From coast to coast to coast, newly minted Rotary International President Jennifer Jones started her Canada tour on the east coast of Canada, travelling from Point Pellee on Lake Erie to Tuktoyaktuk on the Arctic ocean and then from St. John’s, Newfoundland, all across Canada to arrive in Victoria on July 11th!
And a beautiful arrival it was as Jennifer and Nick, along with Rotary senior leaders Valarie Wafer and Mark, Bryn Styles and Randy and Dean Rohrs and Rhino, landed at 8:30 am on a beautiful sun filled morning and were ferried in style to the lower causeway in front of the Fairmont Empress. A contingent of Rotarians and friends dressed in a sea of red and white greeted Jennifer et al with cheers and banners, and Jennifer spent time talking to the crowd in her own very personal style.
After walking to the Grand Pacific hotel from the ferry, Jennifer spent some time with Rotaractors, Interactors, and Youth Exchange students at an informal coffee chat in the hotel, and then it was off to the Mustard Seed’s Food Distribution Centre, where she and her group were joined by Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin, Member of Parliament Elizabeth May and Victoria Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson – they toured the Centre and then were put to work cleaning rescued food which would later be delivered to food insecure families in Victoria.
A tapas style lunch was prepared by the chef at the Food Distribution Centre using the rescued food received from the many grocery outlets that bring food daily to the Centre – the rack of lamb was a huge hit, as was all the food and desserts.
We then travelled to the Victoria Native Friendship Centre for a discussion with Executive Director Ron Rice and a tour of the facility, then off to the breakwater district to see the Unity Wall Mural Project and the Rotary Welcome Gardens at the entrance to the cruise ship terminal.
Next was a visit to the Terry Fox Memorial at Mile 0, where after hearing the history of the Terry Fox Memorial statue, the group that had gathered, and Jennifer’s group, all went down to the beach to dip their feet in the Pacific Ocean!
Then it was time for the ‘Mix n Mingle with President Jennifer’ at the Cameron Bandshell in Beacon Hill Park. Approximately 200 Rotarians and friends gathered to enjoy fellowship, enjoy entertainment by the BC Youth Fiddle Orchestra and then watch as President Jennifer inducted 14 new members into the family of Rotary – each received a special certificate signed by Jennifer, a theme pin, and an End Polio Now red hat. What an honour to be inducted by the President of Rotary International! The induction ceremony was followed by an inspiring address from Jennifer, and it was plain for all to see that she will be a terrific ambassador for Rotary during her travels around the world this year.
Many thanks to the committee of PDG Gary Hollick, PDG Maureen Fritz-Roberts, PDG Lorna Curtis, DGN Caleb Summerfelt, and Rotarian Joey Vaesen for assisting with all the arrangements, and special thanks to DG Dale Roberts and District 5020 for their financial assistance for this memorable occasion of the visit of the first woman to be named President in the 117 years of the existence of Rotary!