Our History

8 Decades of Community Involvement

This year, the Rotary Club of Whitby celebrates eight decades of community involvement. The Club held its first meeting at the Royal Hotel on Brock Street North in Whitby on February 16, 1933 and followed up with a Charter Night gala on May 2, 1933 at the Ontario Ladies College (now known as Trafalgar Castle School).
A black and white photograph of directors of the Whitby Rotary Club. This photo was taken in front of the Whitby Hotel on Dundas Street West where the Rotary Club had its first meetings. From left to right: Graydon Goodfellow; Arthur Allin (Treasurer); Dr. Graham MacDougall; Dr. George Stevenson (President); George Astley (Secretary); Albert Browning; Ed Bowman. Source: Whitby Public Library

The Club's first service project was assisting with the repair of the cinder tract at the Town Park on Brock Street South. Forty-five years later, in 1979, the Club once again made improvements to the park, transforming it from a baseball bark with two ball diamonds to a leisure park with walkways, benches and a children's play area with splash pad. A few years later, the Club provided a gazebo where musical concerts are still enjoyed during the summer and where countless couples have posed for wedding photos. The park is now known as Rotary Centennial Park.

Over the years, the Club has gone on to support many services and organizations here at home and overseas, particularly those aimed at improving the health and education of young people and seniors. The Club has also played an integral role in improving opportunities for people with disabilities and assisting those with HIV-AIDS. Just last year, the Club also introduced a scholarship speech contest called "You Got Something to Say?".

To reach its goals, the Rotary Club of Whitby has undertaken a variety of fundraisers - or should we say 'fun'-raisers? Today the Club hosts an annual golf tournament, comedy nights, pink mitt and daffodil sales and more. Over time, Rotarians have held pancake breakfasts, a car rally and car draws. The Club has also sold everything from Christmas and Easter hams to hamburgers out of the mobile Rotoburger trailer at fairs.

Aside from raising money, Rotarians also give back to the community with the annual Rotary Day of Giving to offer spring clean-up for seniors, with a float in the Santa Claus Parade and helping with thing such as building a deck and walkway at WindReach Farm, a place for people who have disabilities to enjoy country life. The Club also partnered with the Sunrise Rotary Club to establish a 'green' gym at the Whitby waterfront.

Today, members of the Rotary Club of Whitby still carry on the principles of Rotary as stated in Rotary's 4-Way Test, and they continue to enjoy fun and fellowship as they strive to make our community a better place.