About Our Club

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Our History

First Decade: 1928 – 1937

March 28, 1928

The start of decades of service; club chartered with 28 members. Club off to a prompt community service project developing Fresh Air Camp – Boundary Bay for underprivileged children.

1929 – First bulletin published. 1937 (ongoing) titled “Sock-eye”; Always had a punch to its material.

1932 – Fund raising event, Beach Carnival ($500)

1934 – Sponsored first Chilliwack club (expanded to three); Fund raising event, Auto shows ($1,240)

The club developed the Semiahmoo Camp near White Rock . For 21 years, this camp provided loving care to 3336 underpriledged children and 749 blind persons. For a two week vacation, Rotarians provided transportation. The cost was a meager 94¢ per day. Under the loving care of Mrs. MacGregor, the guests went home clean, polite, happy and (in total) 15,500 pounds heavier. When Mrs. MacGregor moved on, the camp was turned over to the Legion in 1955 and remains available for Rotary Fellowship events.

1937 – Providing reading material, unemployment camps and food supplies to Prairie provinces hit by drought. Sponsored juvenile lacrosse team. First fellowship event – Bowling league. Meeting held at Legion, cost 50¢. Hands on project, tree planting – Fresh Air Camp.


Second Decade: 1938 – 1947

1939 – Semiahmoo camp received electric power.

1941 – Luncheon meetings moved to Russell Hotel.

1943, 1944 – Rotarians built tables, benches and caretaker’s residence.

1945 – Special visitor at camp was Major Jack Mahony V.C.


1940-1943 – Theatre party($550), First Ice Carnival.

1941 – The famous Rotary Barrel had its first run, raising $25,000

Funds raised this decade: $45,000 ($33,000 from barrel).


Mostly related to supporting Canadian soldiers. Westminster House soldiers recreation centre; cigarette fund; overseas parcel fund and cheer fund.

1946 – Club furnished two rooms at the Salvation Army Buchanan Lodge; sponsored Figure Skating club.

Of Interest

1940 – members asked to stand at attention for National Anthem; club sponsors/supports Peace Arch erection for visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

1947 – Rotary founder Paul Harris passed away;

Memorial Foundation Fund established, New Westminster 100% Club.

Sight to Have Seen

Rotarians riding horses down Columbia Street to promote Gymkhana.

1945 – District 101 split into 3 districts.

1946 – Co-host with Vancouver, District Conference

Third Decade: 1948 – 1957

Historical Firsts for the Club

1948 – Jim Agar completes 20 years of perfect attendance.

Ralph MacPherson first member achieving Senior Active status.

1949 – 1950 – F.H. “Toby” Jackson serves as District Governor

Affluent Times

Members charter plane to Victoria District Conference.

Fund Raising

Rotary Barrel continues major source ($35,000;

Other: Turkey show, Walter Follies, Orange Drive.

Funds raised this decade: $45,000.


Continued to support under privileged and sponsorships.

1949 flood victims hosted at Camp; George Derby Home Veterans given outings; Christmas hampers; furnishings for seniors and C.N.I.B. centre.


Minor Lacrosse, Softball Association, Legion Band,

1949 – Needy Boys given Y.M.C.A. memberships. Royal Columbian Hospital furnish ward.

Of Interest

Initiation fees increase $10.00, support Foundation 200%, club dues increased to $40.00

1949 – Club hosts District Assembly at Harrison.

1957 – Fellowship “Crib, Bridge, Poker” Social Club.

1957 – New Zealand exchange team visit.

Fourth Decade: 1958 – 1967

Banner Decade for Club

1959 – member T.E. “Tommy” Morgan – Mr. Rotary Bonspiel – installed as District Governor.

1961 – Club sponsored Rotary Club of Annacis Island.

1965 – Club received Paul Harris award for McLean Park Scout camp project.

1966 – Club sponsored Rotary Club of Coquitlam.

Fund Raising

Reported were Bargain Fair; Sunday Night movies

Project “Operation Bookworm” produced 10 tons of books for distribution through Rotary Malaysia.


Mclean Park Scout camp; Organ to Seaman’s Mission; Queens Park stone entrance gates; $2,500 towards fountain at Civic Centennial Complex; $2,000 towards Workshop for Handicapped.

Of Interest

1963 – Club hosted Golden Jubilee District Conference.

1963 – International Exchange with sister city in Japan.

1964 Club presented Maple Leaf Flag to Bellingham Club; Club 600% Foundation Club.

Fifth Decade: 1968 – 1977

Monumental Decade

1968-1971 – Planning, development and opening on June 24th, 1971 of Rotary Tower subsidized housing complex on Clute Street.

1972 – Start of Club participation in Youth Exchange (ongoing).

1976 – Start of City Market Bingo.

1978 – March 12th Club commemorates “Golden Anniversary”

Fund Raising

Market Bingo yields $73,000; Walk-a-thon for Tower, $16,000; Bargain Fair, $2,200.

Fund raising this decade: $100,000.00


Rotary Tower: 101 units, 15 stories, 113 tenants.

Save the Children fund continues; Support for “Operations Eyesight” in India continues; Summer games pool timing equipment ($6,000); Support Orphan Fund, Carol Ship; Queens Park hospital Cascade Fountain ($7,200); Bookworm.

