Cadzow Park
In 1926, the beautiful property known as ‘Cadzow Park’ came on the market and with the financial support of charter member John G. Lind of the St. Marys Cement Plant and contributions from many individuals and other community organizations, the property was purchased then equipped with a children’s swimming pool and playground equipment. On July 7, 1926 the club handed over Cadzow Park to the town of St. Marys for the recreation and enjoyment of the community. Our first community service project, Cadzow Park, was completed when the children’s swimming pool was officially opened in August 1926.
Parkview East and West Seniors' Complex
The Rotary Club of St. Marys has either initiated and/or completed many projects over the last 90 years but the most impressive of all is Parkview East and West seniors’ complex. One Rotarian, the late Bill Douglas approached the club membership as he felt that it was a shame that there were no housing for seniors in St. Marys. It was becoming more and more difficult for seniors to stay in their homes and they were forced to seek accommodations elsewhere away from familiar surroundings. Bill saw the need and our club agreed with his concerns. Four now deceased Rotarians Bill Douglas, Clark Ready, Ted Sherwin, John Mountain along with current Rotarians Dick MacPherson, Bob Stephens, Grant Barton and Ray Bennett formed a committee to investigate how we might proceed.
The first people moved into Parkview West during the fall of 1988. All 42 units were sold and on April 24, 1990 Lieutenant Governor Lincoln Alexander cut the ribbon at the official opening of Parkview West.  We then tackled Parkview East which was finished in 1994 and the second phase of Parkview East was completed in 2010 bringing the number of units in Parkview East to 22.  We still have enough land which is fully serviced for another 6-8 lots.  The Parkview community has three streets- Harrison Gate, Whaley Path and Oliver Lane- which have been named in honour of our first club President and PDG L. W. Scott Whaley and PDG Maurice Oliver. Parkview East and West were projects by the Rotary Club of St. Marys and they were Not-For-Profit Life Lease Projects.
Rotarian Ray Bennett has been very involved from the beginning and to this day he continues to be Treasurer for both Parkview East and West. These units are not owned by Rotary but we were the catalyst that brought these projects to the town of St. Marys. Rotary holds an unbiased majority position on both boards to ensure fairness to all unit holders.
Rotarian Ray proudly reminds us that the entire Parkview complex was completed without any government funding and that all units have been sold at cost.  Rotary provided a service to the community. We saw a need and we found a way to make it happen.
Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum
The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame is another Rotary project. Professor bob Barney, the discoverer of the Beechville origin of baseball and friend of Lorne Eedy, suggested that St. Marys would be an ideal location for the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum (CBHFM). The suggestion was to play a re-enactment of a 1838 game at Trout Creek with the Museum to be housed in the Water Works building. A committee was formed with Lorne Eedy as Chair to secure the CBHFM for St. Marys. Lorne and his committee approached the Rotary Club of St. Marys for seed money. The club was immediately enthusiastic about this project and granted $20,000 to secure the bid to locate the CBHFM here. The Hall of Fame was officially opened on June 4, 1998 but our involvement began in 1994. Over the years, we have donated $205,000 and a lot of volunteer hours towards development of the land into beautiful ball fields.  The Junior diamond is named Rotary Field. 
The Rotary Reading Garden
In 2004, our club chose to create a beautiful reading garden at the library to mark the occasion of 100 years of Rotary International and 80 years of Rotary in St. Marys in conjunction with the 100th anniversary celebrations of the St. Marys Public Library. All celebrations would take place in 2005. With the labour being done by Rotarians under the guidance of the contractors and the landscape architect, we were able to reduce our costs to $65,000. The garden serves as a quiet place where individuals can sit and read a book or enjoy nature or play chess. A place where you can meet friends, have a coffee or enjoy lunch. It is an area where children’s library groups can meet in the summer for their programs. It is a place where everything seems at peace.
St. Marys Heritage Days - Rotary Fireworks Display
Going from one spectacular view to another, our club has hosted the Heritage Days Fireworks display since 1999. It’s a fun evening for all. What can you say but ……oohhs, aahs, WOW!
What about other projects and activities of the club
We have partnered with others in the following major community service projects:
  • Development of the Quarry Swimming Pool
  • Teddy’s Field
  • Grand Trunk Trail
  • St. Marys Memorial Hospital
  • The original arena
  • Expansion at the St. Marys Museum
  • Renovations at the St. Marys Public Library
  • Rotary Respite House in Stratford
  • 2013 Rotary Park on Trout Creek
  • Building homes and providing stoves in El Salvador
In the past, we have been very active with the following:
  • Easter Seals
  • Woodeden Camp in Komoka
  • Thames Valley Children’s Treatment Centre in London
  • Hope for Haiti – building schools and sponsoring teachers
  • Furnishing the Friendship Centre
  • Creating a purple crocus waterfall cascading down the hill behind the St. Marys Museum in Cadzow Park to remind the community of Rotary's commitment to end polio
  • Humanitarian programs in Haiti, India, Togo, Tanzania and Malawi
  • Annually hosting one of the Community Dinners
The Rotary Club of St. Marys provides ongoing financial support for the following projects and activities:
  • The Pyramid Centre – We originally pledged $175,000 and we have 2 payments left
  • Worldwide Polio Eradication - In 1985, Rotary made a promise to the children of the world to eradicate polio.  With the help of the World Health Organization, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, polio has been reduced by 99%. We are ‘This Close’.  
  • International Youth Exchange - We have sponsored 114 Inbound/Outbound student exchanges since 1972
  • Minor Sports
  • 2014 Tennis Courts
  • St. Marys Mobility Bus
  • Annual ‘Seminar for Tomorrow’s Leaders’ for a high school student(s)
  • Annual $500 Scholarship to graduating DCVI student who excelled in Mathematics
  • Annual Veterans Dinner
  • Donations of books to the St. Marys Public Library to recognize our guest speakers in our thank you program
  • Global Literacy Project - We have helped the Grand Bend Club load several containers to be shipped to Africa with chairs, books, school supplies and sports equipment from local schools that have been closed in the area
  • Don't Meth With Us - We have helped the Mitchell Club with volunteers for school presentations
  • And many other activities which benefit our community
This year we also supported:
  • Water safety program for Grade 2 students which was conducted by the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority
  • ArtsCan Circle which provides musical instruments to disadvantaged youth
  • Shelterlink which provides food, shelter, support and advocacy for youth at risk to help them make positive lifestyle choices.
Fundraising is always a challenge and through the years we have held dances, variety shows, button sales, beauty contests, lotteries, frolic nights, sale of fresh fish, chicken BBQs, dragon boat races, raffles on Christmas light displays, groceries and travel packages. The Valentine Dinner & Auction was great fun. Who can forget the $65 paid for a dozen cinnamon buns! Sold out crowds to productions of Wingfield Farms and CBCs dramatic readings of Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’. Ninety years of Rural Urban events and the 29th Annual Charlie Dutton Golf Tournament will be held on June 18th.
Anniversary celebrations are a time for reflection on our distinguished past, but also an excellent time for Rotarians to resolve to continue the important work of Rotary at local, regional and international levels.
(Information compiled by Linda Schuyler)