Photo by Ian Williams, Rotary Club of Nanaimo.

On Thursday evening, members of the five Nanaimo area Rotary clubs, together with guests, gathered to celebrate the 109th anniversary of the founding of Rotary. It was 1905, in Chicago, that a young lawyer named Paul Harris, recently moved to the bustling city, brought three friends together to form the first Rotary Club. His goal was to create a circle of friendship, with those who shared his high ethical standards. They quickly realized that a small group of talented, motivated people can accomplish amazing things, and Rotary's commitment to service was born.

In a few short years, Rotary Clubs sprang up across the United States and into Canada, and within 16 years had clubs on six continents. Rotary is a worldwide organization of business and professional people that provides humanitarian service, encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, and helps build goodwill and peace in the world. Approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 31,000 Rotary clubs located in 166 countries.

The Rotary Club of Nanaimo was formed in 1920, and over the years included many of the city's "movers and shakers" in its membership. It took 52 years before the next club, Nanaimo North was formed, and only 16 years later, in a burst of expansion, three more clubs arose: Lantzville (1988), Nanaimo Daybreak (1995), and Nanaimo Oceanside (1995).

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