Dawson Creek Elks #289 celebrates 75th anniversary in Mile Zero

The Dawson Creek Elks are celebrating 75 years this week. Here is some history on the organization and how the Elks got their start!

The first thought of instituting an Elks Lodge in Dawson Creek was May 31, 1944 at an Annual District 11 meeting held at the Rolla Elks Lodge # 205, 50 Elk members were in Attendance. Bro. Mel Parsons member of the Rolla Lodge, living in Dawson Creek, together with Bro. Percy Green of Regina Elks Lodge # 9, attended this very successful meeting. These Brothers discussed the possibility of a Lodge in Dawson Creek, was talked over with Past DDGER Bro. Jim D Gault of Hythe, results began to secure a Charter, which finally culminated in the establishment of Lodge # 289, Sept 27, 1944. First meeting was held at Bud’s Dance Hall, corner of 8th and 102nd Ave. 100 members were initiated, 1st Exalted Ruler was Glen E. Braden. Some members from Rolla Elks Lodge # 205 transferred, members living in Dawson Creek. Thanks to Members of Rolla # 205 in helping Dawson Creek Elks # 289 start. Rolla Elks started Oct 24, 1928, they turned their Charter in, April 30, 1979. Most of the Members joined the Dawson Creek Elks lodge # 289.

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Following WWII, Dawson Creek Elks purchased 4 lots, east of Centennial Swimming Pool (105th – 106th Ave, 10th St.), sold 2 lots to DR. A.B. Watson, other 2 lots contained Army Buildings, were remodeled and served as Dawson Creek Elks Lodge until 1964 (Present Post Office and Hair Styling locations), the Vogue theatre was purchased, renovated, finished in 1968, Elks received 1st liquor license June 1968, opening 3 nights a week, total value of lodge and Lounge was $ 125,000.00  

Dec 14, 1944 the first Dawson Creek Elks Carnival was held, best indoor event in the Peace River Block, location was Spinney Recreation Hall. June of 1945, construction of an Outdoor Swimming Pool was started, joint venture of the Gyro, Elks and DCAA, location of present Dawson Creek Library, total cost of $ 18,000, officially opened Aug 14, 1946. Appel Blitz Drives started fall of 1948, profit of $ 200.00, 1968 Blitz had a profit of $ 900.00, in the late 80’s Freight costs over road profits, the Blitz’s was complete. 1982, Dawson Creek Elks 3 289 and Royal Purple # 85 purchased a Hydro sound Tub, Lift Chair and Wet Scale for the Peace Rive Haven in Pouce Coupe, $ 24,200. 1982 also saw the Introduction of Elks Senior National Curling in Dawson Creek and again in 1983. 1984, Dawson Creek Elks # 289 purchased Junior Curling Rocks, $ 5,200.00, everybody lifted rocks, made curling easier, idea to encourage younger curlers. From 1996 – 2004, we donated $ 183,300, to Charities along with the Dawson Creek Royal Purple donating $ 180,894.00, total of $ 364,194.00, we had 76 Elk and 59 Royal Purple members, Sept 24th, 2004. Our biggest Fund raiser was Bingos, BC Gaming has put a stop to much of that. Many nights and days were spent at our Annual Fall Fair/ Rodeo events, Fair booth, money raise to help with donations.

We have contributed over $ 5,000,000.00 to local Charities, Scholarships, National purple Cross Fund, Alberta Elks Foundation, Elks and Royal Purple Fund for Children, only to name a few. Our main focus is to help the Hearing impaired, Stuttering, Different Medical Expenses as needed for under 19 yrs. old. A person can obtain $ 7,500.00 until 19 for different needs with approval from our Lodge, then Provincial and finally National.

Brother Gerald Querin, joined Rolla Elks in 1932 then transferred to Dawson Creek, at 98, Gerald received his 75 yr. Elks Pin, which was presented by PGER Bill Ward, March, 2007. Bro. Querin had obtained two Life Memberships, 1 from Rolla Elks Lodge # 205 and 1 from Dawson Creek Elks lodge # 289.

We have had 250 members, presently with former Royal Purple Members, who now are Dawson Creek Elks # 289, our total is 33 members. We welcome new members, meetings are Sept to June, total of 10 Annually, along with any Special Meetings called. They are held at the Dawson Creek Senior Citizens Hall, 1101 McKellar Ave, Dawson Creek, BC., V1G 2S2, 7 pm. We are waiting for your visit, don’t be shy.

June of 1994, Ladies of the Royal Purple and Brothers of the Elks purchased a Truck for a Rescue Vehicle, 50 calls were made the first year, along with a Hearing testing Booth for the Dawson Creek and District Hospital, for $ 46,000.00, then again Sept 27, 2000 as a split venture with the Royal Purple we donated $ 40,000 for another Rescue Vehicle to the city of Dawson Creek.      

We use to be able to donate $ 30,000.00 or better a yr. at present our donation is from $ 5 – 8,000 a yr. Our Lodge has, two  –  six members attend Elk Provincial and National Conferences, this year six attended Provincially, none attended Nationally. Our provincial this year is in Whitehorse, June 4, 5 & 6th, National in Moose Jaw, July 15, 16 & 17, 2020.

Most important meeting to remember is our District 1 & 3 AB Elks Spring Conference being held in Ft. Nelson, April 17 & 18th, 2020. Whitehorse Elks are assisting as needed. Remember the Highway travels both directions, when measured, the same reading happen’s both directions, I know we always seem to believe, Longer one way. It is a must, we can only improve by working together.

I have probably missed many items, with our Lodge/Lounge being sold in 2007, Literature removed, many items are missing. Thank you very much for taking time, in helping us celebrate 75 years of memory. We are working at trying to find new interested Members, every Lodge and Association is having the same problems. Elks of Canada had over 22,000 members, we are at approx. 50% at present 10 – 11,000 members, still seem to be donating the same, we aren’t sure how, new smarter ideas?

We as the Dawson Creek Elks have had three Alberta Elks Presidents, Brothers Ray Innes, Jake Fast and Jim Patrick, to serve these positions they had to become joint members with a Lodge in Alberta. One joint member Don Kidd served as British Columbia Elk President after serving as Grand Exalted Ruler for the Elks of Canada.

As mentioned before Members are needed, if an answer is available please pass it along.

PS: The Dawson Creek Purple started Mar 19, 1945 in the Halverson Hall, 30 members were initiated, Lodge # 85 was formed, Honoured Royal Lady was M. Easton, Secretary, Lady V. Reise, it has been enjoyable working with them over the years. Royal Purple Charter was returned in 2014, at our 70th Anniversary, they were Initiated as Dawson Creek Royal Purple Elks, then again turned their Charter back in, Dec. 31st 2017. The members were not willing to quit, they joined our Dawson Creek Elks Lodge # 289, Couldn’t see much use having two separate meetings, all is working great. The greater the number, we have been told, the easier the work.

It is with, sincere appreciation to the Community and neighbouring Districts for all the assistance that the Dawson Creek Elks # 289 have received to make all this happen. 

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