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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Regional District of Nanaimo urges residents to sign up for new emergency alert system

RDN aligns its alert technology with Nanaimo, Parksville and Qualicum Beach

‘Food 4 Summer’ campaign in Nanaimo receives $10,000 from Island Savings

Loaves and Fishes trying to build new donor relationships during pandemic

Tribal council president named as VIU’s next chancellor

Judith Sayers accepts leadership role at Nanaimo university

Nanaimo woman will buy ‘supersonic’ hair dryer after $500,000 lotto win

Debra Allen won $500,000 in July 28 Lotto Max draw

Nanaimo tourism contest assures visitors ‘we’re ready for you’

Nanaimo Hospitality Association and partners offering prizes of hotel stays and tourism experiences

STANDING TALL: For some, B.C.’s forest industry is the best office in the world

A look at the forest sector in B.C. – and those hoping for the best – amid mill curtailments

Alf Todd on a mission to fight Parkinson’s disease

Todd and group hope to raise $10,000 riding bikes to Port Alberni

Royal B.C. Museum wants B.C.’s COVID-19 nature observations

COVID-19 Collecting For Our Time: ongoing project cataloguing province’s pandemic experience

Feds offer ‘life preserver’ funds to BC Ferries as pandemic sinks revenue

For every dollar the province spends the federal government will match

Reimagined campaign continues to make Vancouver Island wishes come true

#UnWinedOutside allows participants to support Make-A-Wish Foundation, local businesses

Bad behaviour at B.C. restaurants ignites campaign calling for respect

“If you can’t follow the rules, then stay home,” says BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association

Addition pending to Cape Scott Provincial Park?

BC Parks will wait before announcing plans for nearly $1 million old growth land purchase

Frustration mounts as Metchosin sheep slaughter continues

Metchosin mayor upset with B.C. Conservation’s response as bear feeds on farm animals

Over half of Americans oppose Trump tariff on Canadian aluminum: survey

The survey was conducted Aug. 7 to 9 among 1,513 Canadians and 1,003 Americans

Most Read