Building international fellowship through common interests.
Rotary Club of Nanaimo
Rotary Fellowships Month
In addition to building friendships locally, members can build international friendships through Rotary Fellowships. Fellowships are international groups that share a common passion from photography and travel to conservation and music - there are over 90 to choose from! Being part of a fellowship is a fun way to make friends around the world, explore a hobby or profession, and enhance your Rotary experience. Learn more about Rotary Fellowships here.
Vendor Cart for SEIA
Thank you to club member Yvan Gosselin for building a beautiful vendor cart for the Society for Equity, Inclusion, and Advocacy (SEIA)! The manager, Nicole Bennett, was extremely happy with the finished product and was very impressed by this contribution from our club. The cart will be used to help disadvantaged women gain knowledge about running a business and becoming more self-sufficient.
All materials used for the construction were recycled materials with the exception of some hardware. Thank you also to John Shillabeer who coordinated the project through the Community Partnerships Committee. To learn more about SEIA, visit their website.
Member Spotlight
Meet club member Samantha Letourneau!
Q. What inspires you to be a Rotarian and what have you learned?
A. The fulfilling feeling of giving back and contributing to society is unparalleled. We are all doing good work in the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment, well-being and happiness. "Small Acts when multiplied by millions of people can transform the world," Howard Zinn. To me, this quote sums it up!
Q. Do you feel that you have had any personal growth being a Rotarian?
A. Yes indeed. I appreciate being given opportunities to be involved on committees, to share moments of inspiration - that was one of my favorite moments so far. Also, to share a bit more about who I am to a larger, diverse community of professionals and community-based members. All of this has benefited and added to my overall personal growth.
Q. There are many ways to contribute as a Rotarian where do you most feel comfortable and where do you feel you have made the most difference?
A. I have really enjoyed working with the Interact Club with Joan. And big thanks to Joan for inviting me to be part of this. They are a  very sweet and dedicated group of youth, and I look forward to working with them more in the fall when we can meet in person. I am hoping that in September the Interact Club can use the meeting space at Literacy Central Vancouver Island and make it a youth hub for them. It is so great to see their leadership skills grow through their involvement in Rotary.
Donation Thank You Cards
We were delighted to receive these wonderful cards from Fairview Elementary students. Our club donated $500 for new sports equipment for the school.
June is Pride Month
Part of the mission of the Rotary Club of Nanaimo is to provide our members and guests with a unique and inclusive fellowship that is without judgement of gender, race or background. We join others in recognizing this important month and supporting inclusiveness in our community.
Meeting Notes May 28, 2021
After a lively and excited discussion about the news of second vaccinations, President Bob Janes welcomed us all, and particularly our guests Robyn Kemp (voted and now joining as a new member), Ryan Butler (has submitted an application) and Linda Allan.
O Canada was performed by a choir from KW Glee, one of Canada’s top youth pop choirs based in Waterloo. A very impressive performance.


Tracy Makarenko gave us an Inspiration on smiling. When talking to a person with a mask, she could not tell how they were feeling. Smiling is important, it improves the mood, both the giver and the recipient. Smiling has so many emotional benefits – at both ends. Keep smiling! Monday, May 31 is National Smile Day (who knew!). If wearing a mask, smile with your eyes.


President Bob reminded us that next Friday, June 4 will be the District 5020 Virtual Conference. Most members indicated that they would be logging on at 5:30 p.m.
On Saturday from 9 to noon, the T-shirts for the Virtual Tour will be available at the Book Sale sorting room.
Rotary International President-elect Jennifer Jones is expected to attend our Zoom meeting on June 25 as we celebrate the end of our Virtual Journey across Canada.
Nanaimo Daybreak has a shredding and bottle drive at NNTC this Saturday, May 29.
The Nanaimo Rotaract Club is transitioning from a university club to a community club. This should expand their reach and provide longer term stability. They will require one or more of our club members to participate with them in their functions and events. Please let Bob know if you wish to volunteer.
Debbie Narver announced that we had received last minute approval from District 5020 for our grant application. Nanaimo Foodshare is rapidly buying the equipment for their new outdoor classroom by the funding deadline on Monday.
Joyce Smith reported that Teams A B, C and D will all probably be in St. John’s by the end of the weekend. The tour will be extended by a walkabout through the Maritimes for the next month, before ending up again in St. John’s by June 25.
Dawn Hankins noted that the next social event will be the Installation of our new President Laurie Bienert and the Board on June 18. Tracy Makarenko will become the chair of the Fellowship Committee as Dawn will become a Director.
Jason Bradley announced a District wide presentation for Youth Exchange on Tuesday, June 2 for all youth in Grade 9 or 10 interested in the 2023/23 year. Please pass on the message to anyone we know.  There will be another similar event in September. to register.
The Interact Club last official meeting for this year will be on June 10.


