Toastmasters' Club No 38 - First Canadian
Famed 1st Canadians Members

Even though First Canadian has not had a member of the club elected to the District's triumvirate since W.R. (Bill) Gazzard in 1951, our members have served as Area and Division Governors of Division 'A' of District 21 Toastmasters. And, some members have joined our club that have been PID, PDG, Past Division Governors and Past Area Governors.

Our most famous member is Sandy Robertson, DTM (No8), PID, PDG who joined the Club in 1984. He was the 1985-86 Club President, and as served Toastmaster in many capacities in the last 55 years.

He first attended our St George's Day Celebration after being invited in 1957, and has attend most of them ever since.  Sandy says, “I was inducted into Victoria Beaver Club 790 on Tuesday, 4th October 1955 and married the girl (Kathy) on the Saturday following.  I often claim that I joined TM in self-defence ...  Truth is, we have partnered these 55 years together, in professional and community activities as well as in the club, District and Board activities in Toastmasters.  It's been a great team.”

He was the first Editor of 'The Link', the Districts Newsletter in 1960, the same year as Vancouver hosted the Zone A Conference on June 4th, 1960. The following year he became the District's Junior Lieutenant Governor (1961-62), District Governor (1962-63), International Director (1966-68), received one of the first DTMs (his was No 8) with 14 other Toastmasters in 1970, District Parliamentarian, and first District Historian, Co-chair of the 1960 District 21 Spring Conference, that was attended by Dr. Ralph Smedley, founder of Toastmasters International.

Sandy says his highest honour was to be awarded his ATM (Able Toastmaster) (#400) by Dr Ralph Smedley at the 1963 International Convention in St Louis.

The 1966 Region One Conference was held at the Empress.  To quote Sandy, “I got the credit as chairman, but it was a great team effort  --  and I managed to get the Government of BC to pick up the cost of the luncheon.  We made a substantial profit, and split it -- several hundred dollars -- between the (then) two local Areas (1 & 8).”

At our 60th Anniversary he was our Keynote Speaker. [his keynote speech]

In 2005 many of the District other Famous Toastmasters attended Sandy's “Tea Party” to celebrate his 50 years in Toastmasters. There is a picture of him with six other Past District Governors. Pat Johnson, DTM, (who is now our International President) presented him with the “President's Citation” award.

He is currently a member of our Club as well as the Beavers Toastmasters Club #790.

Written by Brian Dodd, DTM District Historian (2008- date)

Frank Paulding, is Victoria Toastmasters Club (First Canadian Toastmasters, Club #38) Founder. Once upon a time a Y.M.C.A. General Secretary wrote to another Y.M.C.A. General Secretary; and in a few years our Club was born. Frank Paulding wrote to Ralf Smedley before July 26, 1930 from the New Westminster Y.M.C.A., to Ralf Smedley at the "Y" in Santa Ana, California the the founder of Toastmasters about forming a club in British Columbia.

Frank was running a speakers club they call “The Spokes” as the New Westminster YMCA. As a result of his letter he was at a meeting of Toastmaster at Whittier College on July 26th. The meeting discussed a name that they could use for their ‘Federation of Toastmasters’, and since Frank was from Canada it occurred to Ralf Smedley to call it “Toastmasters International”, like Rotary International of whom he also was a member. 

Before he could form an official Toastmaster's Club in New Westminster, Frank Paulding was transferred to Victoria, Y.M.C.A. as General Secretary in 1932; and like Ralf Smedley had done when he was transferred, Frank started another speaking club called the “Y-Speakers' Club” for the young men at the “Y” in Victoria. Frank was transferred because of his fund raising ability, the Victoria “Y” was having financial trouble at the time in the doldrums of the thirtys.

It took Toastmasters until December 19th, 1932 for Toastmasters International, Inc. to be incorporated under the laws of California. In Dr Ralf Smedley's book “The Story of Toastmasters” © Copyrighted in 1959, it is recorded at the October 7th., 1933 ‘Council Meeting’ of Toastmaster in Glendale, California that of the 18 clubs, the 18th Toastmaster Club came from Victoria, British Columbia. At the 1934 Convention in San Diego, Ralf Smedley states that of the 28 clubs they had on October 6th., that one club was from Canada.

 The next date we have is on October 24th, 1935, the day that the Charter Members were in attendance to charter the first International Club of Toastmasters International Inc. Thus creating “Victorian Toastmasters Club” with Charter #38 and at each meeting they still say "The Club that put 'International' into Toastmasters International". Frank was named Honorary President of our Club, with James E. Hill as President. Victoria Toastmasters Club was the only Canadian club in District 2.

