riverside Lions Estates in St. Vital. Photo Store

Members of the Lions Club of Riverside are celebrating its 65th anniversary by continuing to help build futures for individuals locally and across the world.

The club was formed in 1948 and chartered in 1949 after it was sponsored by the Winnipeg Lions Club, making it the second-oldest such club in the city. It currently has around 35 members ranging in age from 18 to 91.

On Thurs., June 20, members will hold a wind-up party, when a number of lions will be presented with awards, said a club official.

For many years, members met in various locations in St. Boniface and St. Vital and now gather in their club room at the ground-breaking Riverside Lions Estates at 188 Worthington Ave. in St. Vital, which was opened in the 1980s.

The 130-suite apartment complex specializes in affordable, barrier-free living for both older adults and adults living with disabilities and offers a number of support services and leisure programming. Riverside Lions Seniors Residences (180 Worthington Ave.) was added more recently.

Longtime member and past-president Len Kalinski said club members had to fight to get the original complex built because of different social attitudes in the 1970s, when he believes individuals living with disabilities were more marginalized in society.

"Back then, the building was one-of-a-kind. The complex is integrated 50/50, so you could find a senior in one suite and a handicapped person in the next. We were focused on integration," Kalinski said.

"The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said it wasn’t possible to integrate the two. We said that’s crazy and with support from people like Lloyd Axworthy we made it happen," he added, noting the suites have doors wide enough for wheelchair access and controlled air conditioning for individuals unable to adjust the controls themselves.

Club member Stan Puchniak credits Kalinski as a "driving force" behind the complex and said the building "broke the mould" when it came to the notion that people living with disabilities had to be segregated. Puchniak has represented the club in the British Virgin Islands.

Club president Gerald Fontaine said the objectives of the club include creating and fostering a spirit of understanding, promoting the principles of good government and good citizenship and taking an active interest in the civic, cultural, social and moral welfare of the community.
Fontaine said club membership is open to men and women by invitation.

Since 2000, the club has been working with a club in India, under the guidance of member Ed Santiago, and has helped build a school and washrooms for learning-impaired girls, as well as a daycare centre for the children of farm workers and a library, Santiago said.

Isla Kadas, president of the Lionelles, which is like "a woman`s auxiliary" and consists mostly of the wives of club members, said her group gives five annual $500 bursaries to students in Louis Riel School Division and also holds events such as a fundraising tea in May and raffles at Christmas.

Down the years, the lions club has furnished a cottage at St.Amant and waiting rooms at St. Boniface General Hospital and helped establish the music program at Glenlawn Collegiate.

To learn more, visit www.riversidelions.mb.ca

Facebook.com/TheLanceWPG
Twitter: @lanceWPG

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Readers' Choice Awards

Best Of Winnipeg Readers Survey

See the results of the 2014 Canstar Community News Best of Winnipeg Readers' Survey.

View Results

This Just In Twitter bird

Poll

Have you had difficulty adjusting to the new, lower speed limits in school zones?

View Results