The Shawville/Clarendon Firemen’s Ball is taking place on April 18 with a 9 o’clock start. The Shawville Lions Hall will be buzzing with the music of Streamer.
Yet, how long has there been a ball?
Digging through the Pontiac Archives, the earliest mention of the Firemen’s Ball that could be found is in a newspaper clipping for April 19, 1963. The event took place at the Agricultural Dance Hall with the music of the Wilf Symington’s Orchestra of Arnprior. Over 200 people attended with Mrs. Norrie Jones and Neil Hodgins winning spot prizes and the door prize was by Mrs. Bill Orr. The clipping ends with the mention the ball has been gaining popularity each year – which hints the ball has been going on longer than that.
The possibility of when the ball started can stretch back to 1929. Charles Imison gets listed as the first Fire Chief of the department and stays in the role until 1954. Watt Taylor picks up the reigns in 1955 and lasts until 1975. Bill Pirie follows in 1976 and hangs up the hat in 1982. Roy Thoms follows in 1983 until 1991. Neil Sharpe is the shortest term as chief from 1991 to 1993. Bill Black takes on the role in 1993 until his passing in 1998. Lee Laframboise has been the Chief ever since.
Another ball in 1968 took place at the St. Paul’s Anglican Hall. The sixteen firemen including Chief Taylor honoured several operators of the Pontiac Rural Telephone, for which they dutifully called each fireman and for pushing the fire switch at the first report of a fire.
According to Chief Laframboise, proceeds from this year’s Firemen’s Ball will go towards new equipment for the department. There will also be a light lunch served along with door prizes.
Celebrating firemen for over 52 years says something positive about the community and to the people who are willing to take on the work and effort and jump into their firemen gear.
By: Scott Campbell – April 2015.