Frank continued to work at the 'Y' until 1946, the year that the five BC Toastmasters Clubs became District 21 on July 26th, 1946. I am sure he had something in forming the new District.

The picture is at the laying of the cornerstone of the present YM-YWCA on June 26th, 1964. Left to right: Viv Shoemaker (one of First Canadian's charter members), Frank Paulding, Archie McKinnon.

Written by Brian Dodd, DTM District Historian (2008- date)

Barry Goult joined First Canadian Toastmasters in 1941, after being club President in 1944-45, he quickly rose in the ranks of Toastmasters International, by becoming Lieutenant Governor of District 2 for the 1945-46 year, when only 2 clubs were in British Columbia.

Before the 1945 Internationl Conference in Los Angles, Internationl President Elect Franklin McCrillis must have told Barry, if Club 38 and Club 59 could find three more clubs they could have their own District.

With the help of Ed White (First Elected Governor of District 21) a fellow Club 38 member, as quoted from Barrie Goult's speech
"We were fortunate enough, with the assistance of our Vancouver friends in having the Chilliwack Charter re-activated. With the assistance of a well-known Victorian, George Wilkinson, it was possible to form the Union Club within weeks of the meeting of the International Directors meeting in Seattle in 1945. We were thereafter joined by the Thunderbird Club, when its charter was presented by President McCrillis [on July 20th, 1946], who was welcomed to Victoria by Mayor Percy George [who was Mayor from 1945-1951]".

As a result of Thunderbird's Charter, District 21 Toastmasters came into being at Toastmasters International Convention in Seattle a few days later from July 24th to 28th. Barry was appointed the District's first Governor, with Ed White as Treasurer. Ed became the first elected District Governor in 1947, them remained as Treasurer until at least 1954.

Barry was the keynote speaker at our Club's 35th Anniversay [unabridged copy of speech].
Written by Brian Dodd, DTM District Historian (2008- date)

Mike Brodsky is our club’s another unique past president. Mike started coming to First Canadian Toastmasters with his seeing-eye dog Quincy in 1988, when he was 68 years old and had already attended the Thunderbird club for 10 years long. The CBC News published a feature story on him in Nov 2009 reported that “After a career in the military, this retired photogrammetrist (specialized map-maker) went completely blind overnight at age 54.”

Besides coming to Toastmasters, Mike also volunteered in the community. In October 2005, he was one of the five Victoria area seniors presented with the UVic Centre for Aging’s Valued Elder Recognition award for his work with the Victoria READ Society and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.

I (Clara Yan) phoned Mike for an interview. Before he picked up the receiver, I had been worrying about communicating with a 90-year old senior over the phone. To my surprise, on the other end of the phone line was a friendly, talkative and intelligent senior in an energetic voice with quick and sensible responses.

The date I called was June 6. Mike brought me back to the D-day in history 66 years ago over the phone. He was one of the few still survived Canadian soldiers took part in the Normandy Landings, the decisive Allied victory to end the World War II. “Not hot and sunny like today, Clara, the weather was cloudy in the morning, but it clear up in the afternoon.” Of course, no soldier in the Landings would forget the forceful historical day. When was asked how would he spend the day on June 6 every year, “Nothing really special, but the government had a special ceremony in 2004 on the grounds before the Parliament Building for the 60th Anniversary.”

Mike has an active outdoor life with a canoeing passion. He paddles regularly about once a week. However he has recently pulled his back in the exercise, now he’s resting and waiting for full recovery. He looks forward to paddling again in summer.

When being asked about his Toastmasters journey, he said he started with the Thunder-bird club. He recalled the first time when he was invited to the Toastmasters meeting, he was daunted. “Very good speakers…and I thought there was no way to approach that level.” Some-how he managed to go again, eventually joined, and continuously stayed as a Toastmaster. In 1988, the meeting dates collided with his volunteer work in READ society. He switched to the First Canadian club. In 1991 he served as Club President for the First Canadian. Before that he had served as the VP Public Relations when he was in the Thunderbird club.

Mike found the public speaking and leadership skills he learned and developed in Toast-masters “extremely useful”. “I did work for the United Way and the CNIB. The Toastmasters training had helped me did a good job. I learned a great deal in Toastmasters.” “It (public speaking) is a very valuable skill to learn.” The CBC news story reported that Mike had once given a keynote speech included 29 limericks for the Canadian Authors Association’s annual convention.