Ross White introduced Keith McFarlane as our speaker. Keith’s grandparents immigrated in 1890 and he was born and raised in Nanaimo; attended Park Avenue, John Barsby and NDSS. He worked for his father at McFarlane Travel and eventually inherited the business. His sports were skiing, racquetball and his passion - golf.
He met Wendy in Asia in November 1978 and they were married in May 1979. Keith noted that he and Wendy spent only 21 days together in the 6-months courtship. That was enough for Wendy to decide. They have two daughters; one works at RBC and the other is a probation officer. They have a 2 ½ year old grandson.
His passions in Rotary are Fellowship and International Service. Ross particularly thanked Keith for all the work he and Wendy are doing for the book sale. Keith is currently vice-president and is Club President Nominee for 2022-23.
When he was asked to speak to us, he thought “What could he say?”. Same job for 48 years, in the Rotary Club for nearly 39 years, and has lived in the Departure Bay area since age 18.
He focused on the changes in our club over the last 39 years. He was introduced to Rotary at age 12 or 13 when his father was Secretary of the club. Each week his dad would type up the COGS newsletter on Gestetner skins and Keith would run off 100 copies, dry them, fold, stamp and mail them. All for $1.00 per week pocket money. Further recollections included visiting Joe Garner’s ranch (where John Heisterman now lives) for fundraising events, cutting Christmas trees, and shooting the shotgun for the Turkey Shoot cards.
He joined the club in 1982 with classification of Travel Agent, sponsored by Allan McKeachie. In those days there could only be one member with each classification. His dad wanted him to join for business opportunities, but Keith wanted much more. 
He had always lived in Nanaimo, and wanted to give something back to the community. When he joined the club, it was a real “old boys club”; there was cigarettes, cigars and pipes all around and a bar. It was a club for the movers and shakers in Nanaimo (not that our current members are not movers and shakers), these were the politicians, judges, business leaders. Each person had their own table place at lunch, so you couldn’t just sit in any chair.
He remembered two key votes; the first was a vote to ban smoking at the weekly meetings; after the smoke cleared on the vote, there was no further smoking at any meeting. A couple of members resigned because of that. The second key vote was in January 1992 to allow women to join the club. It was a controversial deal in those days. On March 6, 1992, Maryanne Vantour, Lucie Gosselin, Elizabeth Hay and Janeane McGannon (Coutu) were inducted. Thank goodness for that motion and the inclusion of ladies in our club ever since.
Another key action was the Rotary Bowl project soon after Keith joined. The club committed over $60,000, which was the price of a house in those days. By diligent fundraising, the amount was collected, and with much hands-on labour the project was completed. Keith remembers digging for the drainage pipes. It is a real jewel in Nanaimo.
The book sale has been a huge project for our club. We used to collect junk and hold a garage sale in Harewood Mall, and for that tremendous effort we made about $4,000. We also had other fundraisers, including the Mustang draw, another huge effort to sell all those tickets and a limited final amount made. 
Hats off to the whole book sale committee members over the many years. Keith remembered collecting all the VIU exam tables from the gym and bringing them to the Mall on Yvan Gosselin’s trailer, then returning them again after each sale. Eventually we have bought enough of our own tables to host the book sale.
It has been a great ride for 39 years. He has been on the Fellowship Committee all these years, and has been vice-President five times. He remembers selling chocolate dipped frozen bananas on Commercial Street during a hot Bathtub Weekend – no refunds even if they melted too quickly! Also, the raising of Bob Fawdry’s 30ft flagpole at Dufferin Place – climbing up on tables piled high, leaning ladders, long lines to hoist the flagpole and all supervised by engineers! 
The President’s Breakfast was hosted by Bill and Zorka Horman for over 100 guests. Setting up the tables, cooking the sausages, bacon and pancakes and lots of maple syrup, butter and coffee. The annual Christmas children’s party at Bowen Park has always been fun, with Santa Claus giving out gifts to each child.
He noted that Janeane is the only Rotarian to have come to meetings pregnant; her son Matt was made an honorary Paul Harris Fellow.
When Ross White was District Governor the Annual Conference was held in Nanaimo. The committee was led by Brian Kirkhope and everyone worked hard to make this a successful event. There were sessions in the Port Theater, the Coast Bastion and the gala was in the Curling Club decorated as a tropical beach!
We used to host “Old Timers Day,” organised by Bill Horman. Older pioneer members of the community were invited to lunch and were encouraged to reminisce about the past, some long-standing rivalries came with them each time.
He also clearly remembers President Bob running 100 laps of our Rotary Bowl as a fundraiser ($12,000) and as part of the Club’s 100th anniversary celebrations. His most enduring recollection is of the friendships made in and through our Rotary Club. He has really enjoyed this opportunity to speak to the club.
President Bob hadn’t realised that Keith went to high school; Keith remembers Grade 8 as his best three years at school!
Debbie Narver asked about the Rotary Wheel with a missing piece at Bowen Park. Although it is before his time, Keith noted that it is to remember Bill Horman’s father who died of a heart attack while helping to build Bowen Park.
David Woodward thanked Keith for the notes on history. Really glad that they banned smoking and thanks for opening our club to women.
Ross White remembers many of these events, including the Gestetner machines and the “Old timers” lunches which were great fun for all.
Yvan Gosselin thanked Keith for all his contribution over 39 years; you are certainly not a RINO (Rotarian In Name Only). His and Wendy’s contributions have always been appreciated. We look forward to his presidency.