Of Interest

Inter-Club visits – Chilliwack, Sedro; Host G.S.E. Team, District 109; Host “Up with People” group; Sock-eye receives district award; Red Cross Award for “Most Blood Given” by a service club in 1974; Help Salvation Army kettles; Club 2200% Foundation Club.

Sixth Decade: 1978 – 1987

A decade of many major events in the advancement of Rotary International and services provided by the club. Club honoured to have fellow Rotarian Don F. McKenzie serve as District Governor.

1986 – R.I. launched Polio Plus (R. Westaway club rep.)

Drafted bylaws to have ladies in rotary optional.

1980 – New Westminster Foundation Fund developed

75th R.I. anniversary project.

1983 – Established prestigious Stew Graham academic award of $1,150; Established Douglas College Trust Fund.

1984 – Adventure in Citizenship.

1986 – End of Era, Royal City Market Bingo ends (suitable wake) June 28, 1974 (net $400,000).

Fund Raising

Bingo and Casino Nights major sources of funds raised:

$212,800 carry-over from 5th decade was $160,000.

Total available: $372,800.

Projects – $364000 dispersed

Hospitals $94,500; Education $20,000; Community Charities $47,000; Other community $110,000; R.I. $57,500; New Westminster Foundation $35,000.

Major Items

Hospitals: St. Mary’s Argon-Keyptom Laser $8,000; Arthroscope Shaver System $9,300; (R.C.) Kidney Foundation $10,000; Telemetry System $10,000.


Education: Douglas College Trust Fund $17,000;

Equipment $17,000.

Community: Queens Park Spray Pool $28,000; Grimston Park $9,000.

Other: Salvation Army Vancouver $7,000; Davon Project Phillippines $7,000.

Of Interest

1978 – Club hosts district Conference;

1987 District split to 5040, 5050; Senior members labelled “Old Dogs”; Chris Brown received 50 year Rotarian Certificate; Club sponsored and manned float for Christmas Hyack Parade; Member Stew Graham writing history Douglas College; Rick Pearce becomes annual Santa; Fellowship sponsorship Larry Tumka, Perdue University; Dr. Semessa to Fiji; Several members honoured by their community and associate peers: C. Brown, C. Mackie, Envoy Stevenson, A, deLa Motte, W. Hill, S. Morin, John and Bernice Snook, L. Rivers, L. Burkholder, I. Stewart; 2800% Foundation club.

Seventh Decade: 1988 – 1997

“Challenge and Change”

Decade of major achievements and major challenges with restraints to service club’s resulting from change – in early 1990’s of soaring economy to the late 1990’s of a stressed economy, reduced corporate participation and business personnel having increased demands on their time – all combined with reduced government services resulting in increased demands for community and charitable funding projects.

The Challenge

Overall club membership is dropping. However, Rotary has grown 50% in New Westminster since we sponsored the Royal City Rotary Club of New Westminster in 1991.

Decade Highlights

1990 – Club incorporated.

1991 – Club sponsors Royal City Club; club goes co-educational with first woman member Fay Marley-Clarke. By 1998, we have 7 women members.

1992 – Peer Mediation and Conflict Resolution programs developed at NWSS club received B.C. School Superintendent’s Award.

1993 – Club honoured to have fellow Rotarian Irwin Stewart serve as District Governor; New Westminster Funds (interest) available for community projects; Bingo sessions reduced to 25; Stew Graham scholarships increased to $4,000.

1995 – District 5040 Best Bulletin Award; George Goode Legacy for Youth Exchange; Howay school playground “Hands On” project.

1996 – Zimbabwe Hearing Project.

1997 – Youth Exchange becomes “joint adventure” with R.C. Club; GSE participants – 1997 Kyle Uno, Australia; 1997 Moira McLean, England; Involvement Rotary World Help Network;

1998 – Rotoract Club chartered February 15th, 1998;70th anniversary Dinner, February 28th, 1998. Archie Miller as speaker.

Fund Raising

This decade $550,000; Bingo down $50,000 to $30,000 annually offset by interest from New Westminster Foundation Fund. Bingo sessions and receipts dropped by 50% (providing manpower also a major challenge). Funds lost partially offset by New Westminster Foundation Fund (1992) and potential income from Theatre night.


This decade $560,000. Hospitals $200,000; Bursaries $100,000; Hydrotherapy pool $35,000; Life Line Systems $28,000; Douglas College $33,000; Two specialty buses $35,000; Parks / School Playgrounds and Gazebo in Queens Park Rose Garden $70,000.

Into the Eighth Decade: 1998 – 2006

This Club enters this decade with major achievements: our First woman President – Mary Lyons, and our 5th and 6th District Govenors – Dave Kirk, 2000-2001 and Del Paterson, 2002-2003.

The club faces two challenges:

1.Membership development and new member retention.

2.Fund raising: replace Bingo with activity that has broad appeal to members and also fosters fellowship.

Commemorative Dates

March 28, 2003 – Club’s 75th anniversary Gala Dinner

February 2005 – Rotary’s International’s 100th anniversary.


  1. Youth Exchange
  2. R.Y.L.A. “Youth Leadership”
  3. Adventure in Citizenship, Ottawa
  4. Bursaries / Scholarships
  5. Group Study Exchange
  6. Zimbabwe Hearing Project
  7. Fellowship – field trips
  8. Rotary World Help Network
  9. World Community Service Projects