Mike is enthusiastic about joining us to celebrate the upcoming First Canadian 75th Anniversary.
Mikes has an active outdoor life with a canoeing passion (Credit: Photojournalist Dr. Ted Grant)
Written by Clara Yan, VP-Public Relations (2009-10)

Victor E. Lindal joined our Club in 1985 after a lull in our membership.

Born in Atlin, BC, but brought up and has lived in Victoria ever since. He has been Sport Consultant, Broadcaster, Teacher, Team and Personal Coach, Salesman, and Entrepreneur in Public Speaking. And most important a loving husband, father and grandfather.

In his Volleyball coaching days, Vic was
"known fondly as "Mr. Volleyball", Vic has been a fixture on the sports scene in B.C. for more than four decades. His vision of creating an environment wherein young players can develop a high skill level has helped make B.C. one of the hotbeds for volleyball in the country.

His achievements as a coach are impressive and include guiding B.C.-based teams to seven national championships and he coached the national women's team to Canada's first-ever victory over the USA in the early 1970s
" Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame.

One day he saw a Toastmaster information table in one of the local malls, manned by a middle aged gentleman. He pointed out that he felt he did not need help in speaking, but need help in organizing his speeches. The gentleman said he had come to the right place, and invited him to attend a meeting. The gentleman was Sandy Robertson, and has been Vic's mentor ever since.

Vic was World International Speaker Contest Finalist in 1980 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; after winning District 21 World Speaking Contest he went to the Toastmasters Region 1 Finals in Seattle. He was the only Canadian of the nine finalists. He thought, 'How can I beat these Americans in an American city'. Jesse Owens, a famous American track and field athlete had just died on March 31st. So, he thought 'I will give a tribute to Jesse Owens' who had won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. The speech title was "Dare to Dream , Dare to Believe that you can achieve"

Vic completed the Iron-man triathlon at age 50

"Vic has been recognized for his efforts as a volleyball builder both provincial and nationally by being made a member of the Volleyball Canada Hall of Fame in 2000 and the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame in 2001" Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame.

He is now a member of Master Motivators, Division 'A's only Advanced Club. He continues to use both his coaching and Toastmaster skills in his business at as a Professional Personal Coach, Inspirational Speaker for Corporations and other organizations.

Keep an eye out for him on the byways of Victoria on his bike with his grandchildren, snorkeling or scuba diving in a tropical ocean by a reef near a warm beach anywhere in the world, walking up a mountain with young people, hiking through the lands of Spain, or helping with an open air Speech-a-thon in Centennial Square.

In one interview he was asked what he wanted to do, part of his answer was ‘“to continue inspiring the clients I have and new ones that come into my life and provide guidance so they can follow their life paths.” But what if people don’t know what it is they want to do? Vic says, write down all the things you don’t like or don’t want to do, and then write a list of the opposites. Ask yourself what each of those things is going to look like.Quoted from article “Senior Living Magazine” by Enise Olding.

Vic legacy is his family, and I’m sure one or two of his grandchildren will become Toastmasters. One granddaughter has attended three Master Motivators meetings as a guest already.
Written by Brian Dodd, DTM District Historian (2008- date)

Brian Dodd, DTM our next VP Public Relations (2010-11) for the new Toastmasters year, was appointed as District Historian since July, 2008 as a result of his impressive High Performance Leadership (HPL) project in creating a multimedia DVD “A Mini History of Toastmasters in British Columbia”.

Currently Brian is working on his second HPL Project - to place the District 21's Archives in the BC Archives of the Royal British Columbia Museum. Last Sunday, Brian gave a speech at the Speech-a-thon at Centennial Square in Victoria appealing to the audience to get involved in cataloguing the Archives. Later, he will widen his call to action by converting the presentation invideo format and upload to YouTube. He will also work with District Governor Elect Tom Jones to appeal to Division Governors for more Archives that are in the possession of the Divisions and the clubs.

Brian has developed a passion in history since he was a student in Wales. His contribution in Toastmasters will have the Archives to be preserved, and be available for future members and historians.
[PS - Brian was elected the club's President for the year 2011-12]
Written by Clara Yan, VP-Public Relations (2009-10)

Revised by Brian Dodd, DTM Jan 18th, 2012

All Rights Reserved, Copyrighted by Toastmasters International, Inc, District 21 Toastmasters, First Canadian Toastmasters Club #38, 2010-12