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Public celebrates 100 Years of Rotary Service in North Bay

Service Above Self "Being able to interact with so many different people here in the community, and making a difference in their lives."

What better way to acknowledge and celebrate 100 years of Rotary service in North Bay than by holding a large community party?

The public was invited to enjoy an afternoon of fun, food, and activities at the Rotary Splash Pad in downtown North Bay Saturday.   

All three Rotary Clubs; the Rotary Club of North Bay, the Rotary Club of North Bay-Nipissing along with the Rotaract Club of North Bay-Nipissing shared in the festivities.

“Rotary started in North Bay on May 17, 1923 by 25 local businessmen. The Club quickly adopted improving children’s lives as their main fundraising initiative and it is still the main focus of the club for the past 100 years,” explained Grace Dorion, Past-President Rotary Club of North Bay.

“This event is just to give a thank you back to the community. It is also intended  to let the public learn what Rotary is and what we’ve done in the community as well.”  

Rotary’s motto is Service Above Self, which is evident by the many community projects they have initiated or supported as volunteers.

“Over the years the clubs have fundraised for events such as Rotary4Kids, the Splash Pad in downtown North Bay and we’ve recently donated funds towards the retinal scanner for newborns at the hospital. We’ve worked quite closely with One Kids Place and donated funds there, and of course, Camp Tillicum is another major project,” said Dorion.

“We have also made donations to food banks in North Bay and area.”

The clubs have also supported families in need by raising money to help with equipment costs for youth with disabilities and travel expenses for out-of-town medical appointments.  

The Rotary Club of North Bay-Nipissing was represented by its current Club President at the birthday celebration.

“While not all three of our clubs are 100 years old, we are here to celebrate all the contributions that each of our different clubs have brought to our local community,” said Jonathan Jolkowski President of the North Bay-Nipissing Club.

Jolkowski shared what he enjoys most about volunteering as a Rotarian.

“Just being able to interact with so many different people here within the community and making a difference in their lives, whether that is creating little care packs for seniors during COVID in lockdown to helping to contribute funds to building the new expansion to the Humane Society.”

Another club, the  Rotaract Club is always looking for ways to get involved in the community.

”We are entering our 10th year of service here in North Bay. We organize a lot of events locally. One of our most popular ones is the Poutine, Pints and Plaid event where we have supported many different local charities here in North Bay,” shared Rotaract President Valerie Edmunds.

“Another one of our larger events is called Up the Creek Without a Paddle which supports the PADDLE program. And an upcoming event taking place in just a few weeks is our Fill the Crib event where we support the NICU and the Infant Food Bank. We like to keep our money local and see where there is a need and meet those needs.”

Rotaract is a good starting point for young people interested in Rotary.

“Our club is for ages 18 plus. We really focus on that younger demographic who is looking to make a difference and make a change within our community,” Edmunds explained.  

Also commemorating Rotary’s milestone is a pollinator garden, recently planted by the North Bay Heritage Gardeners to honour a century of service.

Families attending Saturday’s celebrations enjoyed face painting, activities run by the YMCA, balloon creations as well as a few interactive games.

As a special treat, McDonald’s provided 150 Happy Meals for children.