Rotary in Kenora

My Website | My Twitter| My Facebook| My Blog | MyLinks| My Work


The Rotary Club of Kenora

Serving the community since March 20 1920

The History of the Kenora Rotary Club begins at least by October 1919 when Dr. Crawford McCulloch, then governor of the 19th District of the International Association of Rotary Clubs, delegated Joseph A. Fife of Fort Williams to make a survey of Kenora area to ascertain the possibilities of establishing a local Rotary Club.

Joseph A Fife, a cousin to Ashton Thomas Fife of Kenora had lived and worked in Kenora for a period and moved to Fort Williams in 1909. On October 13th 1919 on a second visit to Kenora when he met with a number of Kenora citizens who showed an interest in forming a club. A report was sent to the International Association of Rotary Clubs at Chicago recommending the establishing a Rotary Club in Kenora. In this report Kenora was described as a "most beautiful" community located on the main transcontinental line of famous Canadian Pacific Railway 293 miles from Fort Williams and 133 from Winnipeg, a mecca for tourists and campers, who come there during the summer months to enjoy the exhilarating air, excellent fishing and beautiful scenery. The area boasted three very large flour mills, two large saw mills and a box factory, the latter being one of the largest in the country. The "Great War" had just finished and Fife had no problems recommending the establishment of a Rotary Club in the Kenora area.

For chairman of a committee on organization, he recommended the name of W. G. Cameron, President of Cameron-Heap Company Ltd., Wholesale Grocers.

The first meeting of Kenora Rotary Club was held Tuesday, February 10 1920 at the Tourist Hotel (later renamed the Kenricia). The club continued to meet weekly thereafter. Rotary International website officially issued on the Charter on March 1, 1920. The Rotary Club of Kenora held its charter night on Saturday March 20 1920 when it became Club Charter number 640, District 19. Twenty three members from the Port Arthur and Fort Williams Club and Fourteen from the Winnipeg Club attended the Charter Meeting. Joseph a. Fife who was responsible for the formation of the Club presided at the first part of the program and turned the gavel over his cousin Ashton Thomas fife the new club's Vice President.

Charters members as identified in March 24 1920 Kenora newspaper include

Joseph Thomas Brett            Grain Merchant-Elevators
William George Cameron        Wholesale Grocer
Henry Porter Cooke              Lawyer
Ashton Thomas Fife              Retail Hardware
John Goldie                           Flour Manufacturer
James J. Horn                       CPR- Officer
Charles W. Jackson               Baker
Joseph Johnson                     Druggist
Chris H. McKinnon                  Retail Grocery
Donald "Dan" McLeod             Sawmill
Dr. James Patterson Paton     Physician
Cyril G. Royd                         Banker -CIBC?
Dr. C. N. Schnarr                   Dentist
Melvin Seegmiller                    Life Insurance
George A. Toole                     Estate Manger - Drewry

Of these 15 identified charter members, 10 subsequent became presidents of the club (See Links below for summaries of the  first 100 Rotary Presidents).

A dinner was held the last Tuesday of the year 1920 with over 130 Rotarians and Guests. Those in attendance that night were not recorded but on February 28 1922 many returned. tThe list may be found at

