President Jim Madder chaired an enthusiastic crowd for today's meeting during Flirtation Week.
Special guest welcomed back: Dr. Michel Beaulieu of Lakehead University hosted by Mark Tilbury. Michel has spoken to our group many times in the past.

O Canada today presented by Mary-Anne Mackett - KW Glee Club was superb.  Co-hosts Jim Madder, Mary-Anne Mackett, Matt Villella and John Stephenson.  Land acknowledgement: Jim Madder.

FEATURE PRESENTATION:
 
Patrick Morash, is a Family Rotary Member with spouse Janine Chiasson and the General Manager of Fort William Historical Park. He provided a fine overview today of its history, present status and future plans as a world class "Living History Museum."
  
David Legge introduced Patrick Morash as a lifelong resident of Thunder Bay, married to Janine Chiasson with adult sons, Carter and Hudson.  With an Honours degree in biology and psychology from McMaster, he began as a student at Old Fort William and worked for several years with the MNR as a field technician and biologist.  He joined the Ontario Trillium Foundation as the NW Ontario Program Manager and the Ontario Min. of the Environment as a Great Lakes Advisor and then Assistant Regional Director. In 2015 Patrick was North Region Manager at the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries.  Patrick has been General Manager at Fort William Historical Park as General Manager since February 2021.  Community engagement has always been important to Patrick:  Referee, Thunder Bay Minor Football Association, Volunteer Curling Official - Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling; 2020 Special Olympics Winter Games; 2022 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, Volunteer Team Lead, U18 Baseball World Cup, Past board member and Chair of the Thunder Bay Public Library,  Past Chair, United Way Thunder Bay Provincial Executive Committee.
 
Patrick's history review reminded us of the early fur trade, the significance of the North West Company and Thunder Bay as the primary trans shipment point.  The Fort was opened as a living history museum in 1973, then called Old Fort William.

This an important tourist destination focusing on preserving and teaching artisan skills and importantly, fostering reconciliation and strong friendship bonds with our Indigenous friends through its long connection with the Fort William First Nation. Thousands of "alumni" have worked there over the years.

Over 20,000 historical artifacts are catalogued, relevant to the history of the Fort and fur trade.

Opportunities abound for rebuilding tourism post-Covid including education, Anishnaabe Encampment Revitalization, concerts, wedding and conference facilities.  We are looking forward to cruise line clients and a big 50th Anniversary celebration in 2023 featuring a 39-foot Montreal canoe!

After this engaging presentation, slides and Q&A, Patrick was thanked by Rod Morrison.

ANNOUNCEMENT UPDATES (see Jim Madder's fulsome newsletter preceding the meeting)

1. The February 25th Canada Rotary Club Anniversary dinner is approaching (virtual) in support of End Polio Now
2. Rotary Radio Day sales have ended...with our goal of 700 ads realized. Many many members are to be congratulated. and Dougall Media  has been invaluable of course.
3. Catch the Ace: the 20th week sees a jackpot of over $7000. Support is again encouraged (A. Brulé) A new sponsor has been welcomed (Jodie).
4. Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) is a go (Bob Tomlinson)
5. Wilderness Discovery Camp is a go too! (Bob T will expand)
6. Brian Walmark has made it home from hospital. Reach out!! (Kevin Holloway)
7. Happy Dollars. The old pro Bill Everitt masterminded this fund raiser again.