ProBUZZ‎ > ‎May '13‎ > ‎

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The first part of our morning was MC'd by Neil Aitchison.

We enjoyed his humour before, and while, 3 of our members reviewed varous aspects of our club over the past 25 years.

Trips We Have Taken

Don Willcox reviewed some of the trips that have been taken over the past 25 years.  There have been trips to various local corporations including the Toyota Plant, the Home Hardware facility IN St. Jacobs, Manulife and Lazy Boy. Other local visits have included the Perimeter Institute, CIGI, CKCO TV, the Brick Brewery, Castle Kilbride and Police Headquarters.

Theatre events were popular.  Theatres visited were The Stratford Festival, The Shaw Festival, The Centre in the Square, The Blyth Theatre and The Port Dover Lighthouse Theatre.  These trips most often included having a meal at a local establishment.

Other trips that were further afield were to Ontario Place, Shunpiking in Woolwich Township, a Hockley Valley Fall Color Tour, a Wine Tour in Niagara Region and a War of 1812 tour.

There was a Golf Tournament in Port Elgin and visits to Blue Jays games.


Weekly Program

Paul Van de Kamer covered off our weekly programs over the past 25 years and brought back to mind some memorable presentations.  It was a daunting task for Paul with 10 presentations a year over 25 years.  Paul did research the archives and was able to categorize the presentation topics.


It is no surprise that this was the number one topic!  At our age this seems to be a favourite topics when we old codgers get together. Everything was discussed including heart, liver, kidney, lungs, prostate problems, sexuality in golden years etc. On the topic of health care we were informed by the Executive Directors of St. Mary’s and Grand River Hospitals of the hopes, aspirations, and hospitals of these two fine care giving facilities.  There were also three sessions by Dr. Bert Grapes from Cambridge on the changing face of medical care.

Policing and Safety

Senior scams, protecting your identity, no fault insurance, Crime Stoppers were some of the topics. We were fortunate to have Matt Torigian, Chief of Police in the Waterloo Region, speak to us as well.

Politics and Law

Probus is non political but that doesn’t mean we should not be aware of what’s going on. The importance of Wills and Powers of Attorney, Changes in Labour Law, Tax opportunities and Traps for Seniors, the thorny issue of mandated changes in municipal politics were all aired

The impact of US policies on Canada, and Hazy Borders with the military implications was addressed.

A most interesting talk was given by Steve Paiken, the author of “Public Triumph Personal Tragedy”.The Life of John P. Robarts.

We heard from Judge Judy Hardman about youth in trouble with the law. The chief coroner regaled us with mysterious anecdotes solved through forensic science. We also had speakers from the Grand River Women’s prison as well as a representative of the Elizabeth Fry Society.

Local Interest

Happily Probians seem interested in the local scene.Terry Osborne talked about the newly established Community Foundation which had as its aim the furtherance of Charitable, cultural, Education and other endeavours.There was an illustrated talk on the Architecturally significant buildings right here in Waterloo County and Bill Stewartgave us the ins and outs of the very significant Octoberfest Celebrations. Talks were also given by the Grand River Conservation Authority and Mayor Carl Zehr spoke of the revitalizing of the Downtown Care

The Way We Were was an enjoyable trip down memory lane over the past 50 years.


We are extremely fortunate in having the two universities and a community college in our back yard with a strong focus on technology so it s natural we have had some wonderful technology presentations.Topics have included Robotic Solutions to Real Problems, the Information Highway, Nuclear Power, Building Bridges ( a result of the Ice Storm that hit eastern Ontario and Quebec), and deregulation of the electrical delivery. Visitors from Outer Space, building a genuine log home, and Water supply and conservation were also highlights.


Second only to health concerns when a senior group get together is to talk about Travel. We heard illustrated travel presentations that took us all around the world to places like South Africa, the Middle East, Acadia, Canada’s Arctic, Muskoka, Wales, Dubai, the Three Gorges in China and the Chelsea Gardens. We also heard about narrow boating on the LLangollen Canal and Small Ship Cruising (around the world in a small sailboat!).We even saw Waterloo County from the air courtesy of our own members– Dolf Bogad and Tom Jeary.


In the earlier years one meeting a year would be devoted to hobbies of our members who would display their cherished works. Samples of collections included canes, cigar lighters, model cars, trains etc.


As mentioned earlier, our community is lucky to have excellent school systems, as well as universities and a community college. In addition to many talks by members of these communities, we have heard about co-operative education pioneered by U of W and the tremendous growth of Conestoga College. We had a professor from the Rothman School of Business talk to us about “Difficult Conversations” (when you’ve got to remove a CEO or demote/fire an employee who just isn‘t up to the job).


