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The history of Rotary, in Canada, was crucial to the spread of Rotary around the world. Rotary, in its centennial year of 2005, paid little attention to the brave work of James Wheeler Davidson & James Layton Ralston, The Calgary & Halifax Rotarians who carried Rotary “Around the World” or the early clubs from that huge country. This section of the history project was undertaken in 2001 to add to the knowledge of what Canada did for Rotary. Much of this work was contributed by the late PDG James Angus.  

Edited and posted by Jack M. B. Selway, RGHF Founder 13 August 2001. revised 3 July 2010

ROTARY GLOBAL HISTORY SECTION HOME The History of Rotary in Canada HISTORY OUTLINE RI ARCHIVES HISTORY CALENDAR
1910-1912 1913-1915 GOODWILL DONALD MACRAE JIM DAVIDSON JIM RALSTON
FIRST SEVEN CLUBS PRESIDENTS PRESIDENTS’ BIOS CONVENTIONS PEACE AWARD EXTENSION AWARD
CHAIR: PDG JAMES ANGUS DISTRICTS EARLY LEADERS FIRST IN EACH REGION WHAT’S NEW? UPDATES – COMMITTEE
History of Zone 24
Rotary International Presidents from Canada (biographies here)

Rev. E. Leslie Pidgeon 1917

Dr. Crawford McCullough 1921

 John R. Nelson 1933

Arthur Lagueux 1950

Wilfrid J. Wilkinson 2007

Rotary International Conventions held in Canada

Histories of the Canadian Conventions (more)

Convention home pages below:

Toronto 1924

Harris’ Message to the first convention in Canada.

Toronto 1942

Toronto 1964

Montreal 1975

Toronto 1983

Calgary 1996

Montreal 2010 (Booklet Prepared for R.I. Convention, Montreal, 2010)

 

Read all of the convention histories

Find all the Canadian District histories at districthistory.org and at 5010 5040 5050 5060 5080 5360 5370 5550 5580 6290 6330 6380 6400 7010 7040 7070 7080 7090 7790 7810 7820 7850
The seven Canadian “First 100” Clubs

Zone 22

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7070 Toronto

5040 Vancouver

7820 Halifax

7090 Hamilton

7040 Montreal

5020 Victoria

 

55

61

81

82

85

90

 

1 March 1913

1 April 1913

1 August 1913

1 August 1913

1 October 1913

1 January 1914

* Not chartered until 13 Apr 1912  *Made Rotary International

The advancement of international understanding, goodwill and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.�  -The Fourth Object of Rotary initially composed by Donald MacRae.</style=”font-size:>

<style=”font-size: 9pt”=””> 1910-1912 plus a 1914 report from The Rotarian and photos of early leaders

 

1913-1915 history

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<style=”font-size: 9pt”=”” color=”#800000″> James Wheeler Davidson, James Layton Ralston, and Donald MacRae</style=”font-size:>

The Calgary & Halifax Rotarians who carried Rotary “Around the World”

<style=”font-size: 9pt”=”” color=”#800000″><style=”font-size: 9pt”=””> The story of how one Canadian Learn more about former RI VP Jim Davidson, from RC of Calgary who was asked in 1928 to “strengthen the slender chain of clubs between Europe and Japan.”</style=”font-size:>

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Read about Col. James Layton Ralston, (left) also Rotary’s commissioner Donald MacRae, a driving force being “service” in Rotary. Also listed under www.earlyleaders.org

Also see the Zone 22 Peace Award

Some Canadian Achievements and Landmarks in Rotary

Winnipeg Rotary Club, Manitoba, has the distinction of being the Club that made Rotary international.

It was, thus, both natural and appropriate that Walter Clubb, President of the Winnipeg Club was given the honor to propose the change of name of our organization from the National to the International Association of Rotary Clubs at the Duluth Convention in 1912. Duluth also allowed for one vice-president of the association representing Canada.

The Winnipeg Club would also give Rotary its first Canadian International President in the Rev E. Leslie Pidgeon (1917-18). Crawford McCullough of Fort William, Ontario followed in 1921-22. In 1933-34 Montreal Rotary Club’s John Nelson served as President of Rotary International.

Canadian Rotarians Donald McRae and Charlie Burchell contributed greatly to the Rotary Constitution. Burchell was a founder member of Halifax Rotary Club, Nova Scotia and he would also become a Rotary International 3rd Vice-President 1925-6. McRae, District Governor 1917-18, was Dean of the Dalhousie Law School and Chairman of the incoming Committee on the Constitution and By-laws as appointed by President Estes (‘Pete’) Snedecor. These two lawyers helped draft the Fourth Object covering Peace, Goodwill and World Understanding that was accepted at the 1922 Rotary Convention in Los Angeles.

As 1960/61 President-elect Nitish C. Laharry said at the Tokyo Convention, this was  “The moment we forget International in Rotary, we may as well forget Rotary itself”. In 1955, RI President Herbert J Taylor wrote a letter of thanks to McRae for his work describing it as “that most important milestone in the History”.

Rotary as a Canadian national movement never really took off. One explanation derives from the first ever district conference (unofficial) held on February 21st 1914 between the Pacific North West Clubs of Seattle, Tacoma, Portland and Spokane and their British Columbia neighbors of Vancouver and Victoria. These clubs had a link in that they all derived from their mother club – Seattle Rotary Club.

This link was of fundamental importance as, when in 1915, at the San Francisco Convention, districts were introduced, Vancouver and Victoria were placed along with their Canadian colleagues in a West/ Prairie Canadian District (District 18) encompassing British Columbia, Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Vancouver and Victoria did not wish to leave the fellowship they had established with their American neighbors and successfully were re-united with the Pacific North West Rotary Clubs. Thus, the first International District was formed.

Today, the district system from Ontario to British Columbia naturally forms Canada-USA districts running North to South rather than simply adopting a nationalist approach.  Examples include District 6330 and 6400 covering both Michigan USA and Ontario, Canada. District 5020 covers both the Province of British Columbia and Washington State. District 7090 encompasses both New York State and Ontario. Canadian and American Rotarians are naturally the best of friends.

Perhaps the roots to such friendship derive from  1924 when Bruce Richardson, Chairman of the Winnipeg Club’s Program Committee joined forces with Minnesota Rotary Clubs to hold a meeting devoted to “International Friendship and Goodwill”. Eleven U.S. and seven Canadian Clubs met. These became an annual event with President Emeritus Paul Harris attending in 1929.

In 1922, at the LA Convention, Canadian Clubs asked for the creation of a Canadian Advisory Committee. The committee was not a replica of the British territorial unit but a less formal gathering. Section 6 helped define its purpose: – “Any matter of policy exclusively national to Canadian Clubs or Canadian Rotary shall be first referred to the Committee herein, for consideration and their recommendation, that the Board of Rotary International may be guided in their actions by the said recommendations.”

Source –
Rotary in Canada : 75 Years of Service Above Self

Calum Thomson

RIBI and RI History of Districts

 

Winnipeg and the International Goodwill Weekend From the December 2010/January 2011 issue of “Canada History.”