The History of FIRA
Throughout the 1970's, many of the residents around Haliburton Lake met in their homes to play cards, quilt, and enjoy pot luck dinners. In 1981, neighbours and friends met at the home of Larry and Alma Barjarow to discuss the formation of the Fort Irwin Residents' Association (FIRA). Joan Filman was elected the first president of FIRA. Much of the evening centred around a discussion of applying for a grant to build a meeting place.
FIRA is formed
In October of 1981, the group applied for New Horizons funding and their grant of $21,072 was approved. The original grant covered about 50% of the cost of constructing a 24 by 40 foot frame building, including the cost of completing the inside and acquiring furnishings for the meeting area.
During the winter of 1981 - 1982, the group organized many activities to raise the additional funds that would be needed. As well, some members of the group donated their own funds to make the project work.
The land, leased from the Township for $1.00 a year, was cleared by member volunteers and the back-breaking work of the construction was begun in the spring of 1982.
Our first celebrations
In Dec 1982, the FIRA members gathered to celebrate with a New Years Eve party. (The first New Year's Eve party in 1982 - Murray & Mayme Douglas, Ernie Oliver, Gord Hore, and Lil Haight)
The FIRA hall was then filled with craft supplies, a dartboard, a bingo game and cribbage boards. The hall is where residents could meet for exercise, social events, and of course, quilting.
In June 1983, Opening ceremonies were held to celebrate the Fort Irwin Residents’ Association.
( Officiating, John Aikens, Glen Hodgson, Murray Fearry, Shirley McCarthy and Bill Scott.)
The ladies were keeping in shape and starting a Dancersize class in 1983.
Back row: Dorothy Howe, Alma Barjarow, Shirley Hodgson, Mayme Douglas, June Watson, May DeYoung, Ev Robertson
Front row: Joan Filman, Marj Barnett, Dorothy Hewitt, and Fran Bradbury.
Needle and thread in hand, the woman exchanged ideas and recipes and parenting tips. Every year, a new pattern was chosen, for example Bird of Paradise, Grandmothers’ Fan and the Double Wedding Ring. There was the Garland of Flowers pattern in 1982, which won an award at the Rails End Gallery.
FIRA is growing fast & expanding
By the summer of 1991, as with all successful ventures, the activities had outgrown the facility. Once again, the members were called upon to raise funds and provide the labour. Many of the original builders, as well as new members, went to work and the front addition was completed in 1991.
The more things change, the more they stay the same...
FIRA members can be found at the hall most days enjoying the social activities, cards, fitness classes, and Wednesday ladies chat and crafts.
Many quilts were made by our talented members over the years.
Snowmobile excursion 1992
Many gathered to go on a snowmobile trip around the area. Nice to get out to enjoy a beautiful winter day. After the trip, hot soup, sandwiches and refreshments were provided to all riders.
Harvest Lunch - Oct 2011
Ladies gather to celebrate the fall season. This is a potluck activity where everyone enjoys the many variations of soup, sandwiches and goodies that were made from members favourite recipes.
Quilting and craft group - May 2012
Each year, ladies gather at FIRA to stitch a quilt which will help keep everyone busy over the winter months. Many stories are shared and friendships are made.
Quilt and Craft Group - May 2014
Quilting and Crafting is a popular activity at FIRA and many projects are created. Another quilt made and more stories are shared.
Summerfest Making July 2016
Summerfest is a fundraiser event where the FIRA ladies bake a variety of goodies, from many, many pies, cookies and treats. The pies are the first to be sold out.
Painting Christmas Pots Oct 2016
Special craft activities are led by our talented members to share their knowledge. FIRA members have lots of talent, from painting, knitting, quilting, sewing, and crocheting.
Crafts Nov 2017
Another special craft class was led by our Wednesday Ladies leader, Dianne Kelly. This day's project was creating a festive Christmas wreath.
Pancake Breakfast 2019
The FIRA pancake breakfast is a fundraiser event and invites the community to join in on the fun. The first pancake breakfast was in 1996 and FIRA continues this tradition of celebrating the FIRA community with the Haliburton community. Thanks to our local Todds
Independent store who provides donations to help with our fundraiser. Breakfast is cooked and served to many families and friends. Cottagers and permanent residents, together, share their love of the Haliburton community.
Member Meetings 2022
The FIRA members have frequent member meetings throughout the year. Plans for the following year are drafted, the activity leads share their stories, financials are reviewed and upcoming projects are selected.
Celebrating 40 Years! Potluck Oct 2022
FIRA celebrated 40 years of being a social club. Over the 40 years, many changes have occurred, including building size, indoor decor AND many activities have stayed the same, including card games, ladies coffee and chats, craft days, and social events. The new decor was welcomed by all.
Darts Nov 2022
The darts + happy 2 hours activity is becoming popular. Teams are created and various games are played; 501, around the clock, cricket, etc.
The Dart boards are a big hit and the crowd is getting bigger…
Bonfire Nov 2022
Music in the parking lot and bocce ball were all enjoyed by keeping warm around the bonfire in Nov. Our talented members, Bill Candy and Dave Bright entertained us for our happy hour + bonfire.