As part of the Club's 50th anniversary celebrations, special honours were announced at a recent luncheon. As well, the Union of Northern Workers made its most appreciated annual donation to the School Snack program, with officials from schools on hand for the event.
The Club decided to mark the event with an advertisement in the Yellowknifer newspaper, to share our story with the city.

President-Elect Celestino Oh said a committee was formed to receive nominations for people or groups that have made a positive contributions to the community and then make a recommendation to the board. The Club made a contribution to the Rotary Foundation of $1,000 US per nominee, an “investment to the idea of goodwill, peace and understanding.”

Lydia Bardak spoke about Bree Denning’s work for several years as executive director of the Yellowknife Women’s Society, which expanded and transformed under her watch to help vulnerable people of all genders in the city. 

Club Sergeant at Arms Lydia Bardak, a NWT Status of Women Council Wise Woman Award winner herself, introduced Bree Denning.


This year, the organization took over the Arnica Inn and made it into a transitional housing facility which will be renamed Spruce Bow.

Denning is now with the GNWT Health and Social Services department, as a senior advisor on problematic substance abuse.

“The kind of social service agency she was able to transform that little Women’s Society into is quite remarkable and she leaves a great legacy,” said Bardak.

Club President Wayne Guy presented a certificate to Denning, who said she wanted to acknowledge the good work done by the people who started the Women’s Society she eventually led. 

She also thanked community activists such as Bardak and Arlene Hache — the latter not a Rotarian, but who is a Member of the Order of Canada — who pushed for social change to help those people who find themselves struggling and in need of help.

“It’s people like (them) who stood up and said ‘No, we have to do something compassionate for people in the community and change how we’re doing things,’ that has been working,” she said.

Bree Denning offers a few words of thanks for the Club honouring her. President-Elect Celestino Oh is at left.


Austin Marshall spoke about the service the UNW’s annual contribution of $15,000 has allowed the Club to provide to city schools with our School Snack Program.

“This year is especially important, because when COVID-19 hit, the town got really strapped for resources for families and kids so that money that you donated helped greatly with that,” he said.

The UNW’s contribution was able to be doubled this year in partnership with the United Way’s Together We Are Strong campaign.

“When you put it all together, it’s wonderful for children. They can eat properly and go to school and learn.”

Austin Marshall speaks about the UNW’s annual contribution to the Club's School Snack Program.


Volunteers from the Club pick up the food each week from the Yellowknife Co-op and deliver it to the participating schools.

After receiving a certificate, Parsons noted the union has been a partner with Rotary for “14 or 15 years and I hope we can be a partner for another 14 or 15 years.”

Parsons offers thanks for the recognition on behalf of his union's membership.


He also thanked Rotarians for the “work they do in making our community better.”

The Club is extremely thankful for the UNW's continued support of this important program we provide to some students in the city in areas of need.

Congratulations to both recipients and thanks for helping us celebrate 50 years in the community.


Enjoy these other photos from the Nov. 19 luncheon at the Explorer Hotel.

Bree Denning listens to Lydia Bardak speak about her contributions to the community.
Club President Way Guy, Bree Denning and Lydia Bardak.
The Club’s long-time education liaison, Muriel Tolley, introduces guests at the luncheon, school principals Jenny Reid and Elizabeth Brace.
School principals Jenny Reid, foreground, and Elizabeth Brace listen to the speeches.

UNW President Todd Parsons listens as Austin Marshall introduces him.
Austin Marshall, left, President Wayne Guy, and UNW President Todd Parsons.
Austin Marshall, left, President Wayne Guy, and UNW President Todd Parsons with the certificate.
Muriel Tolley (from left), Austin Marshall, Elizabeth Brace, Todd Parsons, Wayne Guy and  Jenny Reid pose for a photo.
Wayne Guy and Todd Parsons with the Paul Harris certificate of appreciation.
Todd Parsons and Wayne Guy and this year's School Snack Program contribution cheque.
Story/photos/ad layout by James O'Connor