1 Brian McDeodond 42 Elizabeth Shragge 83 Hattie Hook
2 Nellie Scovil 43 Norman Snider 84 Doc Saylor
3 Bill Cameron 44 Gerrie Shragge 85 Marguerite Simpson
4 Frances Horn 45 Frank Kelly 86 Doc Ferguson
5 Jim Horn 46 Jean McLeod 87 Annie Neilson
6 Hattie Cameron 47 Raph Harris 88 Ernest Finch
7 John Goldie 48 Nellie Dowd 89 Violet Langford
8 Lex McLeod 49 Gordon Witts 90 John McLelland
9 Charlie Chadwick 50 Constance Sheffield 91 Annie Finch
10 Florence Johnson 51 Fred Witts 92 Bert Gunne
11 Joe Earngey 52 Honore MacKenzie 93 Margaret Stratton
12 Con. Wilcox 53 Frank McLaughlin 94 Marjorie Baxter
13 Joe Johnson 54 Idella Witts 95 McKinnon
14 Annie Earngey 55 Stanley Derry 96 Cris McKinnon
15 Tom Cherry 56 Lizzie MacKenzie 97 Person Teasdale
16 Lottie Craig 57 Joe Derry 98 Barney Toole
17 Jim Mercer 58 Annie Heenan 99 Ethel Saylor
18 Annie Ross 59 Al Rose 100 Percy Langford
19 Mel Seegmiller 60 Annie Mercer 101 Alice fife
20 Fannie Derry 61 Bill Craig 102 Bob Neilson
21 Joe Ouelette 62 Carrie Cherry 103 Clarence Shragge
22 Frances Ouelette 63 Jim Paton 104 Douglas Hook
23 Bill McLeod 64 Mary Seegmiller 105 Frances Hooper
24 Frances McLeod 65 Dan McLeod 106 Harry Hook
25 Shef Sheffield 66 Alice Dewdney 107 Harry Hook
26 Sarah Witts 67 Hazel Cooke 108 Bob Wilton
27 Charlie Jackson 68 Cyril Royds 109 Eve Vereker
28 Martha Heath 69 Billie Gunne 110 Frank Edwards
29 Percy Williams 70 Syd Wilcox 111 Anna Ferguson
30 Jessie Ward 71 Anna Kinney 112 Doc Dean
31 Ebby Heath 72 Sherman Collins 113 Agnes McLeod
32 Teenie Jackson 73 Evelyn Gunne 114 Jim Hooper
33 Jim Ronan 74 Stanley Stratton 115 Florence Goldie
34 Gerrie Horan 75 Jessie McLeod 116 Herb Carpenter
35 Alex Shragge 76 Charlie McGimsie 117 Olive Paton
36 Nell Bateman 77 Winnie Edwards 118 Jim Kinney
37 John Hanley 78 Howard Rosevear 119 Kathleen Goodwin
38 Marjory Baxter 79 Rouie Collins 120 Donald McIntyre
39 Peason Teasdale 80 Jef Vereker 121 Helen Cameron
40 Ralph Bateman 81 Carrie Wilton 122 Harry Cooke
41 Ralph Bateman 82 Charlie Simpson 123 Emily Chadwick

Note 97 and 39 are identical suggesting it was an unknown guest (possibly wife).

Rotary Way Trail

In 2003 a Kenora Trail Study identified various potential urban recreational trails. In the early part of the 2000, a group of Health and Wellness Providers in the Kenora Area known as the Kenora Health Providers Group met to determine ways to improve the health and wellness of residents of Kenora and the surrounding Area. As a result of a planning exercise a committee was formed was formed that became the Kenora Urban Recreational Trails Committee. This volunteer committee of interested citizens and staff of the City of Kenora provided knowledge and advice to the Council of the City of Kenora regarding trail development. In the early part of 2007, Diane Pelletier, a member of that committee, representing the Kenora Association for Community Living (KACL) brought the idea of an accessible trail to the attention of the the Executive Director of KACL, James Retson. The Executive Director then discussed the idea of KACL spear heading a financial campaign to build an accessible trail to David Lillico, Treasurer of KACL. The inspiration behind the trail was David's children, Patrick and Shawn Lillico, who drove their mobile wheelchairs all over Kenora but had no accessible nature trail. The cost of the trail was then estimated to be $20,000. James, also then President of the Kenora Rotary Club, thought he might be able to get half of this amount from the Rotary Club as the President Project. The amount of $20000 was raised with a year with the assistance of various individuals and Associations including the Retired Teachers of Ontario. The Rotary Way Trail was completed in 2009. Present to cut the ribbon was Patrick and Shawn Lillico (See picture below). The Rotary Way constituted Kenora's first accessible nature trail.

District Conference April 11-12 1958