Kinsmen kick off anniversary celebrations

The J.L. Scott McLean Outdoor Recreation Pad required some cleaning Saturday during the Tillsonburg Kinsmen Club's 75th Anniversary event. Volunteers were diligent with the snow shovels clearing ice for skaters from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Chris Abbott/Tillsonburg News) jpg, TN

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It didn’t stop snowing Saturday as the Tillsonburg Kinsmen Club hosted its first 75th Anniversary event of the year at the J.L. Scott McLean Outdoor Recreation Pad, next to the Tillsonburg Community Centre.

The free hot dogs and hot chocolate, and the Kinsmen’s welcoming wood-burning fire on an open grill, kept everyone warm while volunteers manned the shovels to clear ice for skaters between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

“It’s good winter weather,” said Tillsonburg Kinsmen Club’s Kevin Buchner who spearheaded the club’s first anniversary event, noting it’s also Kin Canada’s 100th anniversary.

The Tillsonburg Kinsmen Club is hosting 11 events in 2020 to celebrate its major donations to the town.

“Being winter, we decided to start with the outdoor recreation pad here,” said Buchner. “When they were building it, the (J.L. Scott McLean Legacy Fund) Foundation came to us and we donated $50,000. And we had a member that was part of the overall build.”

During the construction phase, Kinsmen members helped lay the rebar in the foundation (steel that reinforces the concrete).

“Then we helped with the landscaping around all of it once it was done,” Buchner noted. “I think it was probably over 100 man-hours that we did.”


Tillsonburg Kinsmen Club served up free hot chocolate, coffee and hot dogs Saturday at their 75th anniversary event. (Chris Abbott/Tillsonburg News) jpg, TN


Saturday’s attendance was estimated to be close to 150 people, but people were still arriving at its busiest time around 1 p.m.

“It’s a great rink, I think people just like to come here and have fun. It’s nice not having to book time, you just come here whenever you want.”

Snow kept accumulating Saturday, requiring nearly constant shoveling by hand.

“We had to shovel it all ourselves,” said Buchner, noting they also operated a snowblower in the morning.

75th Anniversary events, each with a different Kinsmen member coordinating them, will continue on a monthly basis in 2020 – and the majority of the events will be free. On Monday, February 17, at 9 a.m. there will be a Kinsmen flag-raising ceremony at the south Broadway town parkette.

Other anniversary events will include pancakes in December with Santa (annually hosted by the Kinettes), an indoor public skate and free swim at the Tillsonburg Community Centre, and an event at Participark.

“It’s hard to go around town without seeing something that has the Kinsmen name on it. It definitely helps us get members as well because people notice what we do. It’s definitely a pride thing as well, and that’s also kind of why we’re doing this (anniversary events), reminding people of all that we’ve done.”


An outdoor ‘fire pit’ helped keep everyone warm Saturday at the Tillsonburg Kinsmen Club’s 75th anniversary event. (Chris Abbott/Tillsonburg News) jpg, TN


They are hoping to have another concert at the Kinsmen Bandshell, and maybe a street party at the Concession Street ball diamonds (home of the former Kinsmen Soccer Field). They will also help at the summer fishing derby organized by Mike and Rosemary Dean, where the Kinsmen Club have supported the Lake Lisgar Revitalization Project.

“We’re also hoping to have an event at the soccer park, maybe a charity soccer game,” said Buchner.

“It’s just a way to say thank you to all of our donors, too. We do a lot of work but we get a lot of help from everyone else.”