If the number of talks about money matters is any indication our collective hearts are very close to this topic. Super inflation in the late 80’s and early 90’s was cause to reflect on its effect on our pensions, The hot topic of clawing back the OAS was another. RRIFs, RRSPs the Canada Pension Plan, and the Federal Business Development Bank did not escape our notice

Charitable Organizations

Just because we are non-fund raising doesn’t mean that we aren’t interested in the wonderful work that so many charities do here and abroad. Locally we have heard from Meals on Wheels, Pride Stables, The Rotary Centre (now Kids Ability), Service Dogs for autistic Children, Parents for Community Living (which deals with developmentally challenged children). In the wider world we were enlightened with talks on Protecting Children in Haiti, devastation in Malawi, Water in developing countries.

Arts and Culture

The area of arts and culture were covered. Talks re the Waterloo Region Children’s Museum, (now simply THE MUSEUM),YMCA locally and in the world,the Centre in the Square, gave us more insight into how fortunate we are to live right here in Waterloo County with its tremendous artistically talented citizenry.


Some topics just didn’t lend themselves to specific areas. Two talks on genealogy may have spurred some to reach into our own backgrounds. Gary Dornhoeffer gave us insight into the business of professional hockey. We heard about Chicopee Ski Club and its hope for the future.

It is easy to see ho diverse our programs have been. We are fortunate to live in this community with so much talent in so many ways. Probus is not just a great place to meet new and old friends, it keeps us growing and informed. We count ourselves very very lucky!.

Special Interest Groups

Special Interest Groups have become an important feature of our club, allowing members to get together and share a 



common interest. This presentation was originally prepared by Eric Broadhurst.He asked Don Grant to present it prior to his death.

Book Club

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”

The Book Club, formed in April 2007.It’s “raison d’être” is fellowship, getting to know each other and allow some mind stretching!

The Club circulates between member homes on the third Wednesday of each month. The host provides tea, coffee and snacks, and leads the discussion on a previously chosen book so that all know in advance what books are on the agenda for the year.

Discussed are the book’s merits, or lack thereof, regarding style, plot, subject matter, etc? Sometimes the movie is viewed (if such has been made).

Gatherings wrap up with a talk about some “burning”issue be it local, national or international and the year ends with a barbeque.

Bridge Club

“I’ve never met a man I didn’t like ‘cept for that Newfie twit who doubled my slam!”

The newest of all our SIGs is the Bridge Club started this past fall.

These battle-hardened bidders socialize together in a challenging atmosphere on the first Wednesday of each month to enjoy the game and friendly company of like-minded players.

Computer Group

“The computer was born to solve problems that did not previously exist!”

Known as COMSIG,The COMputer Special Interest Group had its first meeting in January 2011.

COMSIG is a social club built around a common interest in computer technology. It quickly outgrew meeting in homes and now meet at Forest Hill United Church on Westmount where WiFi is available and there is ample parking. These facilities allowed a recent joint meeting with the Financial Club exploring a common interest in Internet income tax filing.

In the beginning they began as a computer group embracing the two principle operating systems, Windows and Mac, by concentrating on cross platform Internet topics. Now, discussions have broadened to tablets with members able to bring iPads, Androids, and Blackberry Playbooks to meetings. If conversations divert to other areas of technology, it is not discouraged.

Financial Club

“A wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart!”

Formed in the spring of 2010. The group reviews topical investment and financial news and events. They discuss subjects ranging from mortgages, equities, mutual funds, fixed income, RRSPs, RESPs, TFSAs, etc.

Meetings take place in members’ homes and they all thoroughly enjoy the friendship derived from their getting together.

Their mandate is education and comradeship. All participants have acquired new knowledge which has helped them in a significant way with their personal financial affairs.

The Lunch Bunch

“Good company, good food, good times!”

This activity is the grand daddy of all our Special Interest Groups, and was originally formed heaven knows when but likely soon after the formation of our Probus Club on April 26 1988. The coordinator asks for a show of interest at our General Meetings, then contacts the previously selected restaurant with the “count” which is usually in the order of 15 or so.

This continues to be a very popular aspect of Probus.

Outdoor Group

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger!”

or“One step…then another!”

This energetic group came together at the beginning of 2011.

The group meets twice a month to go on a walk of not more than two hours duration in Waterloo Region, generally on the 1stand 3rd Tuesdays. The objective is staying fit and exploring outdoor opportunities. As a result they have managed to attract a core group of participants who have discovered a large number of walking/hiking trails that, as individuals, they didn’t know existed. Further, they’ve gotten to know each other better through their activity and conversations.

Supper Club

“One of life’s delights is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating. But for the unsurpassed, double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends!”

A more recent addition to our SIG’s is the Supper Club, formed in October 2012. This activity proved sufficiently popular, creating twogroups at the very outset.

The Club’s purpose is for socializing of members and their spouses, or guests, during an evening meal at restaurants selected by the members of each group. In doing so, members and their companions, get to know each other better while also experiencing more of our local restaurant.

Additional information on these Special Interest Groups and the contact person can be found on our Website or in ProBuzz.New people are always welcome in any of the Special Interest Groups.If you have ideas for other Special Interest Groups, please speak to Ross Scheifley, Director at Large. Ross will take the idea to Management Committee.

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