Recent Stories

Three Years in Nepal Changed His Life

At 22, Willis Rudy felt adrift: his career in music seemed at a dead-end, he was struggling financially and wasn't sure what to do next.  So, of course, he went to Nepal.  Willis shared some of the highlights of his new book, My Life in Nepal, 1958 - 1961 with us.
Rotary Toronto West was privileged to welcome professional engineer Sean Cragg to speak to us about the history of the Avro Arrow, one of Canada's greatest aeronautics achievements. Sean described the Arrow as setting the gold medal standard for its era.   Initially designed in 1953 by A.V. Roe Canada, it took 4 years of work to bring it to roll-out status, which occurred on October 4, 1957.  The period during which the Arrow was being designed, built, tested and launched constituted a "perfect storm" of design issues and politics.  The original Rolls Royce engine proved to have problems so a new engine was designed by Orenda, with a 5:1 thrust ratio.  This made it one of the most powerful engines for its time and enabled the plane to fly at speeds exceeding Mach 1.98.

Restoring Connections In Vulnerable Families

Jessica Reid understands a child's heartbreak when a parent is absent.  Her own experience with this and her subsequent joy at being reunited with her dad, Derek Reid, is what led them to found FEAT in 2011, now a registered charity with a challenging mandate, as encapsulated by the acronym in their name.  Derek was visibly moved as he told us about how FEAT for Children of Incarcerated Parents was founded and why it is committed to tackling these challenges day by day.

Building Connections To Prevent Gun Violence

Gun violence exists in a complex social context that draws on other determinants of health such as poverty, hunger and lack of access to Toronto's civic resources.  Toronto Police Services representative Isabelle Cotton and entertainment mogul Farley Flex spoke about a project to create a cell phone app in connection with the iIMPACT Wraparound initiative to help families and youth who are vulnerable to gun violence find support.  

Using hemp to fight climate change

Green house gas emissions contribute to global warming and climate change.  The air pollution they cause is associated with increases in dementia and respiratory problems.  The issues connected with green house gases are costing the economy billions of dollars.
Imagine being so moved to act on these issues that you would put your career in law on hold to devote yourself fully to this cause - using hemp as the medium for change.  That's what Akeem Gardner did, and he told us why.
Steve Rutledge, a Rotarian who knows how to make a difference visited us this month to give us an update on the work of bringing clean water to villages in Laos. One of Rotary Foundation’s Areas of Focus is Providing Clean Water and Steve works energetically towards this goal.
2019 Update:  In the past year, AAVIL has aided more than 2,700 people living in remote areas in Laos with improved access to clean water and sanitary facilities.  The provision of items to support feminine hygiene during menstruation is an additional outreach initiative in this area that is having a tremendous impact.  Read on to learn more about this vitally important project.

Changing Lives with Kindness and Spiritual Wholeness

The Scott Mission has been a fixture in Toronto for over 78 years, providing practical and spiritual support to vulnerable people.  Alex Ng told us about how he became involved with the Scott Mission, and what their efforts have accomplished.

Rotary HIP Supports Indigenous Youth Through Education

Canada's First Nations peoples are a special resource who have faced many challenges.  When Rotarians asked how we could help, the clear and compelling response was "through education."  John Currie told his story of a personal awakening to the needs of the indigenous people his community, and how this led to the formation of Rotary HIP.

Rotary and The Toronto Argonauts On Board for Youth Leadership

Rotary Clubs in the GTA are partnering with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. (MLSE) and the Toronto Argonauts to provide youth leadership training combined with the enjoyment of professional football.

Bringing Fresh Water to Al'Qaa, Lebanon

Water and sanitation projects are central to Rotary International's mission.  For landlocked areas in the middle east, such as Al'Qaa (Elkaa, El Kaa), Lebanon, accessing fresh water for drinking and other everyday needs can be a huge challenge.  Wasim Jarrah, from the Rotary Club of Newmarket, told us about the club's ongoing project to provide assistance.

The War Amps Put the Future in Focus for Young and Old 

2018 was the 100th anniversary of the War Amps organization and its efforts to have amputees help amputees to adapt to the challenges associated with amputation.  The War Amps programs have expanded and changed during its tenure, and it looks forward to continuing its mission in a country the founding World War I veterans would scarcely recognize.

Solar Lights Shine in the Night for the Displaced 

The Etobicoke branch of the Canadian Federation of University Women was looking for a project to mark their 100th anniversary and chose to bring light to displaced people living in primitive camps in Ethiopia through their connections with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations.  

"Teach a mother, change the world"

The Amarok Society educates about 3,000 students in Bangladesh by teaching mothers how to teach children. Amarok Society's programs target the poorest women in the slums of Bangladesh, women for whom a job paying $1 per day would be prized. Educating them to teach Bangladeshi, English and mathematics to children raises the literacy and numeracy levels of the entire community.  We recently received a letter from the mother we sponsor, Sathi, updating us on her progress.

Bridging Gaps and Building Awareness Through Community Policing

Advocating for a heightened police presence in afflicted neighbourhoods.  Educating the public about trends in crimes that could affect them.  Promoting awareness of the Community Police Liaison Committee.  Sex trafficking in Etobicoke.  Sylvia Kwan tolds us about all this and much more.

