Our History

In 1910, Rotary became International with the founding of the Rotary Club of Winnipeg. The Rotary Club of Toronto was started in 1913 and soon new Clubs spread from it. To the east the Rotary Club of Oshawa was started in 1920, Port Hope in 1922, Bowmanville in 1924, Whitby in 1933. The Rotary Club of Toronto Leaside started in 1940.
The Rotary Club of Pickering was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Whitby. It was Chartered on January 27, 1942 at the Ontario Ladies College in Whitby, as a new Club in District 168 of Rotary International. In 1951, the District number changed to 247 and by 1973, it was re-numbered to 707. It changed again in 1991 to District 7070 where is appears to have settled.
There were 25 Chartered members of the Club on Jan.27, 1942.
The Rotary Club of Pickering initially met every Monday evening for dinner at 6:30pm. On May 14, 1991, it became a morning Club and now meets every Tuesday at 7:15am. The current meeting location is at Chartwell City Centre.
Women were not accepted as members in the Club untill 1988/89. In 1989, the Club by-laws were changed to allow women to join the Club, a decision that has helped the Rotary Clubs around the world to grow and become stronger.
Community Services made up a great part of the Club work. Ross Irwin headed a blood donor's clinic during the war years. Around 1946 a Rotary Park was purchased on Lincoln Street in Pickering Village. An open air rink was built to serve the community for hockey and skating for several years. It was later moved to Village Park where the present rink stands.
The Rotary Club of Pickering sponsored the First of July celebrations including parades and a fare. It sponsored the Pickering Rotary Youth Band, supported the Ontario Society of Crippled Children, which later changed its name to the Easter Seals Society, dropping the word crippled, which was politically incorrect.    
The Club has published a weekly bulletin, called ROTATOOTER, detailing Club activities and announcements. It was started by Doug Roberts as a "print" copy and distributed at Club meetings every week. ROTATOOTER still continues, appearing every week on the Club website, thanks to Ricardo Gomez and Afsar Naqvi.
Founded in 1987 by David Stone, the Pickering Rotary Music Festival has become a fixture for the musicians in the Durham Region and the Greater Toronto Area. It attracts about 1,000 participants who do individual performances in piano, brass, strings, vocal and speech competitions. First place winners are requested to perform at the Stars of the Festival competition. Some performers may be eligible for Provincial and National Competitions, based on recommendation from the Adjudicators. The Music Festival still continues and is now in its 25th year. This year it will start on Feb.22, 2012, Chaired by David Green.
In 1994, Tom Sears and David Speed organised the first Run The Lake event to raise funds for the Ajax Pickering Hospital. In 1995, the Rotary Club of Ajax joined the event to help bring more volunteers. This 5km and 10km race at the Rotary Park in Ajax attracts several hundred participants of all ages every year. It continues to be held every year for the last 18 years and this year it will take place on Sat. June 9, 2012.
Since 2006, the Club has been selling tickets at the Delta Bingo Hall in Pickering to raise funds for the Club. Strict guidelines from the Ontario License and Gaming Corporation and the City of Pickering are to be followed to determine the eligibility of charities to receive funds raised from bingo ticket sales.
In 2008, the Rotary Club of Pickering and the Rotary Club of Ajax joined together to start the Rotary Ribfest at the Esplanade Park by the City Hall in Pickering. It takes place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday over the first weekend of June every year and is the biggest outdoor event in Pickering and Ajax. There are professional ribbers with names like Big Daddy, Billy Bones, Hawgs Gone Wild, etc., live music on stage by some of the most popular names, carnival ride for kids, games, ethnic and traditional food, this family event has proved to be a blast. Past attendance and number of ribbers are as follows:
Year                          Attendance                               Ribbers
2008                            32,000                                       8
2009                            52,000                                       9
2010                            69,000                                      10
2011                            75,000                                      11
Money raised are all distributed to local charities.