History of our Club

The Estaminet Restaurant, opened in 1919. Now the location of Emma’s Back Porch and the Water Street Cooker.

The Burlington Lakeshore Rotary Club was chartered on Oct 27th, 1972 at the Estaminet Restaurant. This is where the Club of just 23 members would meet until a brief foray at the Holiday Inn and finally to their present location at the Art Gallery of Burlington.

The first or “Charter” members of the Rotary Club of Burlington Lakeshore (RCBL) included John Morris the Club’s first President (who would later become District Governor of Rotary District 7080), Jim Singleton and Orie Gilmore from the Board of Education and Ken Skerrett who subsequently became Halton Police Chief.
These men represented a core group of Past Presidents of the Rotary Burlington Lakeshore (RBL) and as such, they were able to launch the new club with a running start. Jim Bridle, a lawyer and one of the Charter members in 1972 continues as a member of today’s Club having served as President on two occasions.
Jim Bridle (right) with member Paul Kadlick.

Since its inception, the Club has grown and today 67 people meet together, work on projects and truly make a difference to many people’s lives in Burlington, Ontario.

The Rotary Club of Burlington Lakeshore (RCBL) is now known as Rotary Burlington Lakeshore (RBL).

Rotary Burlington Lakeshore’s largest money-raising event is Canada’s Largest Ribfest (or “Rotary Ribfest”) which is held each year on Labour Day weekend in Spencer Smith Park. In 2015 Ribfest celebrated its’ 20th anniversary and during those 20 years the RBL has been able to support: Joseph Brant Hospital, Habitat for Humanity, Rolling Horse, Salvation Army, Sew on Fire, Camisole Project, MS Residence, Easter Seals, Burlington Emergency Flood Fund, to name just a few. For more details, check out our Community Service page.

Rotary Burlington Lakeshore is also big on youth projects too and annually offers 10 academic awards, 4 sports awards, and 1 Post-Grad award, giving annual awards totaling a staggering $50,000. Find out more about these on our youth page. We also support the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) program and Leadership skills for exceptional local students and run a Youth Exchange Program where we send one lucky local student to a foreign country for a year of amazing experiences.

If you would like to help us make a difference, please contact our Membership Director who would be happy to invite you for lunch to meet our members. If you are a visiting Rotarian we would love to have you join us for lunch so you can share your Rotary story with us.

Want to join in on the fun? Contact us to learn more about being a Rotarian!

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