About Hamilton Rotary Club
Hamilton Rotary Club is over 105 years old, Our club was one the first clubs to be chartered in Canada. We are rich in history, yet we are also rich in diversity. Our membership of proud Rotarians represents a broad range of people, differing in their professional and personal experiences, yet bonded by our commitment to community service.
After a long and wonderful home with the Royal Connaught Hotel (over 90 years), Rotary moved to the Art Gallery of Hamilton. The Art Gallery makes our meetings very warm and the beauty of the gallery reflects the beauty of the community spirit that resonates through our club.
Join Us for Lunch
If you are a Rotarian and you plan to be in Hamilton or if you are a local Rotarian looking to do a make-up, please come to our meetings – you are always welcome.
If you are not in a Rotary Club but would like more information to become a member, please contact us and we will be glad to help you.
Brief History of Rotary Hamilton Club
The Rotary Club of Hamilton’s first meeting was held in the Private Dining Room at Fong Young’s Cafe 26 King William Street Hamilton on Thursday June 26th, 1913 at 1.10 p.m. in the afternoon. The Hamilton Club became the 3rd Rotary Club in Canada and the 82nd Club chartered by Rotary International. The Rotary Club of Hamilton was Chartered on August 1, 1913
At the end of its first year there were 29 members and for almost 3 years the Hamilton Rotary did not have a permanent luncheon location. During that period meetings (which appeared to be held on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month) were held in a variety of locations, including the Conservatory of Music, the Y.M.C.A., the Wentworth Arms Hotel, Robinson’s Tea Room, Fong Young’s Restaurant, the Royal Hotel and the Tudor Inn. Both the Royal Hotel and the Wentworth Arms subsequently burnt down and Robinsons and Youngs passed into limbo. The Connaught did not exist at that time but a hotel known as the “Old Waldorf” operated at that site.
World War I erupted and caused many disruptions not the least of which was food rationing which at times resulted in simple lunches. The Hamilton Rotary Club found many activities related to the War that needed the many talents of the members and responded whole-heartedly.
The Royal Connaught Hotel
In 1916 The Royal Connaught Hotel was erected and the Hamilton Rotary Club held its first meeting at that location in June, 1916. At the outset the main Hotel dining room was located on the main floor. Many of the Club meetings were held there even after the ‘new’ wing was constructed in 1931 and the Ballroom became available. By June of 1918, close to the end of WW I, the Hotel was charging 90 cents per lunch.
The Club met at the Royal Connaught Hotel as a permanent location for most of its regular luncheon meetings until November 4, 2004, when the Royal Connaught went into receivership. Club members showed up for a joint meeting with the Canadian Club for a Remembrance Day luncheon and were informed that the doors to the hotel would be locked later that same day.
After reviewing a number of excellent options for a new permanent location, in 2005 the club chose the Art Gallery of Hamilton for its new home. We remained at the Art Gallery of Hamilton in downtown Hamilton until 2017. 2018 (and even today) the Rotary Club of Hamilton meets at the restaurant located in the Visitor’s Inn Hotel 649 Main Street W.
During Covid – Rotary Hamilton has now setup ZOOM meetings and we are actively updating our digital engagement to help support our local community.