Excerpts from an article by Imelda
Cuthbertson & John Kenchenten
In 1905, a Rod and Gun Club was formed in Nanaimo
and boasted a Gabriola contingent. By the 1920's, the Gabriola members were
meeting regularly for competitive shoots on home turf. Of course, in those days
there was little concern for confining these organized events to any single
location and apparently they were quite the social occasion and very well
attended. This was a period prior to the availability of mass media
entertainment in the home, so naturally these events were anticipated with great
enthusiasm by Gabriolans at large.
The 1930's saw the first of the organized turkey shoots over at the old Rowan
homestead where a steel trap was made for these occasions. During the war years
(1940-1945) organized activities were temporarily suspended.
By 1950, the Grande Hotel joined with the Rowan location in hosting shooting
events. More events were organized by the Brown family in the vicinity of
Sandwell Beach. The Rod and Gun Club became a formal entity in 1954 with Peter Bell as President and Clyde Coats Secretary/Treasurer. At this
time a Pacific reloader for trap shooting was purchased by the club members.
Membership blossomed over the next two decades and by the '70s it was
decided by the Executive to secure a permanent site for the club.
In 1974, the 40 acres - in the present location that
we all know and love so well - was acquired by the Club. The first President of
the Club in this new phase of its existence was Gordie McDonald, ably supported
by Ron Ewing as Vice-President. Our range property has become an integral part
of Gabriola life over the intervening years.