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Never forgotten: The lasting legacy of junior football's Vancouver Meralomas

Posted on 2015-06-16 09:55:14

When it comes to athletic institutions in Vancouver, you won’t find many that have as rich a history as that of the Meralomas.

Video: Go inside the 2015 Vancouver Meralomas reunion

Since its inception in 1923 as the Mermaids, the Meraloma Club has sported teams in a variety of sports including swimming, rugby and baseball but perhaps none more dominant than their football team which ruled the BC Junior Football landscape for a time over two decades.
 
According to the BCFC record books, the Meralomas finished in first place 13 times and won 18 BC championships, including nine in a row from 1968 to 1976.

Photo Gallery: 2015 Vancouver Meralomas reunion
 
The 1990 season was the last recorded campaign of the Vancouver Meralomas in the BCFC record books. They played as the Coquitlam Meralomas Bulldogs from 1991 to 1993 before moving to Tri-City the next season and dropping the Meralomas name altogether.
 
Nearly three decades later since they last took to a football field the ever-lasting legacy of the Meralomas Football Club can still be felt. You only have to look as far as the BC Lions – who adopted the Meralomas’ orange and black colour scheme for the own – to see one such example.
 
Ray Crawford, the team historian for the Meralomas, organizes an annual gathering of all football alumni once a year back at the clubhouse at Connaught Park in Kitsilano.
 
The Meralomas came up with the name by taking the ‘Mer’ from their original name, added to it the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet (alpha and omega) to form the ‘al’ ‘om’, and capped off with an ‘a’ which stood for ‘always’.
 
The name in itself meant “Mermaids, first, last and always.”  It would later form the basis of their motto – “Once a Meraloma, Always a Meraloma”.
 
Judging by the turnout at these annual football reunions, that motto is indeed true.