August 2021
Upcoming Events
Executive Board
Director Vocational Service
Director Communications/Social Media
Director Community Liaison
Director International Service
Birthdays & Anniversaries
  • Dave Champagne
    Pedlange Champagne
    August 3
Join Date:
  • Eva Chaves
    August 1, 2017
    4 years
  • James Matsumoto
    August 8, 2001
    20 years
  • Sonam Choeden
    August 8, 2010
    11 years
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We welcome all to join our meetings! 
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Toronto-Forest Hill

Service Above Self

We meet In Person
Amica on The Avenue Road
1066 Avenue Road
Toronto, ON M5N 0A3
We meet“1st Thursdays” 12pm - 1:30pm
Home Page Stories
The Rotary Club of Toronto-Forest Hill has a long relationship with Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital through the connections with members James, Chako, Marvin, Lori, Sonam and President Josie. The Support our Kids (SOK) program was hosted in the hospital and several Sakura trees were donated and planted in the hospital garden. This year to support the hospital, our Club has donated $2,500 to support the hospital to help the fight of the pandemic. 
On June 26 2021 several members were on hand to present the check to the representative of the hospital.
Ordinary household items like cosmetics are treasured preciously by the people who can not afford them especially for the poor and the homeless. Rotary Club of Toronto-Forest Hill acquired many cosmetic travel pouches to donate to women's shelters and youth centres during the difficult time at the height of the pandemic. Through members' connections, we donated to charitable organisations including LOFT, Community Living, Sistering and Homes First. 
Delta Bingo spearheads a Christmas Toy Drive for the less fortunate families every year, they called upon their sponsoring charities including the Rotary Club of Toronto-Forest Hill to help. Rotarians and friends contributed generously, allowing the purchase of many small toys for the families and their children. Delta Bingo has been an important partner and primary source of our Bingo fund. It is this important source of income that allows Rotary continue to fund local charities in the City of Toronto. We are currently funding 15 local charities within the City of Toronto encompassing many sectors including education, youth program, women's shelters, seniors, children services and low incoming families. 
It is a tremendous honour for a couple of members of the Rotary Club of Toronto-Forest Hill to be bestowed as the winner of the 2020 District 7070 Wilf Wilkinson Peace Award. James Matsumoto and Chako Setoyama joined Rotary in 2001. For close to twenty years, the couple took on many charitable and humanitarian projects in Toronto and abroad, helping the vulnerable youth and the environment. Their selfless efforts have set a leading example for Rotarians and citizens to emulate.
Here are some of the work they have taken on and completed as narrated by James and Chako:
  1. Landmine Effort
The first fundraising activity since becoming members of the Rotary Club Toronto Forest Hill in 2001, we offered our home for fundraising activities for the eradication of landmines in the world. This donation of $10,000 was made to the Association of Landmine Eradication of Canada. In 2002 the same effort continued for Cambodia and Mozambique.
  1. Princess Takamodo Gallery at the Royal Ontario Museum
In 2004-2006 Princess Takamado of Japan came to support the Prince Takamado Gallery at the Royal Ontario Museum. The fundraising dinners were organized at our home, European night, Mexican Night etc., with the cooperation of the respective Counsel General’s offices in Toronto and raised $50 000 to donate to The Royal Ontario Museum.
  1. Fukushima Tohoku University Scholarship Fund
In 2011, $50 000 was Raised for Tohoku University, Fukushima Japan for their scholarship fund through a fundraising party at The Japanese Canadian Cultural Center with about 200 guests.
  1. Support our Kids Program
Invitations of 10 Tsunami affected children of the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami disasters (2011.3.11) to Toronto to experience the Canadian way of life through cultural and friendship exchange and through homestay programs, camping and English language studies with Canadian children.
The children are now grown up and many are leading important roles in their communities and helping other Tsunami victims. Once helped by others’ kindness, they now are able to help others from their mature positions. We believe this is the Rotary spirit exemplified. We learned from our experiences through the activities of Rotary Club Toronto Forest Hill.
  1. Sagamihara Partnership
In 2013 the mayor of Sagamihara City in Kanagawa Japan nominated Chako and James to be Special Advisors in Toronto to strengthen the friendship relationship between the city of Sagamihara and Toronto.
