Cranbrooks Gyro Swimming Pool

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Community Playground (Rotary Park) Cranbrook, BC : Used sepia real photo postcard of Community Playground (Rotary Park), Cranbrook BC looking NW with S
Community Playground (Rotary Park) Cranbrook, BC
Rotary Park in Cranbrook : Known as the 'Community Playground' when first started, this area is now known as Rotary Park. In t
Rotary Park in Cranbrook

This project is sponsored by:

Columbia - Kootenay Cultural Alliance

Columbia Basin Trust

Gyro Fundraising

George James (One Man Band) : George James and his "One Man Band." He playeds guitar, drum, harmonica and sang as well.
George James (One Man Band)

As their history indicates the Gyros were a new organization when formed in 1924, peopled with young business and professional men in a town just beginning to find commercial stability after the excesses and tragedies of World War I. Their first undertaking was to support the Rotary Club in putting together a gala 3-day Carnival which established the "Community Playground," later Rotary Park.

As befits young men of that time, they inaugurated a "beauty" contest and dance as their first public function. The four Princesses were introduced to the community at the dance, and all the proceeds went to the playground project. Although the Gyro Princess Cheerio failed to secure the crown, the important thing was that the Gyros quickly learned the complex trade of fundraising. Their experience was hard won, but never failed them from that point forward.

The Gyros quickly discovered a niche in the pantheon of public service that suited them - entertainment. They launched the ongoing local talent night in 1925 at the fabulous Star theatre. They followed that with what was to become their annual dance gala in the Auditorium, always a sell-out and a pinnacle of the Cranbrook social season

Once the pool was constructed the Gyros undertook to pay further development and repair costs until they turned the pool over to the City of Cranbrook in 1939. In 1931 they borrowed $500 to underwrite pools improvements. These included constructing a concrete wall on the shallow side to prevent soil slippage, and covering the whole beach along Lumsden A venue (14th Avenue) and the bottom of the pool with clean, fine sand. As well, two stationary rafts were constructed to replace the floating rafts and a new system of bottom drainage installed.

Star Theatre, Cranbrook, B.C. : The Star theatre c. 1925, now occupied by East kootenay Realty. The building to the right is now Ma
Star Theatre, Cranbrook, B.C.

To recoup the borrowed money the Gyros performed a one-act comedy titled "The Joiners" at the Star theatre in connection with the regular movie. Then they launched a guessing contest on how long it would take to fill the pool in 1931. Tickets were sold for 10¢, with half the money going to the pool and half in prizes. This went over big with almost $180 being raised. As well, a three-day carnival was hosted at the pool, the annual Gyro ball was presented with a huge response, and the "Days of '49" was put on as a 3-day opportunity for playing games of chance in the Knights of Pythias hall. The Depression was a presence, but the Gyros just worked harder.