Rotary Club of Niagara-on-the-Lake
The idea of forming a Rotary club that would meet at lunch time in Niagara-on-the Lake was initiated by Dieter Janus, Jim Alexander, Norm Fraser and Ranjit Ahluwalia in the fall of 1993. The first club meetings were held in the downstairs of the Prince of Wales Hotel.
The club was sponsored by the noon hour Rotary Club in Niagara Falls and became a chartered Rotary Club, with 26 members in the spring of 1994 at a gala reception at the Queens Landing Hotel.
The Rotary Club of Niagara-on-the-Lake was immediately active with fundraising for local and international projects. Some of these early fundraising events were held in partnership with the Theatre Beyond Words and involved renting the main theatre at the Shaw Festival for concerts and productions.
The $5000.00 Gift of Life donation, which brought children from third-world countries to North America for heart surgery was the earliest program which the club undertook and is still supporting today.
The Club supported the Easter Seal Program which helped local children with physical disabilities. This has grown over the years, in conjunction with Stefanie Bjorgen into what is now Red Roof Retreat.
The Youth Exchange Program was actively embraced by the Club in 1996 with the first exchange student, Roeland Passier from Holland coming to Niagara-on-the Lake and staying in the homes of local Rotarians. Over the years we have hosted exchange students from all over the world.
Our club in the late 1990′s organized the shipment of over $250,000 of used medical and computer equipment to the Caribbean. This tradition of offering help to third world countries continues today with the donation of funds to projects in Africa and Central America.
Over the years our club has grown to over fifty members. This growth has meant that, along with the help of the community it can undertake large scale fundraisers such as the Canada Day BBQ in the Park, the Christmas Holiday House Tour and the Christmas Choral, and launches new projects regularly.