Gyro is a men's club, a friendship fraternity. The Victoria Gyro Club was part of the initial expansion of this new (in 1912) idea which spread across North America. On May 7, 1921 thirty-seven Victoria men became charter members of the Victoria club, the fifteenth club charterd by the organization and the forth club chartered in Canada. Many men of good character have passed through the membership roll of the club since its founding. There occupations and professions have been as diverse as can be imagined. Each member has made a unique contribution while embracing the organization's key principles of power, poise and purpose. The club's legacy and that of its members has been significant over the years.
For many years, the club met for lunch at the Empress Hotel but when the membership numbers began to limit the hotel's ability to serve its other regular customers, the club was forced to find alternative venues. Then began a dine-around-town form of luncheon program with guest speakers coming to deliver their presentations in a format similar to the modern Rotary Club. There were other similarities too; Victoria Gyro had set limits on the number of men from any single profession who could belong at the same time. Members were 'classified' by their occupation and were expected to give a 'classification talk' to the membership once they had been admitted into the Club. Classification talks are still given by new members, but only for the sake of tradition.
After the second world war ended, the club reached a level of success in which it had outgrown its ability to manage effectively, with over 100 active members and a long waiting list of prospective Gyros. It was courageously decided to spin-off a second club, allowing members of similar interests and amibitions to continue ther fellowship without being lost in the numbers. The Camosun Gyro Club was thus formed in 1949 and history demonstrates that it was a good decision; both clubs have continued to flourish and enjoy friendly rivalry. Both clubs have produced District Governors and International Club Presidents.
Every October, the two clubs join to celebrate "Founder's Night', a dinner where the organization's founding members, Kagy, Schwan and Handerson, are celebrated. Responsiblity for organizing the dinner and choosing a theme alternated year over year between the two clubs. Members of both clubs routinely travel to events being hosted by Gyro clubs elsewhere and many, many long distance and long lasting friendships have their roots in Gyro. Click here for the Gyro Video.
For 2015/16, the Club is being very capably led by President Gary Leitch who has lived in Quebec, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Ontario, Lahore West Pakistan and Victoria, BC. Gary attended Queens University where he met and married his wife, our First Lady, Nancy in 1967. Gary has had a long and successful career in corporate communications while Nancy pursued her career in law. Now retired, they spend their leisure time ballroom dancing, wilderness canoeing and travelling the world. So far they have visited India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, China, Austrailia, New Zealand and most recently Portugal, Spain, Italy and Morocco, trips which included a safari in Botswana. They are two of Gyro's best welcoming amassadors of friendship, both at home and abroad.
This year's 1st VP is Shawn Hamilton, with Darryl Owens in the 2nd VP spot. Our Club Secretary is Albert Kezes and Ken Unger fills the Treasurer position. Together with a 6 person Board of Directors they complete the leadership team of our Club.
Our Club membership stands at 60 with joining dates ranging from 1966 to 2015. Many of our members are snowbirds, wintering in southern climes, some in communities having local Gyro Clubs of their own.
Our joining requirements are simple: men of good character who are at least twenty-one years of age and residing in the Greater Victoria area. For more information about Gyro membership contact Peter Evans, t. 250-588-7539 or email firstname.lastname@example.org