25th Anniversary Year

Door two

A brief history of the Rotary Club of St. Albert

The Rotary Club of St. Albert marked twenty five years of service in 2015.  Larry Johnson and Duane Gibb recruited thirty five members* to become chartered as the Rotary Club of St. Albert on March 21, 1990.  After serving as the first Rotary Club President, Larry went on to become District Governor of Rotary International.  

Right from the start, the club encouraged diversity of occupation, age, and gender (six charter members were female). Today up to 20% of the members are female.  Rotary Interact Clubs were developed for high schools. Today the Rotary Club of St. Albert, with a membership of 68 has an average age younger than most service clubs, continues to encourage participation with fun, spirit and song.   It has been a success, donating over a half million dollars to various projects in St. Albert.  

The first fundraising event was held at the former Club Mocombo.  It was an auction of new and used items on a Saturday afternoon.  It raised $7500.  The most recent auction was a Black Tie Dinner with entertainment which raised $80,000.  Every dollar raised is used for service.  Club members pay for all their own social meetings and events.

It’s the Rotary Music Festival that is its single largest time commitment on an annual basis.  As Alan Murdock, Chair reveals, that with 250 volunteers and 700 performances it inspires “a passion for the performing arts in St. Albert and area youth.” * *

Rotary International includes over 32,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. The Youth Exchange program has welcomed international students to spend a year in Canada.  Students have arrived from countries like Sweden in 1992 and Sardinia, Italy in 2015, and a local student has recently travelled to Thailand. The Rotary Club of St. Albert sent polio serum and a refrigerator to Papua New Guinea for Rotary International’s Fight to End Polio.  It funded water wells development in Zambia, and a secondary school for girls called Girls on the Move in Malawi.

The club’s ongoing relationship with the Salvation Army Church began when ten families were referred as needing food hampers.  Rotarians shopped, filled hampers and delivered them to the homes.  The club donated $50,000 to help fund the building of the gym and kitchen in the Salvation Army Church. Coats for kids, emergency housing, and the Kettle program followed.  The notion of “a hand up” rather than “a hand out” was followed.  The Reaching Out program provides funding through application from junior high schools allowing worthy students in the arts, sports, and extracurricular activities to participate.  A nominal amount is offered for such things as fees, lessons or equipment to help those who might otherwise not be able to pursue their talent.

Following their motto “service above self,” Rotarians have worked with agencies such as the St. Albert Food Bank and Community Village, donating $50,000.  They developed and helped fund playgrounds such as Leo Nickerson Elementary and contributed to Saint City Rotary’s project, Rotary Centennial Park. The replica of the heritage St. Albert Train Station received $100,000.  Some contributions take the form of hands-on work:  building rose trellis frames and setting flagstones at St. Albert Botanic Park and construction at Habitat for Humanity. They helped with the Art in Public Places program, started the Flag fund-raiser, and sponsor the Teacher of the Month award.

Following its goal to use valuable funds to help causes which affect large numbers, the club has supported group projects including the Youth Community Centre, Anti-Bullying Seminars at Paul Kane, BAM (Building Assets and Memories), Big Brothers of Edmonton and Area, Big Lake Conservation, Canadian Authors of Children’s Literature Tour, D.A.R.E., Star Literacy, Healing Garden, Hope Project, Suicide Prevention Hot Line and Victim Services.

On June 26, 2015, the Rotary Club of St. Albert celebrated “Opening Doors for 25 Years,” a gala event at the Glendale Golf and Country Club.

Charter Members

  • Baird, Bill
  • Ball, John
  • Barr, Stephen
  • Briskie, Bob
  • Brunelle, Raymonde
  • Buchanan, Denny
  • Buskie, Mark
  • Chalifoux, Paul
  • Chartrand, Marcel
  • Chipuer, Terry
  • Cyr, Bob
  • Davidson, Kent
  • Gibb, Duane
  • Harmeson, Marjorie
  • Hoadley, Bruce
  • Hodgson, Marjorie
  • Johnson, Larry
  • Khan, Ash
  • Klippenstein, Bruce
  • Lirondelle, Grace
  • Madsen, Moe
  • Mitchell, Jim
  • Moquin, John
  • Murray, Bob
  • North, Bob
  • Peabody, Dick
  • Ratchinsky, Anita
  • Schroder, Charles
  • Shadlyn, Farrel
  • Sneddon, Craig
  • Stewart, Don
  • Turnbull, Rod
  • Walker, Tony
  • Welsh, Barry
  • Whitford, Marie

Charter member moment:

Watch St Albert Mayor Nolan Crouse celebrate Charter Member Anita Ratchinsky’s 80th Birthday and review her legacy in the community.