Notes of Interest:
It all started in 1949 on the streets of Sudbury...
“Members of the Sudbury Chapter of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartets” pitched in to help the Salvation Army fill their “Cheer Pots”. Original Barbershop members include ERNIE SAVARD, WALTER WILSON, SAM CAMPBELL, CLIFF LOCKYER, LORNE SCOVILLE, HARRY LAMBERT, HAP BAINARD, ELMER SCHIEMAN, ART GODDARD, KEN BARLOW, WILLIARD ENVOY AND BILL CASWELL. They entertained in front of four collection stands singing Christmas carols outdoors in downtown Sudbury Ontario. The objective was to raise $500.
In 1951 there were 300 children being elped by the Barbershoppers Christmas Toy Drive. The original idea grew to stage and radio shows and by 1951, the Barbershoppers Christmas Toy Drive had become a Christmas institution. The Sudbury BarberShoppers were the first group to work with the TV station on this event, and continued until the end of 1971.
In 1972 Lion Gerry Albert who worked as a sales rep for CKSO, and was also a member of the Lions Club of Sudbury was asked if he and his Club would be willing to take on the running of the Telethon. Lion Gerry and his Club agreed, and for the first year ran the Telethon on their own, with Lion Gerry as Chairman. The first year, in 1973 the telethon made $7000, and they soon realized that more manpower was needed.
The second year, 1974, Lion Gerry knowing that he needed more help invited the Minnow Lake (later part of the Sudbury North East) and the Coniston Lions Clubs to join and their combined efforts raised $1700 for the Telethon. The third year 1975, there were 7 clubs involved and $37000 was raised, and we have never looked back. Lion Gerry Albert served as Telethon chairman until 1981 and was by this time a past District Governor (77-78).
In 1982 Lion Albert Routliffe, also a past District Governor (78-79), became the second Telethon Chairman and continued until 1984. Lion Albert was also instrumental in founding our Lions, Lioness & Leos Coordinating Council.
In 1985 Past District Governor Lion Roger Brideau (83-84) became the third Telethon chairman, and remained until 1994. In 1995 Past District Governor Lion Len Collin (91-92) of the Warren Lions Club, became Telethon Chairman.
In 1993 Past District Governor Lion Cleo Roy became Telethon chairman in 1999 until 2014 where Lion Sam J Khoury became the Chairman. Sam along with the help of the CTV Crew in Sudbury and Bell Media Satellite, there were people in 32 countries watching the Telethon in the year 2020. With the huge marketing that Lion Sam did, we had over 100 companies sponsoring and supporting the telethon.
In 1952, the 1st ALL STAR PROGRAM of local talent was held at the Capitol Theatre. Over 1000 toys were donated that year. CHNO radio was the first to broadcast the talent show. 1953 would be the pivotal year. It looked like the Barbershoppers would fall short and wouldn't quite make their goal. There were 300 families and approximately 1500 Children who needed help. Wilf Woodill and the newly Christened CKSO Television stepped in with a 5 hour Volunteer talent how. They collected $2000 that evening which exceeded the goal of $1500. To paraphrase original Barbershopper Ernie Savard, ”We could raise more money in 1 night on television than you could during an exhaustive 6 weeks of fundraising on the street".
It was a natural progression to television and the annual Christmas Telethon was born. On December 5th, 1998, MCTV - CTV and Lions Clubs staged a Celebration of 50 years of Caring for the Kid’s at Christmas with a production unparalleled in small market television. Businesses gave, children canvassed and carolled door to door and a record $211,000.00 (Sudbury) was pledged in 9 glorious hours of live “home town” television.
Each year we have seen an increase in the amount of money raised at the Telethon but at the same time there has been an increase in the cost of buying the toys and in running the Telethon. At present there is a committee, formed to find ways of spending whatever excess funds, raised at the Telethon if and when they become available, and it is agreed by all concerned, both Lions and CTV, that the money be spent on something to benefit children.
In 2021 was raised over $320,000.00. with the help of all the Lions Clubs and the Telethon sent out over 18,000 Toys to help the Children, we help and assist different groups and organization also.