Posted by Paul Elsley, Kingston
April and May were busy months for Rotary in Kingston as our Centennial celebrations ramp up.  We held our official birthday party, prepared our Butterfly Garden and assisted our community with the distribution of Rapid Test Kits.
Our official birthday celebration occurred on April 1st marking the anniversary date of our charter (Note: Our club was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Ottawa). The celebration began with a congratulatory message from RI President Nominee Jennifer Jones. We invited guests celebrating their centenaries from Wellington, New Zealand, Peterborough and Brockville. They shared their projects and plans and congratulated us on our own efforts. We also received congratulations from DG Hadi and DGE Fay who both praised the Kingston clubs' activities this year. The scene shifted to downtown Kingston where a small group unveiled a plaque commemorating our very first meeting at the (then) Frontenac Hotel. Club Historian Paul Van Nest recounted the events of the inaugural meeting.
This was followed by club member Bob Mallette, our longest serving Rotarian, discussing some of the key partnerships and projects that have occurred during our first 100 years. Our fellowship committee leaders, David Ibbott and Darlene Clement, delivered birthday cupcakes to our members and local musician, Miss Emily, led our group in singing Happy Birthday. It was a wonderful event and much fun was had by all. 
Because of our assistance with the Mass Immunization Clinic, the Chamber of Commerce reached out to Kingston Rotarians to help with the distribution of Rapid Test Kits to local businesses. This program is designed to protect employees from outbreaks and is a key element in our attempts to again flatten the COVID-19 curve. Rotarians came to the rescue once again and within 48 hours we had 26 volunteers occupying all of the needed positions.
Over the holiday weekend in May, a few Rotarians came out to Rotary Park to finish the installation of the Butterfly Garden there. The park was officially opened in 1981 under the leadership of the Kingston – Frontenac Rotary club. It serves as a popular destination for families in the west end of the city. Last fall, a number of Rotarians and Rotaractors constructed the framework for the garden and another group met on Saturday to fill it with plants that will attract hundreds of Monarch butterflies after their 3,000 mile journey from Mexico and California. Researchers estimate that there has been a 90% decline in the Monarch population due mostly to the loss of habitats and milkweed plants. The Rotary Monarch Butterfly Garden is designed with many of their favourite plants and is our attempt to sustain the Monarch population and our environment.
Our Centennial celebrations culminate on June 25 with the Centennial celebration at 7:00 pm and all are invited to this Zoom event. We also hope to launch our remaining Centennial projects at RKY camp, Camp Merrywood, Loughborough PS and No. 9 Gardens.
If you are interested in following our celebrations, please go to: Kingston Rotary Centennial