People of Action
From all the members of Rotary Club of Willowdale. You were an exceptional human being. Miss you a lot!
Latest News:
Rotary Club of Willowdale is proud to have completed building three new classrooms at J. K. Nyerere Primary School. 
The students are happy studying in their new classroom, at their new desks with lights on! 
The students and teachers are very excited, and we are happy to continue with the construction of more classrooms during this summer of 2021.
Rotary Club of Willowdale is very proud of all the great people working on this project's success in Arusha, in Canada and other countries. A special thanks to Fellow Rotarian Margaret with her family and friends, Fellow Rotarian Howard with his family and friends, and all Fellow Rotarian members contributing to this beautiful project. PEOPLE OF ACTION!
Click on this link to make donations to this project.
Rotary Club of Willowdale is proud to have Fellow Rotarian Jobson lead this beautiful computer project for flood affected schools in Kerala, India. Thank you to everybody who made this project a success in Canada, Kerala and around the World.
The first phase is done, and the computers were delivered and received with great celebration!

Club President Notification:

Rotary Club of Willowdale would like to extent it's utmost gratitude for all the great contributions we received in 2020. Because of your kind donation, our projects were successful and made a difference in the life of many in Canada and abroad.

Thank you for contributing to: our Ham & Cheese project benefiting North York Salvation Army, our first Rotary Foundation Virtual Walk, our Food Bank benefiting North York Harvest Food Bank, The Phillips House project at the North York General Hospital, The Arusha School project in Tanzania Africa, The Kerala Schools Project in India -- offering computers to 15 schools in 4 districts, our Gratitude Garden project honouring our front line workers, SMILES benefiting locals and people in the Dominican Republic, and many more projects we are proud of.


Please join or weekly Zoom meeting on Thursdays at 12:30 pm, and at 6:30pm on the last Thursday of the month.

Meeting ID: 817 0871 4166
Passcode: 593698
Joseph Gibbons
Jun 03, 2021 12:30 PM
Historical Perspective of Public Policy and its impact on Race in America
Gerry Francis, R. C. North York
Jun 17, 2021 12:30 PM
EVERYBODY GETS THE BLUES - a history of the Blues in American music
Join our Weekly Zoom meeting on Thursdays at 12:30 PM:
Meeting ID: 897 1020 3405
Passcode: 468311
Feel free to also invite a guest, either it be friend, someone from work, or a family member to our weekly Zoom meetings.
Computer project Phase 1 Completed!
Our Fellow Rotarian Jobson is proud and honoured to lead this project of re-building computer labs in Kerala, India schools which was washed away during the unprecedented flood in 2018. He is happy to announce completion of phase 1. Jobson would like to thank his good friend 
Anil Sankar

who was very instrumental on this idea and Sunil K Zachariah (Past Rotary Governor) for coordinating this project. Thank you to all donors and the Rotary Club of Willowdale, Canada for leading fund raising for this project. A sincere thanks to the Rotary Club of kalamassery and Rajagiri the reach/college of social sciences for executing and effectively administering this project. PEOPLE OF ACTION!
The Gratitude Gardens are in bloom!
If you get a chance to drive by the Philipps House, in Buchan Court and 1333, Sheppard Avenue East, you will see the lovely signs of Spring.
Rotary Club of Willowdale is proud of this beautiful project led by our Fellow Rotarian Heather.
The Gratitude Gardens is a project dedicated to all the frontline workers during this COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2020, we planted outside at the North York General Hospital and at Maddie's Healing Garden located at NYGH's Phillips House.
We are so happy to see the first beautiful flowers, and create in this manner such a nice ambiance for our community. Thank you to everybody that made this possible.
You can still donate to this project by going to our donation page. Click on the donate button on top of our home page or go to the following link:
District Conference June 25-26 
  • Saturday, June 26, 9-noon - the Zoom portion of the weekend.  Register NOW or learn more by clicking here .
  • Saturday, June 26, 1-4pm. Community Engagement a hands-on activity. 
  • Rotary Great Lakes Watershed Cleanup, April 24 - window extended to early June
May Carol Rest in Peace. We will miss you Carol.
Club Information

Welcome to our Club!


