"A ROTARY CLUB WOULD BE A GOOD THING -
IT WOULD MAKE A REAL TOWN OUT OF CALGARY ." 
  
This prediction of the future was included in a supportive letter to Bill Ardern in 1913 from Bill Pease, who was then the President of the Rotary Club of Toronto.  Not long thereafter in 1914 some sixty prominent Calgary citizens were brought together to become the seventh chartered  Rotary Club in Canada, just nine short years after the creation of Rotary itself in 1905.
 
At the organization meeting held in the Elizabethan Room in the Hudson's Bay store, Jim Ryan became the first President of the Rotary Club of Calgary and Doug Howland the first Secretary-Treasurer.  Many of the other charter members went on to play prominent roles in the development of the Club and the town of Calgary.
 
As predicted, Rotary has made a significant contribution to making Calgary a real town.  It recognized the need to help the young boys whose fathers had gone off to war by creating the Boys Club.  Picnics were held for soldiers' families and hospital services were set up to care for the returning wounded.  To help the battle weary, shipments of food and clothing were sent overseas.  The battle cry of Rotary, "Service Above Self" has been evident in the years of community service undertaken by the Club.  Through Rotary's urging, many early community organizations combined their fund raising "Tag Days" into one major fund raising effort and called it the "Community Chest" which still supports the principle under the name United Way.  Rotary itself gave up tag days and created many other ways to finance projects while enjoying community fellowship.  One of the earliest fellowship activities has been the barbeques during Stampede and the summer period, which over the years has grown to a major annual community function and fund raiser. 
 
Years ago under the Chairmanship of Club member, Hayden Smith, Rotarians and others were instrumental in expanding the base of the Calgary Foundation by creating a million dollar dinner that launched the Foundation into prominence and its position as a strong community advantage. Just a few of the other programs of  the Rotary Club of Calgary have been clean water and ambulances overseas, Stay In School, parks, eyesight saving programs, needy educational facilities, and a commitment to various youth and Group Study exchange programs that will assure the presence of future leaders in many centers around the world, have all been programs of the Rotary Club.  The Rotary Club of Calgary has given especially strong support to Rotary's world wide Polio Plus eradication program.  To assure continued support for many projects, the Club along with other Calgary Rotary clubs, established the multiple Calgary Rotary Clubs Foundation; a trust to which the member Clubs contribute and in turn receive investment income for their on going projects.
 
Rotarians established a formal presence in the development of the city itself.  Rotarian Gordon Townsend is synonymous with the Children's Hospital.  Four Rotarian members have served as Mayor of the City and others as Aldermen.  The Calgary Exhibition and Stampede has had many Presidents from Rotary and many volunteers.  Dr. George Kerby, the founder of Mount Royal College now Mount Royal University with his colleagues from the Institute of Technology and a strong representation from The University of Calgary and the Faculty of Medicine have developed health and educational opportunity for all.
 
Past R.I. Vice President Curly Galbraith, affectionately known as "Mr. Rotary", and other Club members have served on the Board of Directors or as Officers of Rotary International, including Bill Gant, Jeffrey Lydiatt, Glen Peacock, and the dynamic Jim Davidson and Doug Howland R.I. Ambassadors spreading the principles of fellowship and service throughout much of the world.  The Club members have not been the only ones contributing to the community's well-being.  The men and women partners of members have been strong supporters of every project especially at the BBQ's, and, the Rotary Shows that have been an integral part of the Club since the first Minstrel show at the Grande Theatre in 1919. 
 
One of the most significant partnerships of long standing that has benefited both partners, the community, and history, has been the relationship between the Rotary Club of Calgary and the Palliser Hotel.  With the exception of the first few Club organizational meetings in 1913 and 1914 held in Cronn's Restaurant and the Elizabethan Room of the Hudson's Bay Store, the Club chose the prestigious Palliser Hotel for its regular Tuesday noon luncheon meetings and has continued to meet in the Palliser Hotel, now the Fairmont Palliser.  Through Rotary International's "Official Directory" the world has learned that the Palliser is where Rotary meets and where to stay when visiting Calgary.  
 
For more information about the Rotary Club of Calgary contact us by phone or email.