Rotary Club

Rotary Club of North Bay, Ontario

The Rotary Club of North Bay is a Rotary Club in Ontario, Canada. It was formed in 1923.

Formation

The North Bay Club was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Toronto. William Merton Neal, CPR general superintendent for Algoma District was the driving force and it was Neal who encouraged a small group of leading citizens to form a Rotary club in North Bay. Neal was a former member of the Toronto club and accepted their invitation to start a club. Neal formed a nucleus that included J.O. McKerrow, T.J. Patton, Mayor John H. McDonald and Dr Robert Dudley. These gentlemen invited other leading citizens to join the new club.

First Meeting

The first official meeting of the club took place May 17, 1923. In co-operation with Toronto Rotarians, the 25 founders organized a charter night. The new club charter was presented to the founding members at an evening dinner meeting held at the Colgan-Liddle hall June 6, 1923. About 15 Toronto Rotarians and the past president of the Hamilton Rotary Club joined in the celebration and Rotarian Littlefield from Toronto presented the charter to Dr Robert Dudley, North Bay’s first president.

Community Work

The members immediately made their presence felt in the community. An early project was to organize boys’ baseball and hockey with many of the members participating as officials and mentors.

In 1926, Rotary initiated its flagship program when members decided to assist “crippled children” in the North Bay area. The club members became aware of disabled youth who needed assistance and looked after their treatment in a clinic that was established by the club. Dr R I Harris of Toronto, a specialist in the field, offered to take charge of the clinics. Once a year, children with badly deformed physical conditions were cared for at the clinic by Rotarians who volunteered to take charge of one child each. This undertaking involved the total care and financial assistance for the child. Countless North Bay families benefited from this critically needed service. If treatment was unavailable locally, Rotarians arranged for treatment at Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. A Rotarian assumed responsibility to either accompany the child to Toronto or arrange with a Toronto Rotarian to meet the train and deliver the ailing child to the hospital. Those clinics that Dr Harris and his medical colleagues operated, continued until the mid-1980s. By that time, North Bay had attracted medical specialists capable of administering to the needs of disabled youth. Rotary’s work did not stop. The Rotary Club of North Bay continues to financially assist disabled children and is proud of its 80-year commitment to assist and support disabled youth.

The Rotary Club of North Bay has enthusiastically supported many community projects over the years. The club owns Camp Tillicum on the south shore of Lake Nipissing. Since 1949, the club has operated summer activities and made the camp available for children who might not otherwise enjoy a camping and summer recreation experience. The club currently partners with the YMCA who operate a summer program at Tillicum. The club has financially supported Canadore College and Nipissing University. The largest funding activity in the club’s history was a $700,000 donation to establish a therapeutic pool at the new YMCA facility.

A current project is a commitment to raise $750,000 for a new hospital and children’s treatment centre at the proposed hospital in North Bay. This a joint venture with the Nipissing Rotary club. In co-operation with FM 105 radio and the Rogers ownership, the Rotary Club of North Bay sponsors a radio marathon each spring to raise funds for disabled youth. This is a club effort that is organized together with the Nipissing Association for Disabled Youth. Rotary is committed to its work in North Bay and area. The 125 members of the Rotary Club of North Bay are grateful to local residents who support their programs that enable the club to continue its local service programs.

Meetings

The Rotary Club of North Bay, ON, Canada meets at noon on Monday at the Royal Canadian Legion located at First Avenue West between Ferguson and Fraser Streets.

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