Service Above Self

We meet In Person
Thursdays at 12:30 PM
We meet weekly using Zoom
Willowdale, ON
Home Page Stories
JOIN THE ROTARY CLUB OF WILLOWDALE GREAT LAKES WATERSHED CLEANUP TEAM. The more the merrier! Saturday 26th June 14.00 – 17.00 hrs. This will be the final activity of the Rotary year 20/21. Location: East Don Parkland on Cummer where the Don River crosses under the road. Call us and join as a volunteer on our team.
For the first time ever the students of J. K. Nyerere Primary School now have text books for all standards and all subjects thanks to a very generous donor to the Rotary Club of Willowdale. Thank you to this generous soul.
Click on this link to watch video.
Rotary Club of Willowdale is very proud of all the great people working on this project's success in Arusha, in Canada and other countries. A special thanks to Fellow Rotarian Margaret with her family and friends, Fellow Rotarian Howard with his family and friends, and all Fellow Rotarian members contributing to this beautiful project. PEOPLE OF ACTION!
Click on this link to make donations to this project.
Rotary Club of Willowdale's Gratitide Gardens project dedicated to the frontline workers, was featured on CBC Radio One in the Metro Morning show. 
CBC's Mary Wiens interviewed Heather Graeme, the project leader, together with very exited frontline workers. Thank you to everybody for making this project a success. Your donation to continue creating Gratitude Gardens is highly appreciated.
Please visit our donation page on our website.
New Books - Happy Kids!
The students at the J. K. Nyerere Primary School in Arusha, Tanzania, are enjoying their new books donated by the Rotary Club of Willowdale in North York, Ontario, Canada.
This is the first time in the history of the school that there are adequate text books for every subject and every standard/grade. Many thanks to a generous friend of the Rotary Club of Willowdale who made this happen.
Your support is always appreciated. Many thanks to all our friends and all that kindly supports Rotary Club of Willowdale's projects. Many thanks to Riyaz and Margaret for putting together this beautiful video.
Please click on this link to watch the video.
It is the wish of The Rotary Club of Willowdale, that all the frontline workers are smiling and feeling happy with the Gratitude Gardens blooming around their work places in North York. The Covid-19 pandemic brought a lot of hardship and sadness to the World. Our wish is to give hope through nature and feel that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
In the fall of 2020, led by our fellow Rotarian Heather Graeme, the Rotary Club of Willowdale created the Gratitude Gardens in the area of Leslie and Sheppard Avenues, and in the Maddie's Healing Garden at the Phillips House located at North York General Hospital.
Our wish is to bring cheer in the Spring of 2021 and beyond. The idea is to remind us of the dedication of all frontline workers in our community. Bringing cheer to all medical staff and essential workers in these stressful times, is something that is close to our hearts.
Rotary Club of Willowdale, with the help of Rotaract Club of Willowdale, planted narcissus bulbs in the fall of 2020 to bring some colour and cheer to those who have been in the frontline of the pandemic for more than a year. 300 bulbs were planted at Philipps House, part of NYGH. 1200 bulbs were planted at the medical building at 1333, Sheppard Avenue East.
This project was possible from donations made by the community and the Rotary family. All funds raised go back to community projects. Please support this project to show our gratitude.
You can still donate to this beautiful project and help us create more gardens around our community. Please go on our Donation page, and contribute by clicking on General Option and after filling in your details write in the comment box For The Gratitude Gardens. You can also go to this link:
Thanks to The NYGH Hospital Foundation and Northwest Properties for partnering with us in this project.
For the first time ever the students of J. K. Nyerere Primary School now have text books for all standards and all subjects thanks to a very generous donor to the Rotary Club of Willowdale.
Rotary a Club of Willowdale is very proud of all the great people working on this project's success in Arusha, in Canada and many other countries around the World.
Click on the following link to watch the beautiful video made especially for us to enjoy the arrival of the books.

Rotary Club of Willowdale is happy to be part of the Kerala Schools Project in India.

A beautiful project of over $29,000 CAD: Computers for 15 flood affected schools to help rebuild their IT labs.

This project is lead by our fellow Rotarian Jobson Easow. With the help of many kind people in Canada and abroad, this project completed it's first phase by delivering the first computers to the schools that were affected by the devastating floods in Kerala, India.

In 2019 a committee was formed at the Rotary Club of Willowdale in Canada, to start a project to re-build computer labs in 15 schools in Kerala. A fundraising event was organized and got commitment/support from 7 clubs. Many meetings were conducted between Willowdale and Indian Rotary club. The project applied for RI grant but was not successful, and the team decided to do this project in 3 phases. We are also thankful that in 2020 Kerala Rotary partner up with Rajagiri outreach in India, and the first schools are well equipped now to start rebuilding their IT labs. The Fundraising event in Canada in 2019, organized by Rotary Club of Willowdale's Jobson Easow, raised $29,000 CA. The Kalamassery Rotary Club added $2,000 US to the project. in early 2021, the first phase of this 3 part project was delivered to the first 8 schools in Kerala.


This IT lab infrastructure support project will allow 15 Kerala schools to get connected again.