  1. Sakura Project
In the year 2000, the Counsel General of Japan in Toronto Mr. Satoshi Hara organized “Access Japan 2000” to introduce Japanese culture and tradition to Canadian society. Chako and I started as Founding members of “Sakura Project” which has planted 3000 Sakura Trees all over Ontario, in schools, universities, churches, municipalities, hospital and park areas, etc. After this project finished in 2010, we have decided to plant more Sakura (Japanese Cherry Blossom Trees) in our communities. “Toronto Sakura Project” was established to let the Canadian people know about the symbol of Japan. The Sakura blossom is the symbol of friendship and peace.
c) Toronto: In 2017 we donated and planted Sakura Trees at Woodbine Park in Toronto.
d) Markham: In 2018, Sakura tree planting in the City of Markham.
e) Chatham: In 2018, Sakura planting was organized at Chatham, Kent, Ontario.
f) Holland Bloorview Children Rehabilitation Hospital: In 2019, planting ceremony at Holland Bloorview Children’s Rehabilitation Hospital with the cooperation of the R.C.T.F.H. with 7 SOK kids from Japan in attendance.
  1. Scholarship Fund with Prime Mentor of Canada: In 2010 -2020 James Moto Scholarship Fund with the Prime Mentor of Canada was established to support special kids with talent who were overlooked by society.
  2. Award from the Emperor of Japan: In 2013, James Matsumoto received “Kyokujitsu Tanko Sho” (The Order of Rising Sun Silver Ray Award) an Honorable award for his dedication to society. This award was presented by the Emperor of Japan.
  3. Award from the Counsel General of Japan: In 2019 Chako received a special award “Sou-ryoji Hyosho” from the Counsel General of Japan in Toronto, Ms. Takako Ito, for her dedication to the community.
  4. Japanese Speech Contest: Chako and James supported “The Japanese Speech Contest” through Shinkikai -The association of Japanese Canadian Businesses and Professionals, Showflex Intl. Co. Ltd. and James Moto Enterprises Co. Ltd.
  5. Support Our Kids Toronto: Presently Chako is the President of “Support Our Kids Program”, “Toronto Sakura Project”, and “Sagamihara Friendship Society in Toronto”. Chako also started the Shinki-kai Scholarship Fund for sending a Canadian Student to Sagamihara city as a Friendship Ambassador.
  6. Award from the Governor of Mie Prefecture: Chako is the president of Mie Prefrecture Society in Toronto. She was nominated to this position by the Governor of Mie Prefecture of Japan for 3 years.
  7. Youth Link: In 2019, We opened our home for the benefit of “Youth Link” a shelter and community centre for homeless young people.
  8. Here are some of the activities we established since 2000 to now. We are very sorry that due to COVID19 Pandemic, our activities are very much limited. We very much appreciate the continuous effort all the members of Rotary Club Toronto Forest Hill embrace, to usher the Rotary Spirit to support many charitable organizations in Toronto. Chako and I learned tremendously about how to serve the world through Rotary’s good spirit of kindness and generosity.
When CICS (Centre for Immigrants and Community Services) received cosmetic and hygiene products they donate/sold most them to the Rotary Club of Toronto-Forest Hill at a very modest price which allows members to donate to people and organisations in need. Our first contact was Sistering where we donated 50 pouches and they are extremely appreciative of our support and donations. Picture: Marvin, Lori and Sistering staff.
Kathryn, Fund Development Officer in and Manager of In Kind donations with Sistering 24 Hour Drop in wrote: I am extend a huge thank you for a recent donation of gift bags and pampering items for our participants. This donation was organised through Marvin and Lori and they were so wonderful to work with!
Participants are already loving these amazing donations - pampering items like the skin care kits donated, go a really long way in terms of raising confidence and self esteem in participants. These items bring so much joy and help our participants feel valued like the important and unique individuals that they are. We can't thank Lori, Marvin, or the rest of your team enough for the support and joy that this donation offered. Our gratitude is immeasurable.
