"Once a Mermaid"
The Meraloma Club is an amateur athletic organization founded in 1923 by Bill Edwards and 11 other swimmers from the local Kitsilano area of Vancouver, Canada.
They initially called their club the Mermaids. Canadian Football, Rugby Football and various sports soon followed and as the club grew to include sports other than swimming, the members developed a new name, suggested by Douglas Hand. He took "Mer" from the original Mermaids, added "al" from alpha, "om" from omega (the first and last letters of the the Greek alphabet) and "a" from "always" that was interpreted to mean "Mermaids, first, last and always". Later, the permanent Club motto found favour: "Once a Meraloma Always a Meraloma". Thus, the Mermaid Athletic Club became the Meraloma Club.
The club even developed their own songs. For several years in the late 1920's and early '30's a women's swim team was part of the club. Women's sports returned to the club in 1973 after a 45 year absence, at first in the form of field-hockey and eventually, soccer, basketball, volleyball, rugby in 1990 and touch football; now defunct. The club currently has 350 active male and female members and 100 associates in 8 sport sections.
Eric Whitehead, former sports writer for the Vancouver Province Newspaper wrote:
"Speaking from my experience ... I know of no other organization that so epitomizes the special spirit and character of a community that has produced a far greater pro-rata share of outstanding athletes of national and international calibre than any other area in the nation. Now, in these times of change, with all the swing back to participation sport at all age levels, the Meraloma Club stands as a time-tested model of all that is best in volunteer community sports establishments."
The Meraloma Club is housed in a 1923 Parks & Recreation vintage structure, on Connaught Park which it continues to renovate and maintain. A Heritage Award from the City of Vancouver was earned in 1979 for preserving architectural integrity during renovations.