Kerala is a small coastal state at the southern tip of India and was an idyllic tourist paradise until it was ravaged by unprecedented floods. The fury and ferocity of the rain and resulting floods was devastating for Kerala. The last time a flood of this magnitude occurred was in 1924.

The current floods could be described as the ‘flood of the century’ and it claimed almost 500 lives. The floods have caused immeasurable misery and suffering for the people of Kerala and the scale of destruction and devastation in Kerala is massive. Entire villages have been evacuated and bridges, roads and other infrastructure have been completely destroyed. Over a million people were displaced and it will set Kerala back by decades, at least two according to experts. The damage is estimated in the range of USD 6 to 10 billion. More than 25,000 kilometres of roads along with over 200 bridges have been destroyed or damaged, while estimates of the number of houses to be rebuilt vary from 50,000 to 100,000.

Tourism and agriculture sectors in the state have been badly affected. Needless to say, many people have lost their livelihoods. It is estimated that over 3 million people have lost their livelihood. Several medical facilities in the state have been damaged and health authorities are concerned about the risk of communicable diseases as the flood water recedes.

Rotary Club Willowdale (Canada) with the help of Rotary Club Kalamassery (Kerala) had undertaken the initiative to re-build computer labs in 15 schools of 4 districts in 3 phases.

Happy to report that the Phase 1 of this project is completed. The first 8 schools received their IT lab equipment in early 2021. Awesome job everybody!


Winter Issue Feb 2021


This project began by chance when a fellow Rotarian, Margaret Adat, took a family trip to Tanzania in 2007. As a family, they decided to donate to a local school, J.K. Nyerere Primary School. What happened next is a testament to the results people can achieve when they live and follow Service Above Self, one of Rotary’s two mottoes.

Picture: Crowded classrooms, shortage of books

Picture: Semi-completed classrooms

Pictures: Construction currently underway to build additional classroom

The Adat family did donate to J.K. Nyerere Primary School nearly 14 years ago. And the impact that visit had on them inspired them to ask friends, family, colleagues, community members and the Rotary Club of Willowdale to support students, teachers and the infrastructure of a once neglected school.

The impact that our club has made in thousands of students and family’s lives in Arusha is nothing short of incredible. Since 2013, the Rotary Club of Willowdale has raised over $100,000 in support of J.K. Nyerere Primary School. Some recent initiatives include:

· Completing the construction of 3 classrooms due to overcrowding

· Adding another water tank to provide adequate water

· Ongoing repairs, including painting and purchasing supplies (desks, blackboards, etc.)

· Finishing the construction of the teacher’s residence to improve the school’s security

· Feeding students during national examinations (Standard 4 and Standard 7)

During the most recent Standard 7, the entrance examination for secondary school, 99% of students from J.K Nyerere Primary School passed. The school is now ranked 36th in the school district, a leap forward from it’s previous ranking of 69th, and a clear indication that our efforts are making a difference.

Feeding grade 7 students during naTonal examination period.

Rotary Club of Willowdale is very proud of this project and would like to thank our fellow Rotarian Margaret Adat and family for leading this project since 2013 in an extraordinary manner. SERVICE ABOVE SELF!

Enjoy the J.K. Nyerere Primary School in Arusha video, and get inspired to help us keep their students' dreams alive.

Go to our Donate button on our home page and contribute to this beautiful project.


In a kind letter directed to our club's President, the SMILES Foundation recognized our Rotary Club of Willowdale for its contribution in 2020. Our club donated to SMILES Foundation for many years, and we are very proud to be considered a valued partner in their annual projects.
Highlights of Letter from SMILES Foundation to Rotary Club of Willowdale:
I wanted to personally reach out and express our gratitude for your generous donation in 2020. Your support has helped us continue the very important work with the less fortunate in the Dominican Republic. 

We have attached your 2020 Donor Recognition certificate that we hope you will print and proudly display in your office. 

As the world continues to go through unprecedented and challenging times, Smiles Foundation strives to keep up our operations in the Dominican Republic in the midst of the pandemic. 

I hope that together we can continue and make a difference shaping this world into a better place for everyone.  Thank you for your partnership... ...and your invaluable effort to better our humanity.

