Toronto Suomi Lions Club has a long and distinguished history.
Founded and chartered with 25 members in 1971 at the Lakeshore Lions Memorial Center, the sponsoring Lions club was the Toronto North Lions Club. The charter was presented to its first president, Martti Hyhko. With this event, the Toronto Suomi Lions Club became the first ethnic Lions club in the world, as all its members consisted of members of Finnish background, some of which had already been Lions in Finland.
Over the last 40 years, the Suomi Lions Club has served both communities, the Toronto and the Finnish communities, through many community events and fundraising activities.
Here are some of the things we have done:
- in the early years, Suomi Lions Club arranged and organized an international track meet with Lasse Viren as the main attraction;
- held fundraising dances featuring popular Finnish performers such as Eino Gron, Jamppa Tuominen, Aikamiehet; and
- hosted exchange students from Finland.
Later on, Suomi Lions Club helped in the Terry Fox telethon and assisted in the Olympiad for the Physically Disabled in Toronto.
Suomi Lions Club has donated medical equipment for eye care to Women’s College Hospital and supported the following:
- Suomi Koti, the Finnish seniors’ and nursing home
- The Habitat for Humanity project
- The Canadian National Institute for the Blind
- Lake Joseph Summer Camp for the Blind
- The seeing-eye dog training program.
Each and every year, Suomi Lions Club maintains support to the children’s camp in Udora, and awards an annual scholarship to the young students of the Finnish Language School.
These are just some of the programs that we have undertaken over the years.