Ensuring Food Security For Growing Populations

Harold Rudy is an expert on various aspects of agribusiness and conservation.  He dished the dirt about the importance of soil health/conservation, science and technology, and people's habits related to diet and food management to highlight the challenges in global food security.
Harold spent his formative years on a Mennonite family farm in Waterloo County as one of ten siblings, including RTW member Willis Rudy, who taught Harold how to drive a tractor at the early age of about 6 years.  So began Harold's fascination with agriculture.
Harold attended the University of Guelph, where he earned a B. Sc. (Agriculture) and a M. Sc. (Rural Planning and Development) as the foundation for a thirty year career devoted to promoting the environmental stewardship programs of the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA).  He has authored a book called The Soil Fixers which covers some of his experiences working with farmers and agricultural specialists on issues related to soil protection, conservation, and sustainability.
Harold continues to live on the family farm that was originally established in 1929.  Even after 90 years of production, it continues to be actively farmed by one of Harold's neighbours.

ECI Interact Club improves the lives of girls internationally through Days For Girls

RTW sponsors the ECI Interact Club and provides financial and practical support to Days For Girls.
Over 30 Interact students of ECI volunteered to stay after classes to fabricate kits for the local Toronto chapter of the international Days for Girls organization. Thousands of kits are sent to schools in SE Asia and Africa where it is common for young girls to miss out on several days of important schooling each month due to menstruation.
Photo credits: John Stevenson

Interact Clubs spread Christmas cheer to elementary students in the Philippines

RTW supports the efforts of the Lakeshore Foundation's Phillip Barker to provide much needed school supplies to Baybay Central School in the Philippines under the guise of gifts from Santa every December.  This creates an ideal opportunity for Interactors to share the joy of a Canadian-style Christmas and give Santa some much needed assistance responding to the hundreds of letters the Baybay students write.
  Photo credit: Mary Gaudet,

RTW Hosts Sold Out Scotch Nosing Event

The Rotary Club of Toronto West held it's annual Scotch Nosing fundraiser at the Lambton Golf and Country Club on the evening of November 29th. The event had sold-out quickly and lived up to its own superlative standards, featuring a five course gourmet meal, each course paired with a premium scotch whiskey. What was on the menu? Read more to find out!

Youth Power Was In Full Force at the Kids Against Hunger Food Packing Event

RTW  and the Rotary Club of Etobicoke support the efforts of Kids Against Hunger to provide nourishing food to families in Canada and around the world.  On November 24th, Etobicoke Rotary member Gillian Dugas had everything organized in superlative fashion, supported by husband Andre and fellow club members Greg Dobson, Lynda Ryder, Hugh Williams, Iosef Ciosa and Ron Miller.
Attending from RTW were President Stephen Thiele, Doug Williams and wife Jo, David Crack, Sarah D'Aversa, Susan McCoy with visiting Rotarian Lauren Buss from the Barrie Huronia Rotary Club, Janet McKenzie, Mike Newediuk, John Muto and club photographer John Stevenson.
What made this event really special though was the attendance of droves of young people from Air Cadet Squadron 700 and the Division 22 Police Rovers.
And, as usual, the Salvation Army on Kipling were our gracious and accommodating hosts.
45 Members of the "700 David Hornell VC Squadron" Air CadetsMembers of the 22 Division Police Rovers with Iosif Ciosa

Olympic Medalist Sami Jo Small Shares the Secret of Teamwork

RTW was pleased to learn about teamwork from someone who has devoted herself to it in the pursuit of Olympic excellence.  As a winner of 2 gold medals and a silver one won representing Canada in women's hockey at three Olympic Games, Sami cultivated the habit of dedication to her sport at an age when some of us would barely be able to keep our elbows out of our breakfast cereal...

Making Memories, Building Futures

RTW was pleased to award a sponsorship cheque to Jennifer Jegede to support the after-school program operated by Inner City Outreach, a registered charity that connects youth in the Jane and Finch area of Toronto with opportunities to build skills and a vision of what life could offer.

Taking Action to Preserve Brain Health

With the growing prevalence of conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, many people are concerned about how to keep what they've got.  On August 9th, Registered Holistic Nutritionist Catherine Roe spoke to us about the modifiable risk factors for brain health and shared tips on how to stay sharp.

"Transforming lives through education in Colima, Mexico"

Project Amigo began 34 years ago as a result of an experience of Rotarian Ted Rose, who became an accidental tourist in the vicinity of Colima and nearby Cofradia when he took the wrong bus when he was looking for a volcano in the area, Volcan di Colima.  He was so struck by the kindness and generosity of the people of the village, who were  impoverished, that he was moved to repay their kindness in a typically Rotarian way.  After much thought and discussion with local people, he decided to provide assistance to educate the children of this area.  Edmonton area Rotarian Merle Taylor gave an aspiring account of Project Amigo's history and ongoing activities.

"Teach a mother, change the world"

The Amarok Society educates about 3,000 students in Bangladesh by teaching mothers how to teach children. Amarok Society's programs target the poorest women in the slums of Bangladesh, women for whom a job paying $1 per day would be prized. Educating them to teach Bangladeshi, English and mathematics to children raises the literacy and numeracy levels of the entire community.

#10 Because our future is bright 

Rotaract brings together people ages 18 to 30 in universities and communities worldwide to organize service activities, develop leadership and professional skills, and have fun. If you’ve ever been to a Rotaract meeting or volunteered at RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards), you’ve already glimpsed one of the most vibrant parts of Rotary. Our programs for the 20-something and younger set are designed to mentor young leaders and bring generations together.