DECEMBER 16, 1982
GUEST OF HONOUR
The Honourable John B. Aird, O.C., Q.C., B.A., LL.D. LIEUTENANT-GOVERNOR OF ONTARIO
CHAIRMAN The President, Henry J. Stalder
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen: Rudyard Kipling once addressed university students in a commencement speech and cautioned them against being too preoccupied with wealth, status, and glory. "Some day," he said, "you will meet a man who cares for none of these things. Then you will know how poor you are!"
Christmas seasons come and go but ethics and equity should not change with the calendar. Nevertheless, custom and tradition, habit and the time of the year, allow us to think more about others, about mankind, and what we were supposed to practise throughout the year. It is too short a time during which one tries--in so many cases with material means--to catch up with lost opportunities. Let us not forget that those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.
Christmas is also a time of tradition and The Empire Club of Canada has a number of fine traditions. One of the happiest of these is the presence of the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario at this annual Christmas party. Your Honour, on behalf of all who are gathered here today and those of our members who could not be present, it is my pleasure to extend to you, to Mrs. Aird, and to your family our very best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We pledge to you our deepest affection and loyalty, and through you to her gracious majesty, the Queen. Ladies and gentlemen, I am privileged to invite His Honour John Aird, Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, to speak to us now.
His Honour, the Lieutenant-Governor, as the representative in Ontario of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, brought greetings and best wishes for a Merry Christmas to all members of the Empire Club.
Thank you, Your Honour, for your message. I now call upon the Immediate Past President of the club, Brigadier General S. F. Andrunyk, to present a bouquet of flowers to Mrs. Aird. (Presentation of flowers.)
Ladies and gentlemen, it is now my pleasure to introduce the ladies and gentlemen who share our head table today. (Introduction of head table guests.)
The Empire Club of Canada is an institution and like all institutions it succeeds because many people participate willingly, cheerfully, and energetically in its day-today affairs. My personal appreciation goes to the past presidents who supported me so strongly with action and advice in the first half of my year. A particular expression of appreciation goes to the senior directors who are, in fact, the turning wheel in this time clock; they are the restlessly helping hands turning simple meetings into events.
Two other important persons in this regard are Mrs. Eleanor Cook, our Executive Secretary, and Mrs. Betty McAdam, our Office Secretary. I am pleased to have this opportunity to recognize their contribution.
I also want to thank my secretary, Miss Jan Webster, of the Union Bank of Switzerland, who keeps up with the Empire Club correspondence that I, as president, generate.
I would also like to express the club's appreciation to the Royal York Hotel staff, which meets our needs in a most professional manner. In the forefront of this group are Tony Hauth, the Catering Manager; Harry Bittner, Assistant Manager; and more prominently to our members, Adriano Ferreira, Manager of Banquet Services, who sees that our Thursday meetings are conducted without flaws.
Our thanks also go to Stanley St. John, our faithful pianist, whose music we have enjoyed for so many years, and to Robin Kobryn, the club's photographer.
Another person who deserves our gratitude is Colonel Leslie Parkinson, who has been the distinguished chairman of our Christmas luncheon committee.
Finally, each year the Christmas luncheon is the occasion on which we honour our Immediate Past President by presenting him with a commemorative scroll signed by our Honorary President, the Governor General of Canada.
During his presidency, Brigadier General Steve Andrunyk conducted the affairs of this club with great dignity, superb efficiency, and outstanding devotion. It is my pleasure to present him with this scroll with the thanks of more than two thousand admiring and grateful members of The Empire Club of Canada. (Presentation of scroll.)
Behind a general stands his army, behind a successful man you find a strong lady, and in your partnership, Sir, there is no silent partner. For this reason, we wish to express our gratitude to Mrs. Andrunyk who, during your year of presidency, showed a great deal of understanding for your workload. May I now call on our First Vice-President, Mr. Douglas Derry, to present Muriel Andrunyk with a bouquet of roses as a token of our appreciation. (Presentation of bouquet.)
While we are recognizing people of merit, let me say happy birthday to Dr. Harold Cranfield, who is celebrating his seventyfifth birthday today. In 1953 he joined the club, in 1956 he was called to the executive committee, and in 1970-71 he was president of our club.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is now time to enjoy our program of Christmas music. It is to be provided, in part, by the 78th Fraser Highlanders who served in Canada for seven historic years--from 1757 to 1763, when they were disbanded. The Fraser Highlanders have been re-raised, with the permission of Colonel-in-Chief Brigadier the Right Honourable Lord Lovat, whose ancestor, Colonel Simon Fraser, founded the regiment. The pipes and drums of the new Fraser Highlanders won the pipe band competition at the Elora Highland Games of 1982.
Then we are to hear the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble. The Canadian Opera Company's origins can be traced directly from the first performances in 1946 by students of the newly formed Royal Conservatory Opera School in Toronto. Conductor Nicholas Goldschmidt and stage director Felix Brentano were engaged to help the school's founder, Dr. Arnold Walter, mount this venture; their success enabled Brentano's successor, Herman Geiger-Torel, to plan the creation of a professional opera company. In July 1976, the internationally renowned stage director Lotfi Mansouri succeeded Geiger-Torel as general director, marking the beginning of a new era in the development of the Canadian Opera Company, which today meets world standards. May I cordially welcome our artists for today: Janet Smith, soprano; Ben Heppner, tenor; Christopher Cameron, bass baritone; accompanied by pianist Leslie Uyede.
A program of music was then presented, first by the pipes and drums of the 78th Fraser Highlanders, and then by the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble.
The appreciation of the audience was expressed by Major General Bruce Legge, President of The Empire Club Foundation and a Past President of The Empire Club of Canada.