MDRGC Club HistoryIn the beginning...
The Mission & District Rod & Gun Club got it’s start from a few dedicated sportsmen from Mission, Hatzic, Dewdney, and surrounding areas. So began an association of hunters, fishermen, and target shooters sharing common interests and talking a common language, whether their daily work took them to the backwoods or the boardroom.
Then, as now, their world of understanding showing mutual respect for man and nature is one worth experiencing – surrounded by a world of nature they freely share with those who take the time to see, hear, smell, or touch the friendly outdoors with it’s learning opportunities.
One of the sportsmen’s first recorded activities was visiting Victoria as a delegation to stop the wholesale slaughter of Lesser Canada Geese by market hunters at Hatzic Prairie and Hatzic Lake. They were successful. A. Bryan Williams, the Provincial Game Administrator, visited the area and by Order-in-Council closed the whole area to shooting for the rest of the season. In the early 1920’s these same sportsmen, joined by a number of younger men, were instrumental in setting bag limits each year.
The first trapshooting in Mission was on property owned by Charlie Miner however this location was short lived due to flooding and cattle, sharing the location, ingesting fragments of broken targets and some lead. In the 1930’s a trapshooting site was built on land owned by the late James Donatelli and from here the club moved to the Lougheed and Wren site they acquired from Earl Hardy.
For this new venture money was raised by the sale of $25.00 bonds with 4% interest. Funds were used to buy cedar poles to build a 30’x 50’ clubhouse. Donated materials from building demolitions were used to build the lobby, kitchen, cloak room, office, and washrooms. This was to be home to the Mission and District Rod & Gun Club for many years.
A further milestone was reached on December 18, 1941 when the Club received its Charter under the Societies Act of British Columbia. As written in the Club Constitution July 4, 1988 the Club’s day to day operations are carried on by seven officials as the ‘Board of Directors’ and a thirteen member Board of Trustees has the power to veto or approve any motion adopted by the Society. Functional club volunteers and chairmen carry on the various activities specific to their interests.
Another memorable day arrived with the formal opening of the Lougheed club premises on May 19, 1951 by Frank A Butler, the BC Game Commissioner. Mr. Butler officially declared the building and grounds to be the finest of its kind in BC, a tribute to the dedication and foresight of sportsmen everywhere with the example shown by the Mission founders. To mark the occasion he presented the Club with a plaque for the fireplace mantle.
The trap fields were completed at the Lougheed site in the mid 60’s. Two trap machines were purchased for $3000. The indoor range was also completed using 12 x 12 x 4 Fir timbers for a backstop.
Inevitably ‘progress surrounded the Club’ until in 1980 it was no longer possible to use the trap fields as residential houses were being built too close to the range. In 1981 the search began for a new site and with the help and recommendation of the Mission City Council the present site was chosen. A special use permit was approved in December 1982 under which the club operated until re-zoning was approved by Council at a meeting held on June 13, 1983.
A new era began. In 1982 Don Lochrie submitted plans for the trap fields and new clubhouse building. In September ‘83 the first two trap houses were built and in January ‘84 a temporary club house building was started. At the April 2, 1984 meeting the members decided to sell the Lougheed property to finance the new development at their Dewdney Trunk site and in February one acre of land was sold to the Department of Highways to widen the highway. The first New Years traditional Royal Pheasant Shoot was held at the new site on January 1st, 1987. The rifle range building was ready to use and the pistol shed was started in February. The modern present day clubhouse capable of seating upwards of 200 people was started in 1987. The old clubhouse on the Lougheed highway passed into history when sold in January 1989.
There is a deep rooted appreciation of the legacy nurtured by the early members of the Club, many of which are still active today. And with this legacy the Club is extremely fortunate in being able to continually attract the high class of dedicated community minded knowledgeable sportsmen that are such a pleasure to associate with.
On June 10, 1990 the fabulous new clubhouse was officially opened by the ‘new’ President, Marcel Motut, after taking over the gavel from the outgoing President, Robert Wardell.
Today our club continues to grow. Our facilities for shotgun, archery, rifle, and pistol are excellent and improving almost daily. Our programs are designed to be fun, educational, challenging, and safe. Our members bring to each discipline an envious level of coaching and training assistance not found elsewhere. Many are competitors themselves holding Championship titles at Local, Provincial, National, and International levels, some with administrative experience as officials at all competitive levels, including the Olympics.
For more information you are invited to call the person relating to your area of interest. The facilities are maintained by the members and reflect a pride of stewardship. Guests may accompany members at any time on any range or attend the rifle range during the special annual public weekend program designed to promote good conservation practices for non member sportsmen who wish to sight in their rifles for the hunting season.