Director of Donor Relations and Communications
THANK YOU! Jan would be proud.
Over 38 thousand Canadian Dollars was recently presented to North York General Foundation for The Phillips House and Maddie's Healing Garden. A total of $36,165 plus $2,289 was raised, which last amount was directly send by kind people honouring Jan Siegel's wish for her funeral to donate to NYGH Foundation. The funds were raised within various Rotary clubs of district 7070 and private sector. This facility is the home of North York General Hospital's child and adolescent outpatient mental health program. Our beloved Immediate Past President Janis D. Siegel started this project in 2019. Jan passed away in July of 2020 after a courageous fight with cancer. The Phillips House project and the cheque ceremony was dedicated to Janis, honouring her great work and dedication to this project and many others.
In 2019 the Rotary Club of Willowdale, together with Rotary Club of North York and Rotary Club of York, presented this beautiful fundraising project to the Rotary District 7070, and many clubs joined to make this project a reality.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the planned Celebrity Dinner event could not take place on November 6th, 2020. A heartfelt and touching virtual cheque ceremony took place with just a few people outside of The Phillips House and many others from District 7070 joined via Zoom. 
Thank you everybody for helping us with our wonderful new project called The Gratitude Gardens.
This project is dedicated to all the frontline workers during this COVID-19 pandemic.
We had a great start planting outside at the North York General Hospital and at Maddie's Healing Garden located at NYGH's Phillips House. You can still donate to this project by going to our donation page.
Bring a smile to all Frontline Workers during the Pandemic of 2020. The Rotary and Rotaract Clubs of Willowdale will be planting bulbs in the Fall of 2020 to create Gratitude Gardens in the area of Leslie and Sheppard Avenues.
Our wish is to bring cheer in the Spring of 2021 and remind us of the dedication of all Frontline workers in our community. We need your donations now. Please go on our Donation page and contribute by clicking on General Option and after filling in your details write in the comment box For The Gratitude Garden.
Dear Rotarians,

It our pleasure to announce to you that the African region has just been certified wild poliovirus-free.

Rotary members have played an invaluable role in the effort to rid the African region of wild polio. We should be proud of all the hard work that we’ve done to eliminate the wild poliovirus throughout Africa and in nearly every country in the world. 

This progress is the result of a decades-long effort across the 47 countries of the African region. It has involved millions of health workers traveling by foot, boat, bike and bus, innovative strategies to vaccinate children amid conflict and insecurity, and a huge disease surveillance network to test cases of paralysis and check sewage for the virus. 

Over the last two decades, countless Rotary members in countries across the African region and around the world have worked together to raise funds, immunize children, advocate with local and national leaders, and raise awareness about the importance of vaccination, enabling the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) to effectively respond to and stop polio outbreaks. 

This milestone is an incredible public health achievement for Rotary members, the African region, and our GPEI partners, and a huge step forward on the road to global polio eradication. But we still have important work to do in order to eradicate wild polio in the last two endemic countries.

We have faced many challenges in our journey to eradicate polio. But we’ve made remarkable progress, and the polio infrastructure that Rotarians helped build will serve as a lasting legacy that will continue to help protect vulnerable children against other diseases for decades to come.

We are calling on you today to recommit yourselves to ending polio. We need each and every one of you to help finish this fight and continue raising $50 million each year for PolioPlus. The eradication of wild polio in the African region shows us that polio eradication is achievable, and shows how our hard work, partnerships and financial commitment continue to propel us forward, even during a global pandemic.

Thank you for your continued efforts, for achieving a wild polio-free African region, and for remaining committed to fulfilling our promise of a polio-free world.

Holger Knaack, President, Rotary International
K.R. Ravindran, Chair, The Rotary Foundation

Rotary International President Holger Knaack and Nigeria National PolioPlus Chair Dr. Tunji Funsho congratulate Rotarians on eradicating wild polio in the African Region. Watch here.

Rotaract Club of Willowdale names

"Smiles In Action"

their Number One Community Service Project in 2020-21

This article was published in the August 2020 Rotary District 7070 Newsletter

The Rotaract Club of Willowdale decided to make the "Smiles In Action" program their number one Community Services project for 2020/2021 and beyond, as both groups have forged a meaningful partnership for fostering goodwill,  making an impact is our communities and opening doors for opportunities.The Smiles Foundation is a non-profit institution with its seat in Canada, based in the United States and in the Dominican Republic. Their goal is to provide life-enhancing activities, dental care and primary health care education to children in the Dominican Republic, free of charge, as well as to offer underprivileged communities tools to develop and improve their health, environment, and safety through our educational and social enterprise programs. Here area a few images of the new Mobile Clinic in the Dominican Republic.  The clinic was used only a few times before we had to close it due to COVID - 19. 668 children got treated in it and a few thousand family members received primary health care and dental education. 

For more on this organization, please get in touch with Courtney Doldron at the Rotary Club of Willowdale (at

Smiles In Action: 2727 Steeles Avenue West, Suite 301, Toronto, Ontario, M3J 3G9, Canada
Canadian Charitable Organization Registration # 86854 4362 RR0001
T: (416) 739 1237 - - - -

We could all use another tree in our yard, and the Bayview Village Association, along with The Rotary Club of Willowdale and The City of Toronto, is here to help.

