Rotary Club thinks big with toonies

What could $1.2 million do for local charities?

Heather Killen
Published on June 11, 2014

These days the Rotary Club is working with the Town of Middleton to build a modern splash pad, a fun place for children and youth to cool down in warm weather.  This is an image of what the splash pad may look like.


By Heather Killen

The Spectator


If all goes according to plan, the Rotary Club of Middleton will soon celebrate its 60th anniversary with a full circle and a splash.

Lou Mestekemper, president, says that the local club of 24 members is part of a worldwide volunteer organization that is dedicated to building stronger communities by serving locally, regionally, and internationally to address hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education, and even eradicate even polio.

Locally, they’re hoping a 50/50 draw will turn toonies into a goldmine for the local area. Similar fundraisers run by other Rotary Clubs have generated as much as $1.2 million annually for community projects.

And this weekly draw is a win-win for all, according to Mestekemper – with a 50/50 split between the community group and the winning player. Weekly prizes that aren’t won will roll over into the next week, so a toonie can turn into a tidy sum, with the community being the big winner at the end of the year.

“Think what could we do with $1.2 million,” he says. All club proceeds from the draw will go back to charities in the district such as the local food banks, the Annapolis County fire services, the Kingston Arena Project, the Bridgetown Pool, and the Macdonald Museum.


Club Support

Over the years, this club has done a lot with less money. The club has supported various recreational facilities around town including the pool, the rink, and local parks.

Middleton’s clubstarted on May 25, 1955 and has been working hard behind the scenes. It supports local breakfast programs, 4-H groups, food banks, the Soldiers Memorial Hospital, and provides student bursaries.

The club has supported minor hockey and baseball. Figure skating, track and field, tennis, and swimming have all received financial assistance at one time, or another.  The group also supports various international projects including a worldwide effort to eradicate polio.

During its first 30 years, the club took on an impressive list of community projects that included financing two rooms at the town’s ‘new’ hospital, a $10,000 contribution towards the ‘new’ rink, the Macdonald Museum.

In 1983, the club took on the Rotary Raceway project as a means to develop the 20 acres of land in the northeast section of town that had been under-utilized since the early 1950s.

Over time nearly $500,000 in grants, contributions and volunteer labour have made this a popular recreation site. In recent years, the club has been investing in Centennial Park.


Splash Pad

Now approaching its 60th year, the local club is finalizing plans to a build splash pad in town. In some ways this is a full circle project that brings the Rotary Club back to its earliest plans.

Soon after it was formed, the club took over the responsibility of the town's swimming pool that was being operated by the Middleton Red Cross Society.  Over coming years, the club took on on its first infrastructure project, a new outdoor swimming pool located east of the Middleton and District Arena.

These days it’s working with the Town of Middleton to build a modern splash pad, a fun place for children and youth to cool down in warm weather. The club and the Middleton Recreation Department are finalizing plans for the project that could be completed later this year.

In the meantime, Mestekemper says he’s hoping to promote the Rotary’s new 50/50 toonie draw will turn into a small gold mine for the community.  In the most recent draw, a lucky Middleton player won $1,225.

The Rotary Club of Middleton’s Rotary Gold Mine 50/50 draw is available in the Middleton area, at the Save Easy, Capitol Pub, Fundy Spray Kwik-Way, Nictaux Needs; in Bridgetown, at the Pharmasave and Graves ValuFood; in Lawrencetown at AJ Grocery; and in Wilmot, at the Kwik-Way.

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