When the Rotaract Club of Willowdale witnessed the plight of the homelessness, they decided to raise its awareness by calling on Rotary Clubs in Toronto for help. The travel cosmetic pouches came at the right time and fits the win/win for all criteria. So members of the Forest Hill Club particularly Marvin Graf, Lori Michelutti, Mel Olsberg, Eva Chaves, President Josie Caliendo, Milo Vassallo and David Ing added to make the 60 pouches donation possible.
This project also received donations from ADG Courtney Caldron who helps to provide write up on this website.
Picture shows David and Courtney collected cosmetic products for the homelessness.
President Josie Caliendo starts her year with a challenge to all members to spend more time outdoors, taking advantage of the fabulous summer weather, walking, running, cycling staying healthy and safe.
Are you reading to take up a challenge?  She said, "How many kilometres can you commit to?  It matters NOT the amount but the Team Spirit. Then every little bit counts!  She WILL PLEDGE 1:00$ a kilometre to a max of 500:00$ From June 23 to July 22."
She said, "SO I WOULD LIKE  TO MAKE THIS THE FIRST UNOFFICIAL FUNDRAISER Of MY PRESIDENCY, The Virtual Team Walk. Why not? WHAT WILL EACH OF YOU PLEDGE? Once you register all families and friends can donate online in team or your name; or donate directly to you."
Take short video of yourselves and also if you like, with family and friends walking and upload to website. 
Celebrate on YouTube July 29 at 7:00 pm when our club videos will be shown. SO WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR? Let’s now have some fun and do some good while at it!"
When long time member Milo Vassallo's daughter donated redundant stationery to the Club's associated charities, Dave Champagne immediately thought of the poor children in Haiti who can benefited from the extra pens, binders, folder, etc. for their school supplies. Milo and his wife Rita came up with an idea of purchasing backpacks filled with extra school supplies like dictionaries, books and small toys for the children to be donated to Haiti. When members heard about this worthwhile project, they all chipped in resulting in the purchasing of 35 backpacks filled with useful supplies. Milo also managed to connect with his friend the Honorary Consul General of Haiti to ship the backpacks. Inside the backpacks are binders, crayons, exercise books, ball pens, pencils, calculator, dictionary, story book (Tom Sawyer) ruler, etc. and a Rita personally sewed face mask. (See attached pictures)
This project is another shining example that a small Club like ours can rally to fulfil a commitment to helping the less fortunate children in a heart warming way. Special thanks to the Vassallo family for leading, researching and executing for the benefits of the children. 
On a chilly evening on November 15 in the Scarborough Bluffs there were plenty of warm hearts supporting several great charitable causes inside James and Chako's home. Over 70 members and friends of Rotary attended the annual fundraising party for Youthlink, Backpack project for school children of St. Lucia, supporting Father Portelli in the poorest regions of the Amazons in Peru, and the SOK (support our kids) project for the children affected by the great Tsunami in Japan. Youthlink which helps to house, and educate vulnerable children in the city brought their Tyler McGill Band to entertain guests and friends and provided great music to a receptive crowd. 
One of the many successful students Sidra Jafri from Youthlink wrote and recited a poem to the delight of everyone.
The highlight of the evening was the surprise award presentation to Chako Setoyama, the hostess of the evening by Ms. Takako Ito, Council General of Japan. Chako was recognised for her kindness, generosity and leadership in many charitable projects particularly the SOK.
On a sunny day on October 15, members of the Rotary Club of Toronto-Forest Hill donated and planted 6 Sakura Trees in the garden of the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. Sakura trees' blossoms symbolise clouds due to their nature of blooming en mass. The transience of the blossoms, the exquisite beauty and volatility has often associated with grace and karma. The existence of Sakura trees in the garden of the children's hospital helps to soothe their pain and suffering. The tree planting project is part of the Support Our Kids (SOK) project spearheaded by Club members James Matsumoto and Chako Setoyama. 
From left to right: Rotarian Lori, Bob, Marvin, Sonam, Sid, Julia Haningsberg, CEO of Holland Bloorview, James, Chako, Miss Ito, Consul General of Japan, Josie, Denis and Jim.
Youthlink is a registered charitable organisation dedicated to helping vulnerable and sometimes abused young people who are homeless and needed a place to stay and to recuperate. The Rotary Club of Toronto-Forest Hill decided to partner with Youthlink donated $14,000 to create an environment for the young people to learn and to get back on their feet. On August 22, 2019, 14 members and guests attended the inauguration of the Youthlink library. The beautiful plaque at the door entrance recognises our contribution towards helping the young people to stay indoors in a relaxed environment to learn and enrich themselves and become independent.
