Club History

Chuck Thompson was the President of the Rotary Club of Kitchener-Westmount when it sponsored the beginning of our Probus Club. A member, Gene Scissons,  had attended a presentation about Probus at a Rotary district conference in 1987. He saw merit in what he had heard and persuaded the  board of the Rotary Club to sponsor the first Probus Club in KW. It was the seventh club established in Canada.

Gene was given a budget for the program and told to run with it. A newspaper advertisement appeared in the KW Record in March 1988 inviting all interested men to attend a meeting at the Holiday Inn on Fairway Road, regarding a new men’s club that was going to be started in the area.

The first person to respond was the late Clay Hall. Clay was the spark plug of the original group and was responsible for bringing others into the club. The first meeting was held at Clay’s home. Subsequent meetings were held at the Holiday Inn and the old Granite Club.

The inaugural meeting was held in April 1988 with forty-three charter members attending. Clay Hall, who had been a driving force in establishing the club was elected President. He did such a good job that he was  re-elected the next year.


Our club was patterned after the Cambridge (Preston) Club which had been the first to start in Canada. We generally had an easy time finding speakers for each meeting from the college and universities, and interesting local industries. That helped our club to grow.

Some ground rules were established in the beginning. First, there would be no level of mandatory attendance, unlike Rotary. This had particular appeal to those members who spent winters in the south.  Secondly, there was to be no fundraising. Most members were all ready involved in other charitable works. Third, the annual fee was only $24 or $2 per month to cover the costs of coffee and a newsletter.

At the time, co-ed membership was discussed, but ruled out in favour of an all male club. Experience with Probus in England showed the more successful clubs were all male or all female – not co-ed.

At first the Rotary Club covered the expenses of the new Probus club but in a short time the club became self sufficient.

We celebrated our 25th anniversary in April 2013. ✥

[ From information supplied by Chuck Thompson and Bob Jones]
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