Dave Hammond originally made the motion to allow women into our club only because Ian Williams was absent and Dave was chairing the meeting. Dave also remembers the day Matt Coutu received his Paul Harris, because that was when Dave and Duncan Gray received their first ones. He was also pleased that after 39 years, Keith had agreed to be President of the Club.
Thoughts about 1982 when Keith joined the club; best picture Chariots of Fire, prime minister was Pierre Trudeau, Premier was Bill Bennet and the mayor was Frank Ney.
Wendy Pratt thanked Keith for all the wonderful memories, and what Rotary is all about. Although she may be one of the newer members, it has been a wonderful experience. She has long known of the work of Rotarians because they have always supported Hospice through the years.

Happy Bucks

Kathy Smith is happy to be able to play double pickleball legally now. She is at the court twice a day and would be there more often if she could. She would be delighted to teach anyone how to play, and has all the equipment to lend. In response to President Bob’s simple question, she clarified that there are no pickles involved, it was probably the dog’s name!
Dawn Hankins had a happy $5 for her 96-year-old mum surviving another stroke. Their youngest daughter’s condo is finally finished so she will be moving out again at last.
Paul Manly also thanked Keith. Paul thought Keith’s’ name was “Wendy’s iPad” until he met him at the book sale. Glad that his own brother has finally moved back to Canada with his family after years with the UN in various countries.
Janeane was happy that we can now look forward to meeting socially and in person again, and is looking forward to a book sale in the fall.
Leigh Blaney thanked Keith for reminding her of all the work Rotary has done in the community over the years. Her memory is a bit hazy after time under the tables in the Tally Ho. On a more serious note, how to pay Happy Bucks owing? Bring to the next in-person meeting or e-transfer to the Club Treasurer at

Birthdays & Anniversaries

John Hankins on Monday, Keith on Tuesday. Rebecca and Scott Taylor celebrate 18 years married on Monday.
Brenda celebrates 24 years with the Rotary, Carlene Shaw 4 years, Behzad Forghani Targhi 5 years.
Check out the District 5020 Newsletter to read about our club. Next week’s meeting will feature Dave Hammond and Laurie Bienert. Thanks to everyone that made today’s meeting a success.
Rotary Club Links
There are a number of ways to keep up to date with all the happenings within our Rotary Club. Click on the following links to view photo albums, read about some of our latest projects and to connect socially through Facebook and Instagram! And remember that ClubRunner is also a great resource for members to view a wide variety of club information.
If you have Rotary Club news, photos or videos to share, please email the details to Rebecca Taylor and Denise Wittkofski so they can share through our multiple online channels.
Upcoming Speakers
Jun 04, 2021
Nanaimo Foundation and how Covid has shifted the needs in our community
Jun 11, 2021
What Happening at the Port Theatre
Jun 18, 2021
Installation - President Laurie Bienert
View entire list
Meeting's Responsibilities
June 4, 2021
Wittkofski, Denise
Sergeant at Arms
Hammond, Dave
Introduce Speaker
Connolly, Ken
Thank Speaker
Forghani Targhi, Behzad
Meeting Notes
Anderson, Douglas
June 11, 2021
Woodward, David
Sergeant at Arms
Hammond, Dave
Introduce Speaker
Pratt, Wendy
Thank Speaker
Skeeles, Mila
Meeting Notes
Shillabeer, John
Russell Hampton
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102-2060 Winston Park Drive, Oakville, ON, L6H 5R7