Founded in 1923, The Meraloma Club operated a football team from 1925 to 1990. Anxious to do well in this new Canadian game, the Meralomas purchased balls, sweaters, pants and a few padded helmets for those who wanted to play the upstart, rough and fun sport of football.
At the end of the 1926 season, the Meralomas were awarded the Harry Duker Cup for being Senior City Champions. In 1927, the team entered the Senior City League for the second time, winning the Harry Duker Cup again, but lost the Provincial Championship.
The ‘Lomas’ acquired their Big Four franchise in 1929 and became affiliated with the Western Rugby Football Union, enabling them to compete with the Prairie winner for the Western Canadian Championship. They represented BC on five occasions: 1930, 1932, 1933, 1934 and 1935.
In 1930, the Meraloma Club made a presentation to the Vancouver Parks Board requesting the use of Connaught Park on a regular basis for rugby and football practices. Connaught Park was a city park and the club’s home was a building constructed by club members on its own property near Kitsilano Beach. The City of Vancouver confiscated the building and the property before 1939 because the club could not afford to pay the taxes. Rugby and Canadian football teams used the changing rooms at Connaught Park after the mid-1940s, held occasional meetings, but were not granted official use of the building until the mid-19870s. Prior to that, from about 1960, they had “squatters rights.” Lomas Clubhouse operates today, servicing many sports focusing on rugby, softball and swimming.
The Meralomas were a founding member of the BC Junior Football Association in 1947, along with the Blue Bombers, CYO Red Raiders and the North Shore Lions.
In 1953, British Columbia’s new professional football club named the Lions adopted the Loma colours of burnt orange and black. Meraloma Directors who served on the original BC Lions Board of Directors include Harry Spring, Eric Cameron, Ralph Henderson, Ewart Blossom, Vic Spencer, Bill Surphlis, Dr. H.H. “Hammy” Boucher, J. Campbell McLean, Les Lythgoe, Sinclair Mowatt, Stu Fraser, Jack Bain, and Bill Clancy.
Meralomas contributed many players to the CFL including Pete Thodos, Gordie Mitchell, Baz Nagel, Pat and Bruce Claridge, Neal Beaumont, Gerald Roper, Greg Findlay, Vic Chapman, Ken Phillips, Ken Reid, Eric Guthrie, Bill Lasseter, Mark McDonald, and Ray Elgaard.
Beyond just developing star players to move on to the next level, the Meralomas also enjoyed unprecedented success on the field.
Take Ed Murray’s coaching tenure, which ran from 1967 to 1974, for example. During that period, the Lomas won eight consecutive league championships and seven consecutive BC championships. In fact, during that period, they only lost perhaps two or three league games, and the one BC championship they failed to capture in 1967 they lost by just a single point.
The Murray-led Meralomas also won several Western Canadian championships and competed in the Canadian final in 1974, losing a close game to the Ottawa Sooners.
Coaches who played a major part in the club’s success over the years include: Emery Barnes, Denny Veitch, Frank Gilliam, Frank Smith, Ed Murray and Ron Turner. Their slogan “once a Loma always a Loma” is carried on to this day.