A Freeman Maple in all its glory (photo courtesy of Connon Nurseries)

The Neighborhood Tree Giveaway Program, formally known as “Tree for Me,” supports the City of Toronto’s goal of reaching a 40% tree canopy cover by 2050.
​This year’s event will be held on Saturday, October 17, 2020, from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Forest Grove United Church, located at 43 Forest Grove Drive.

The “Neighborhood Tree Giveaway Program” program offers residents a free native tree that is best suited for their planting space and provides reference materials as well as a workshop on proper planting and care. To register go on EventBrite, at the following link.

A few facts about your free tree:
• The City of Toronto and Connon Nurseries provide all trees, which are native to Toronto’s seed zone and suited for our urban environment.
• Trees come in 1-2 gallon buckets and are small enough to carry on the TTC or sit in the back of a car.
• Residents will be limited to two trees (total) per address.
• Species of the trees/shrubs are subject to availability:
Large Trees: Freeman Maple, Ironwood, Hackberry
Medium Trees: Eastern Redbud
Shrubs: Purple Flowering Raspberry, Nannyberry, Service Berry, and Bush Honeysuckle.

Any questions about the program? Contact Sharon Johnson, BVA Environment Committee at


Greetings, fellow Rotarians and Rotaractors!

I am so honored to serve as your president this year. We have important work ahead of us at Rotary, and we are going to have a lot of fun as we do it. 

Last year, we launched our five-year Action Plan to build a stronger future for Rotary. We are working to increase our impact, expand our reach, enhance participant engagement, and increase our ability to adapt. The last several months have shown that we — as Rotarians and Rotaractors — can realize these goals as we forge a new path for the future.

Without question, COVID-19 has posed new and previously unimaginable challenges for Rotary. But within every challenge is perhaps an even greater opportunity. And while I could not have known what lay ahead when I selected my theme for the year, Rotary Opens Opportunities has even greater relevance as we begin our new Rotary year.


I am incredibly inspired by how our members have adapted and responded to COVID-19. This global pandemic has made it difficult for many of our clubs to operate as usual, but we persevered, and over the past few months, I’ve enjoyed connecting with my fellow Rotarians and Rotaractors in a new way: by visiting hundreds of clubs from my home. It’s been fun to attend so many meetings virtually. If you haven’t already, I encourage your club to try an online meeting or add an online component, like hosting a guest speaker from a Rotary or Rotaract club located in a different part of the world.


As we build a stronger future for our organization, it’s good that we are reaching out to new people and introducing them to Rotary. It’s important that our clubs reflect the communities we serve. More diverse voices in our clubs and in our leadership will help Rotary stay in touch with a changing world.

So let’s find every opportunity to show we value each and every member. Let’s seize this moment to build on what we’ve learned, to embrace our new reality, to welcome new faces, and to find additional ways to shine. This is how we will have a continuing impact on the world. And if you need assistance along the way, Rotary offers many resources that can help you reach your goals.

Rotary means different things in different parts of the world, but we are all united by our core values and by The Four-Way Test. Rotary may change, but our values remain constant.

I look forward to hearing about how you’re finding new opportunities to engage and make an impact in your club and community. Rotary Opens Opportunities, both for the people we serve and for ourselves.

Thank you.

Holger Knaack
RI President, 2020-21

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Jun 24, 2021 6:30 PM
6;30 social - 7:00 meeting - 8:00 social
President Chungsen (C. S.) Leung
Jul 08, 2021 12:30 PM
Business/planning meeting
Effion Whyte, R.C. Kingston, Jamaica
Jul 15, 2021 12:30 PM
"Eyes on the Prize"
Stephen Baker
Jul 22, 2021 12:30 PM
Malaria in Columbia
Club Executives & Directors
Past President
Community Service
International Service
Foundation Chair
Membership Chair
Fundraising Chair
Club Administration
Assistant Treasurer
Public Relations
Birthdays & Anniversaries
Member Birthdays:
  • Vincent C. Walter
    June 17
Spouse/Partner Birthdays:
  • Carol Barney
    June 4
  • Maria Jobson
    June 8
  • Shawn Tahririha
    James Carpenter
    June 26
Join Date:
  • Howard Back
    June 5, 1980
    41 years
  • Heather Graeme
    June 7, 2019
    2 years
  • Laurie Back
    June 15, 2015
    6 years
  • Kenneth Prentice
    June 19, 2012
    9 years