Club History

Optimism started in Byron in 1950 when 42 local community minded men met on April 11, 1950 at the Hermitage Club with Optimist members from the Downtown London and Lambeth Optimist Clubs to form the Optimist Club of Byron. Those charter members recognized the needs of the village of Byron and set out to meet those needs.

May 2, 1950: The Optimist Club of Byron was officially chartered. A Girl's Baseball Team was the first sponsored program with a budget of $200.00.

1953: Byron Optimist Club built the Norman Ave. Youth Centre.

1957: The Optimist Club canvassed the Byron community raising $25,000 and built the swimming pool & diving well.

1961: The Youth Centre and Swimming Pools were sold to the City of London for $1.00.

1975: Local Developer, Bill Willcock donated 18 acres of land to build the Byron Optimist Sports Complex.

June 1979: The Byron Optimist Sports Complex was officially opened.

1984: The club built the Optimist Youth Stage at Storybook Gardens with assistance from Bill Willcock.

1987: The club helped to finance and construct the playground area at Storybook Gardens.

1989: Optimist Club's membership was expanded to include women.

1989: Dream Home Lottery raised funds for the Sports Complex.

1990: The club opened the Optimist Ski Centre at Boler Mountain for the Track 3 Ski Program and support continues.

1993: The club started the Challenge Baseball Program for mentally & physically challenged Youth at the Sports Complex.

1994-95: The club started supporting the Grade by Grade Chess Tournament.

June 1995: The club was instrumental in having the park around the Youth Centre renamed "Jorgenson Park" after long time Optimist member and City Councillor, Gord Jorgenson.

2003: The club contributed to the Skating Trail at Storybook Gardens.

Today: TV Bingo and Community Bingo helps support the Byron Optimist Sports Complex and various programs for youth. Partnerships have also been developed with other organizations to support programs of common interest.