Rotary Club of Nanaimo president Janeane Coutu, shown at the Nanaimo entrance sign at Departure Bay ferry terminal, and her fellow Rotarians are celebrating the club’s centennial this week. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

Rotary Club of Nanaimo president Janeane Coutu, shown at the Nanaimo entrance sign at Departure Bay ferry terminal, and her fellow Rotarians are celebrating the club’s centennial this week. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

Rotary marks 100 years of difference-making in Nanaimo

April 25-May 3 is Nanaimo Rotary Centennial Week

A 100-year-old service club in Nanaimo can’t celebrate its centennial exactly how it might have liked, but the occasion isn’t going unnoticed.

The Rotary Club of Nanaimo was chartered 100 years ago this week and in recognition, the mayor has proclaimed April 25-May 3 as Nanaimo Rotary Centennial Week. The city is illuminating the Bastion in blue and gold light each night.

“As far as our own club celebrating, it’s been challenging to try and figure out how we can do that,” said Janeane Coutu, president of the Rotary Club of Nanaimo.

The club’s signature project for its 100th anniversary is the Rotary Centennial Garden at Maffeo Sutton Park. The timeline was supposed to align with the club’s centennial and while that won’t quite happen, it’s not as important during a pandemic, when physical distancing precludes park gatherings anyway.

“It’s nice that it will be finished and open hopefully when things get back to normal for everybody…” Coutu said, adding that she visited the park this past weekend to take a look. “Things are moving along really well down there.”

One event that will go ahead this week is a fundraiser on Friday afternoon, May 1, that will see Rotary president-elect Bob Janes run 100 laps of the 400-metre track at Rotary Bowl stadium with donations going to the Rotary Foundation and the Community Response Fund for those impacted locally by COVID-19.

story continues below

Some of the Rotary’s fundraising efforts have been slowed by the pandemic. The spring used book sale was cancelled, though Coutu is hopeful that the fall sale will be able to proceed. She was at Nanaimo North Town Centre earlier this month dropping off some books at the storage space and someone pleaded to pop in for a moment to make some purchases.

“People are so desperate for books,” Coutu said.

In the meantime, some regular business is continuing. The club still meets weekly at its usual time, via Zoom. Members are keeping up with grant applications and some ongoing commitments for post-secondary scholarships, for example, are expected to be carry on as usual.

“I think it’s pretty fair to say we’re not going to be able to do as much as we would normally in a given year, but we definitely can keep some of those things going that people are depending on,” Coutu said.

Rotary’s 100 years of work can’t be summarized easily, with examples of the gear logo emblazoned all around the city. Some of the club’s contributions, according to the city proclamation, include facilitating and supporting construction of the old hospital in the Old City Quarter, Bowen Park, Rotary Bowl stadium, the entrance sign at Departure Bay, Tillicum Lelum centre, Rotary Skatepark, Rotary Field House at the Serauxmen Sports Fields, Rotary Lookout at the Visitor InfoCentre, VIU Library’s special collections room, Nanaimo Community Hospice, the NRGH Emergency Department and Eden Gardens care home.

“It’s an incredible history in Nanaimo,” Coutu said.

Rotary clubs around the world didn’t start inviting women to join until the late 1980s. Coutu and three others were the first women to join the Rotary Club of Nanaimo on the same day in 1992. She said “it feels right” that her presidency falls partly during the club’s centennial year and said she’s going to enjoy the milestone.

Mayor Leonard Krog’s proclamation notes that the club’s members provide humanitarian service, follow high ethical standards, promote goodwill and peace and assist those in need abroad and at home.

“These efforts provide financial, in-kind and hands-on support to many local organizations, community groups and charities [and] provide direct help to people in need in our community,” the proclamation reads.

To learn more about the Rotary Club of Nanaimo, click here.

READ ALSO: Nanaimo Foodshare gets help from Rotary in keeping fruits and veggies fresh



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Service

Just Posted

Conductor Willi Zwozdesky and pianist Nico Rhodes led 66 local vocalists in song for the Nanaimo Sings video project Keeping Calm and Singing On. (YouTube screen shot)
Nanaimo Sings virtual performance features 66 vocalists

Fifth Nanaimo Sings festival was to have taken place this year

The bow-legged bear was seen roaming 2nd Avenue on Friday, May 7 and again in Brown Drive Park on May 13. (Submitted photo)
Bow-legged Ladysmith bear euthanized after vet examination

CO Stuart Bates said the bear had obvious health issues

Playwrights Scott Rivers (left) and Ray Appel (right) play contestants on a Gabriola Island-themed quiz show hosted by Lesley Hazeldine (centre) in ‘Gabriola Squares.’ (Video still courtesy Ray Appel)
Gabriola Players theatre group presents virtual one-act play festival

Three local productions will be debuted during online event starting this week

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
UPDATE: Queen presents Nanaimo doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup

Nanaimo Clippers goaltender Jordan Naylor gets into position as Alberni Valley Bulldogs player Ethan Bono takes a shot on net during a game at the Alberni Valley Multiplex on April 28. (Elena Rardon/Black Press)
Nanaimo Clippers’ passion for the game carries them through pandemic season

Coach looks back on season following third-place finish in the BCHL’s Island pod

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
UPDATE: Queen presents Nanaimo doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

A driver was taken to hospital after crashing a pickup truck into a tree on Rutherford Road near Bradbury Road on Friday, May 14. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Driver taken to hospital after crashing truck into tree on Rutherford hill in Nanaimo

RCMP investigating incident at Rutherford and Bradbury roads on Friday, May 14

Tamara Cameron, Uplands Park Elementary School music teacher and librarian, students Ben Leduc, second from left, Avery Kojima and Kinley Robson, as well as other music students from the school, will benefit from $8,000 from MusiCounts, for instruments and recording equipment. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Money for new instruments music to ears of Uplands Park school staff and students

Grant from music education charity MusiCounts means students will have more ways to be creative

Sarah Boileau in her home studio on Monday, May 10. Boileau’s work will be on display at the McMillan Arts Centre in Parksville through May 30. (Submitted photo)
RCMP arrested a man in north Nanaimo who wound up empty-handed after allegedly failing at shoplifting, bank robbery and robbery at ATM machine. (File photo)
Man arrested in Nanaimo after failed attempts at bank robbery, ATM mugging, shoplifting

RCMP arrest suspect in office-supply store after ‘short-lived crime spree’

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Most Read