Christmas Meeting
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 19 Dec 1963, p. 149-152

Media Type:
Item Type:
Seasons Greetings from the Lieutenant Governor and performance by the St. Michael's Cathedral School Choir.
Date of Original:
19 Dec 1963
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The speeches are free of charge but please note that the Empire Club of Canada retains copyright. Neither the speeches themselves nor any part of their content may be used for any purpose other than personal interest or research without the explicit permission of the Empire Club of Canada.
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Full Text
DECEMBER 19, 1963
Christmas Meeting
with The St. Michael's Cathedral School Choir
CHAIRMAN The President, Mr. Arthur J. Langley.


First of all, may I say how delighted I am that so many of you could be here with us at our traditional family Christmas Party. We are sorry indeed that Mrs. Rowe is unable to be with us today, but we are pleased and honoured that the Lieutenant Governor is continuing the old Empire Club tradition and has joined with us on this occasion.

There is one person, who by tradition, should be with us at this Head Table and who is not, at his own request. But despite his modesty, I feel I must recognize the fact that if it were not for the untiring efforts of one of our distinguished Past Presidents in finding the time to be our SecretaryTreasurer, in addition to running his own business, we would not have enjoyed the degree of success which we have so far--I refer, of course, to John Griffin.

Our committee chairmen carry a particularly heavy administrative load and their success is only possible because of the devoted assistance and support which they get from the young ladies who work for them, and hence for us. We have some of these young ladies here with us today, and I would like to recognize their contributions to the Club by introducing them to you. (The secretaries of the committee chairmen were then presented to the audience.)

Another Empire Club tradition at these Christmas parties is to present to our Immediate Past President, a certificate commemorating his service as President of the Empire Club. At the same time we always recognize that the Club owes a great debt to the wife of the President for her forbearance and patience in the face of the demands made upon him, and it is my pleasant duty to ask Mrs. Palmer Kent to accept these flowers as a slight token of our appreciation for her support through her husband's Presidential year. (A bouquet of red roses was presented to Mrs. Kent.)

And now, Palmer, having observed the tradition of ladies before gentlemen, it is your turn. I am proud to be the instrument that asks you to accept this certificate which reads

"The Empire Club of Canada acknowledges with grateful thanks, the services of J. Palmer Kent, Q.c., as President during the year 1962-1963"

and bears the signature of our Honorary President, the Governor General of Canada.

(Past-President Kent very graciously expressed the thanks of himself and Mrs. Kent to the meeting.)

Today we have a very special event to commemorate. From the time the Club was founded in 1903, the Governor General of Canada has been, by tradition, the Honorary President of the Club. We have never had an Honorary Vice-President. I am particularly pleased that in our Sixtieth Anniversary Year we have remedied this oversight and after observance of all the due considerations required by our constitution, I am pleased to report that His Honour, the Lieutenant Governor has graciously consented to be the Club's first Honorary Vice-President. Sir, I have the greatest of pleasure in asking you to accept this scroll from your Club which reads: to the Honourable W. Earl Rowe, P.C. Lieutenant Governor of Ontario

On this occasion of your visit to us and in recognition of your long and distinguished public service we the President, Officers and Members of the Empire Club of Canada take great pride in presenting this certificate which attests that you have graciously accepted the office of Honorary VicePresident of this Club.

It is our hope and prayer that you have many years of health and happiness for yourself, your family and for the continued good of our Country which you have served for so many years.

Dated at Toronto this 19th day of December, 1963.


JOHN WILLIAM GRIFFIN, Secretary-Treasurer (His Honour very kindly accepted the scroll and expressed his pleasure in becoming the first Honorary VicePresident of the Empire Club and further, expressed to the meeting the regrets of Mrs. Rowe that she was not able to be with us today and her hope that she might be able to be with him at next year's Christmas Party.)

For many, many years, one of the Empire Club's most faithful members was the late Monsignor John Ronan who conceived and founded the St. Michael's Cathedral Choir School. One of the boys he trained who has worked up through the Choir School in the intervening years, is the same Father Barrett Armstrong who is now the Director of the School Choir. We are indebted to Father Peter Summerville, Director of the School, for his kindness in making it possible for this magnificent group to sing for us today and in welcoming Father Summerville and the Choir, I would like to also express thanks to his brother, Father Stephen Summerville and their accompanist, Mr. Brian Rae, for joining with us today. Father Armstrong, the floor is yours.

(The Choir presented a delightful selection of Christmas pieces beginning with the processional Silent Night, and passing through a finely balanced group of carols in several of which the audience was able to participate. The choir concluded with the traditional Adeste Fidelis. )

May I say to Father Armstrong and his Choir that they have made this Christmas Party a truly memorable event. We congratulate them for their skill and for their marvel lous presentation. As they leave, we would want them to take our warmest thanks and our sincerest wishes for their continued success.

Before we part, there is one final and to me, very exciting announcement which I am able to make publicly for the first time today. On the evening of Tuesday, February 11th, the Empire Club will mark its Sixtieth Anniversary Year with a formal Diamond Jubilee Dinner for its members, in this room. On that occasion our guest of honour and speaker will be the Right Honourable Sir Alec DouglasHome, Prime Minister of Britain. This undoubtedly will be the outstanding event in a wonderful anniversary season, and so that John Griffin is not inundated with telephone calls, I should tell the members that they will shortly be receiving the formal announcement which will incorporate an order form for tickets for this great event.


The meeting adjourned following the withdrawal of the Vice-Regal party.

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Christmas Meeting

Seasons Greetings from the Lieutenant Governor and performance by the St. Michael's Cathedral School Choir.