The first Probus club was formed in England. Fred Cahill, a newly retired man, started meeting with other ex-commuters of similar professional and business backgrounds for coffee on a regular basis.
The first meeting was actually organized by the local Rotary president with 45 men attending and it became known as the Campus Club.
About the same time, September 1965, Harold Blanchard, a member of Caterham Rotary Club retired. He urged the Caterham Rotary Club to organize meetings for retired men over 60.
In February 1966, 42 prospective members started a monthly lunch meeting and decided to call themselves the Probus Club (Pro for Professional and Bus for Business). Thereafter, Harold was considered the Father Figure of Probus in Great Britain.
Probus clubs were introduced into New Zealand in 1974 and Australia in 1976. A Canadian, John Reynolds Morris, who had joined Rotary in 1946, made a trip to Australia and New Zealand in 1981 and learned about Pro-bus while there.
He saw first hand the enjoyment and satisfaction that members were getting from Probus.
On his return he scheduled several (43 in all) speaking engagements to Rotary Clubs across Canada and for that he is considered to be the founder of Probus Canada. He was the first president of Probus Centre-Canada and today is the president emeritus. It was Bert Klinkhammer who, after attending one of J.R. Morris’s presentations, was instrumental in forming the first Canadian Probus club of Cambridge, Ontario on March 17th, 1987.
In August, 1987 Gordon Howden, president of the White Rock Rotary club, sent out a letter inviting appropriate men to form a Probus club here.
Rotary set up a committee to inaugurate our club under the chairmanship of Colin Smith, who later became president of the White Rock/South Surrey Probus Club in 1991.
The inaugural meeting of Probus Canada Club #2 was held on the 9th Sept 1987 at the Pantry restaurant at 18th Avenue and 152 St. with some 40 men attending.
The first regular venue for club meetings was Hazelmere Golf Club. It then moved to Coyote Creek Golf Club around 1995, to Cargill Manor, then to the Pacific Inn and finally back to Hazelmere.
By 2019 it had become clear that the meeting room at Hazelmere was too small for the number of members attending our monthly meetings. After a thorough review of possible new venues, the decision was made to move to the new and well-equipped Oceana Parc facility in White Rock. Unfortunately, due to the arrival of the Covid-19 Pandemic, only one meeting (the March 2020 AGM) was held at the new location before it was no longer possible to hold in-person meetings.
During 2020 and 2021, the club made use of Zoom Video Conferencing to continue to hold virtual monthly meetings with guest speakers. Zoom was also used to facilitate other meetings of members such as Coffee Mornings and has proved extremely successful in continuing our club activities during the Pandemic.
Some highlights of our history are;
· Membership numbers peaked in the mid-90s when we achieved 167 members.
· At the Probus club of White Rock/South Surrey Christmas Lunch Meeting in 1992 176 people attended and the speaker was Gordon Campbell, at that time Mayor of Vancouver
· In August 1994 members toured the cruise liner Maasdam while she was in port in Vancouver. The limited participation event was so popular names had to be drawn from a hat.