History of the Park

One of our most satisfying projects over the years has been our contribution to the establishment of Rotary Park. This major project was initiated in the late 1970's when through the efforts of the Club members we were able to transform a vacant piece of land in the Township into a park which will be a lasting source of enjoyment to the residents not only of the Township but to all the people of the greater Kingston area. This project focused the activities of the Club for a number of years and involved not only lengthy negotiations with Government agencies and a heavy financial commitment of our limited resources but also the sweat and hard physical effort of all the Club members in clearing the land of surplus trees and bushes, building the graveled walkways, laying the sod and clearing the beach area of accumulated debris etc. Since the land was our "private" property during the several years of the planning and construction period we also were able to have a pint of ale and many hours of good fellowship without running afoul of government liquor laws!

Although all the Club members contributed to the success of the venture, special mention should be made of the efforts of Martin Reid, Joe Watts, Bliss Kelly and Ken Jeffery. Martin was one of the driving forces behind the Club undertaking and completing the project and a plaque in his honour is set in the fireplace of the Park pavilion. Joe Watts was Park Project Chairman throughout the planning and construction phases and acted as an "on site" foreman during the construction itself. Bliss Kelly was his right hand man and he and Joe were on site for countless hours during the construction period in order to ensure that things were proceeding on schedule.

Ken Jeffery was also a key player in the Rotary Park project. When Ken Jeffery became Club President in 1980 the Park was at the critical "fish or cut bait" stage. Through Ken's strong leadership, final details were ironed out, interim financing was arranged with Don Mowatt's help and Joe Watts was authorized to proceed full tilt with the final site preparation and construction phases of the project. Such items included design and construction of the pavilion, ordering and installation of the play equipment etc. Ken never asked the members to do anything he wasn't prepared to do himself - so he personally laid a lot of sod!

The official opening was held on June 18, 1981, and was indeed a gala affair! Thanks to Club member Tony Doherty, it was highlighted by the presence of Wintario, who held one of their weekly draws in the Park. It was an enthusiastic crowd of dignitaries and area residents who knew they had a fine new park even if they weren't lucky enough to become millionaires in the bargain. To add to the festivities the Club had set up a beer tent for the adults and provided hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream and other goodies for the children. The sweet smell of success was in the air that day and long into the evening! Some pictorial mementos of this historic occasion are on the display board.

In the years immediately following the opening, Rotary Park was the site of annual community picnics hosted by the Club. A highlight of the picnics was the Bathtub races in which local dignitaries and guests from out of town raced their high speed tubs around the designated course in Collins Bay. Flora Macdonald was almost convinced to give up her day job and take up boat racing! Scenes from some of these races are also included on the display board.

In total, the Club successfully raised about $125,000 for the completion of Rotary Park. These funds included those directly contributed from the Club as well as matching grants from agencies such as Wintario.

Rotary Park
Kingston Rotary Clubs get together annually to clean up Rotary Park in the spring. Here is the proud 2018 crew enjoying a sugar fix with Tim Horton donuts after their hard work. 
The 2021 Rotary Foundation Walk on May 15, 2021, with a limited number of Rotarians because of the COVID restrictions.
We held our first live meeting in almost 18 months on September 1, 2021 at the park.
It gave us the chance to officially induct our two newest members, Josie Grady and Randy Beck.
22 September 2021 - Rotarians and friends spent the day "in the rain" while planting 21 mature trees at the Rotary Park. These were the last of the 100 trees planted during the Centenary Year of Rotary in Kingston. It was wet but rewarding.