The Maple Bay Painters had its 50th birthday in 2017. A review of archived records confirms that the group was conceived in late 1967. According to its first formal minutes in 1968: “a meeting to organize a group of painting and sketching [artists] was held on Jan. 24th, at 8 p.m. at the Maple Bay Hall.” At that first meeting, the seven-attending original members (Phyllis Rodd; Juli Porter, Edith Sampson, Verna Dunmire, Lynn Stanley [now Starter], Joy Shaughnessey, and Joan Bennett) determined that their collective name would be the “Maple Bay Painters” and they would meet once per week “at the hall and extra paintouts or expeditions on Saturdays (weather-permitting)”. In the same first month of meetings, a small lending library for members was also established, which has carried on to this day. Fifteen original members in 1968 grew to 47 in the years prior to the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic.
In compliance with provincial public stay-at-home health orders concerning Covid-19, Maple Bay Painters' in-person meetings temporarily stopped in 2020, with many members choosing to maintain membership during the pandemic. During 2020, 2021 and early 2022, some members met online and attended meetings and workshops using Zoom software. Even so, membership numbers dropped to less than 20 active members during the pandemic. Fortunately membership numbers are returning now toward pre-pandemic levels.