It is not an understatement to declare that my Rotary year started with a bang. I’m probably not the first District Governor in Canada to notice that July 1st, Canada Day and the start of a new Rotary year coincide. So it should be no surprise that my year as DG started with fireworks. Four days before our first club visit, we attended Canada Day celebrations at the Dryden Government Docks area. 
As we headed west from attending the Rotary International Convention in Toronto (June 23-27), our first club visits were in the peaceful beauty of NW Ontario. Dryden was first on the agenda.
The evening before attending to Rotary business, Ed and I, along with several local Rotarians, were treated to fine food and fellowship provided by NWO’s newly appointed Assistant Governor, Carl Eisener and his partner Patti Vann.
Discussions with the Board of the Dryden club dealing with Club Culture and the D5550 Strategic Plan (every club’s “assigned homework”) took place in the Atrium of “The Centre”. At the club meeting, a sizeable cheque from the Rotary Club was presented to The Dryden Region Health Sciences Foundation, and the two Elaine Thompsons in D5550 had a chance to meet again. 
Leaving early, on July 5th we drove to Sioux Lookout to help Susan Barclay sort out and organise the daily camp meals and snacks for the eight-day Canadian Wilderness Canoe Trip that was going to take place in 3-days time. 
The youths, ten women and six men, all 18 – 21 years old,  had just arrived from around the world and were getting trained by their four Sioux Lookout leaders in the fine art of keeping one’s canoe going straight and recovering from a dunking when the canoe upsets. After their afternoon of paddling and dunking, the youths and their host families joined the local Rotary Club members for the evening meeting at the Royal Canadian Legion. There the DG provided information about what Rotary is, what Rotarians stand for, what Rotarians are involved in now and in the past and what Rotarians are currently doing around the world and in our communities.
The 16 international youths who participated in the 2018 District 5550 Wilderness Canoe Trip,
which is organized annually by the Rotary Club of Sioux Lookout
The next stop was Kenora, and here again, fellowship preceded the business of Rotary. This turned out to be a “Poker Derby” on Lake of the Woods on Saturday with two boatloads of Rotarians ripping through rough waters, stopping at Smith Camps for a special breakfast (and a couple of cards), then at a small sheltered beach area for a swim or walk-about (but no cards), then to Ash Rapids Lodge for Lunch (and more cards). The last card of the poker hand was picked up back in Kenora at the Boathouse Restaurant. Sunday was a day of relaxation with friends. On Monday it was back to business, meeting with the board and club members of the Kenora Rotary Club.
That’s the way it all started for the 2018-2019 Rotary year, fireworks and fun. Other clubs visited by the end of July included Winnipeg St Boniface/St Vital, Winnipeg East AM, Winnipeg Assiniboine, Brandon Sunset, Flin Flon, The Pas and Winnipeg Fort Garry. Not all clubs had had an opportunity to do their “homework” before the DG visit; that is, to review District 5550’s Strategic-Plan-in-progress, or to discuss their Club Culture with their members, so these were matters covered at the board/executive meetings.

Executives of Manitoba Clubs Visited

Winnipeg East  AM
Winnipeg Assiniboine
Brandon Sunset
Flin Flon
Winnipeg-Fort Garry

Events and Scenes from My Travels

Bakers Narrows (between Flin Flon & The Pas)
The Pas, Clearwater Lake
The Pas, Clearwater Lake
Winning Table of The Pas Rotary Trivia Quiz
The Pas Rotarian Connie Chartrand receives Paul Harris Fellow Award
Two more PHF Awards at The Pas – Bruce & Barb Morrish
The club visits dates are published in the District Calendar ( To have your events entered in the District Calendar, send your information to our District.