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.