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 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

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Just Posted

Victoria-Swan Lake MLA Rob Fleming moves to the role of transportation minister in the NDP’s new cabinet. (B.C. government file photo)
Vancouver Island MLAs claim key roles in new cabinet

Key ministries headed by veteran and rookie Island MLAs in Horgan’s new team

Ladysmith’s 1st Avenue will be lit up until January 15. (Cole Schisler photo)
Ladysmith’s 1st Avenue all aglow

Although the tradition Light Up this year was cancelled, folks can still enjoy the holiday lights

Christmas will look a bit different in Cumberland this year, not only because of COVID restrictions but due to changes from BC Hydro about hanging decorations on the poles. Record file photo
Snowflakes left out in the cold for Island town

Holiday season tradition a no-go for Cumberland’s power poles

Karl Ablack, chair of the Port Renfrew Recovery Task Force, says visitors should steer clear of the community after the second wave of COVID has begun to hit across the province. (Black Press Media file photo)
Port Renfrew, Pacheedaht First Nation asks visitors to steer clear of community again

Tight-knit community of 400 has yet to report single case of COVID

The old home at 785 Island Rd. is coming down as the developer was unable to find a feasible business case to save it. (Black Press Media File Photo)
With no takers to move old Oak Bay home, teardown begins

‘We tried a last hurrah,’ developer says

Penny Hart is emotional outside the Saanich Police Department as she pleads for helpt to find her son Sean Hart last seen Nov. 6 at a health institution in Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: Mother of missing Saanich man begs public to help find her son

Sean Hart last seen leaving Saanich mental health facility Nov. 6

Police in Nanaimo are looking for a suspect who wore a black-and-white striped hoodie and rode a yellow mountain bike when he allegedly stole three children’s backpacks from a daycare facility. (Photo submitted)
VIDEO: Thief steals children’s backpacks from Nanaimo daycare

Suspect rode a yellow mountain bike and made off with backpacks hanging on fence

The Klahoose First Nation village on Cortes Island is under lockdown until further notice due to a positive COVID-19 test. Photo courtesy Kevin Peacey.
Cortes Island First Nation community locked down due to positive COVID-19 test

Klahoose First Nation has had one positive test, one other potential case

North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney has spoken out about some veterans losing their Dimished Earning Capacity income. (Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror photo)
Blaney pens letter to minister about veteran supports

Concerned about veterans losing some income

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

No face-offs until at least Dec. 8 after the BCHL shuts down pre-sesason play. (Citizen file)
BCHL cancels remainder of the pre-season

Island teams see their exhibition season cut short

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

B.C. Premier John Horgan, a Star Trek fan, can’t resist a Vulcan salute as he takes the oath of office for a second term in Victoria, Nov. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
Horgan names 20-member cabinet with same pandemic team

New faces in education, finance, economic recovery

Most Read