A Brief Kin History
Kin Canada was founded by Harold Allin Rogers and eleven other men on February 20,1920 in the Namking Café in Hamilton, Ontario. This group formed our Association’s first club… The Kinsmen Club of Hamilton. Next came a club in Montreal, then Winnipeg, then Vancouver.
As the Association spread across the country, it came into contact with other like-minded organizations with which it found enough common ground to consider mergers. The most notable of these was the Eclectic Clubs of Saskatchewan. Eclectic’s primary aim was fellowship among men of good character under the age of 40. In the 1930s, a prominent member of this organization was John Diefenbaker, who was later to become Prime Minister of Canada. Mr. Diefenbaker was a prime mover in the merger between Kin and Eclectic, and he ensured that the age limit, which was a crucial building block of his group, was preserved and entrenched in the new merged association’s Constitution.
Kinsmen wives started meeting together in the late 1920’s. Kinettes were formerly recognized as an auxiliary club in 1942.
In 1950 the Kin Supply House was established to handle a growing inventory of Kin memorabilia and office material. The Kin Sales Division is an entrepreneurial wing of Kin that makes a significant contribution to the financial well-being of the association each year. More recently the operation has been outsourced to an independent business operation, Coyle & Greer Awards Canada Ltd., in return for royalties to the Association
In 1965 Kin members adopted the construction of the Kinsmen National Institute on Mental Retardation as a national project. Five years later the institute located on the York University Campus in Toronto was officially opened.
In 1980, the National Headquarters building in Cambridge, ON. was opened. If ever you’re driving Highway 401 West from Toronto in the directon of Windsor, you can’t help but see the big white building on the south side, as you pass Cambridge.
1988 saw “open membership” for the Kinettes, which meant that Kinette Clubs achieved equal status with Kinsmen Clubs, and were able to manage their own affairs. It also meant that a woman no longer had to be married to or living with a Kinsmen to be a member in her own right, and that a Kinette Club could be chartered in a community even if no Kinsmen Club existed there.
In 1995 the Hal Rogers Endowment Fund was established. The fund operates the Kin Canada Bursaries program in memory of the Association’s founder, who passed away in September 1994 at the age of 95. The program provides $1,000 bursaries for college and university students.
1994/1995 Kin year saw the formation of our first Kin Clubs – clubs that may admit both male and female members.Doug Robinson, a member of the Orangeville Kinsmen, served as National President of Kin Canada in 2009/2010. This was the first time that a member of our club served in that position. During his year the Association adopted its first strategic plan, Vision 2020.
At National Convention in August 1999, the upper age limit, which was by this time 45, was removed, thereby allowing Kin of any age to become active members, capable of holding any office in the Association.
As of June 30, 2012 there were 286 Kinsmen Clubs, 157 Kinette Clubs, and 38 Kin Clubs for a total of 481 clubs. Our total number of active and active life members is 6,866.
For further Kin History please read the books, “The Cross and Square” or “Only in Canada – Kinsmen and Kinettes” or contact our club president.