Inside the library are desks with computers and Wifi to help research and learn life skills classes conducted by Youthlink. 
The environment is made comfortable to facilitate learning where there are many bookshelves full of reading material to encourage reading and learning.  Funding of this project was made possible by the Bingo revenue the Rotary club earned through participation of Bingo assignments. 
District Governor Mary Lou Harrison visited our Club and took the occasion to induct new member Tenzin Palkey. Tenzin who was introduced to the Club by Past President Sonam Choeden is a health care professional with accounting back ground.
Governor Harrison spoke to members about Rotary values and its vision: a world where people unite and take action to create sustainable changes. She urges all Rotarians to support the Rotary Foundation by giving $US100 per year, to support Rotary's meaningful projects for the benefits of the peoples of the world.
On May 16, 9 members from the Club visited Centre for Immigrants and Community Service where Moy Wong Tam the executive director gave a brief overview of CICS. At a past club meeting she delivered an in depth presentation of all that CICS offers in serving the community. CICS started 50 years ago by a small group of volunteers to assist newly arrived immigrants. Over the years CICS has expanded and grown with many locations now serving about 20,000 people in a variety of capacities and 20 plus different languages are offered.
  • Services: children and youth, early years, employment support, family and seniors, language training.
  • Goals: to assist and encourage newcomers to participate/contribute to important areas of Canadian society and to empower them in settling, accepting and adapting through diverse and innovative services.
  • Focus: welcoming immigrants and helping them to adjust and work through the many challenges faced with daily living in a new and strange environment...language, housing, culture, employment etc.
  • An extensive wide range of programs, activities and clubs are offered for all ages...pre-natal, post-natal, seniors, youth, recreation, nutrition, sports etc.

    At the end of the visit Rotary Club of Toronto-Forest Hill donated $3,000 to support of CICS's continuous community work.

It was an evening of fun, good food and great fellowship marking a fundraising event for the Club.  Thanks to the generosity of James and Chako for opening their beautiful home for the event. The highlight of the evening was the presentation of Paul Harris Fellowship to Bob Rae for his humanitarian work for the aboriginal people of Canada and his recent work in helping the Rohingya refugees in Myanmar. After DG Mary Lou Harrison and Past President Michael LLoyd's presentation, Bob spoke about his gratitude in receiving the PHF and his support for Rotary's good work around the world. 
As November 16th also falls on DG Mary Lou's birthday,  event chair Sonam and VP Josie took the opportunity to celebrate the occasion with DG. Two birthday cases were donated allowing all 60 plus members, families and guests to share the cakes together.
On September 20 9 members attended a delicious luncheon hosted by Youthlink, a charitable non-profit organisation dedicated to helping troubled youth who are of LBGTQ, abused and or generally need assistance for them to get back on their feet and starting new lives. Youthlink, transformed from The Big Sister Association of Metropolitan Toronto has over 100 years of history providing financial assistance to continue their studies while out of the regular school system. It provides counselling, outreach programs and a co-op residence for Scarborough youth. Executive director Janice Hayes showed our members the new Youthlink building layout for 51 long term and 10 temporary beds for drop in youth.
Our Club after listening to the moving stories voted to donate $5,000 to assist funding to equip the new building.
James, Chako, Mel, Marvin, Sonam, David, Lori, Michael and Milo approved the donation to Youthlink
President Marvin Graf and Treasurer David Ing presented a check of $5,000 to Fundraising Director Evan Back
Eight (8) special children who suffered from loss of relatives from the tsunami disaster in Japan in 2013 came to Toronto in SOK program sponsored by Rotary Club of Toronto-Forest Hill and members James Matsumoto and Chako Setoyama. They arrived on August 10, joined the summer camp and participated in home stay program where they stayed with host families. The children varied in age between 13 and 17 really really enjoyed Toronto and Canada during their stay. They departed Toronto on August 21 after expressing their feelings and thanking the hosting families and supporters at the farewell party on August 20 at Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (JCCC).
Special thanks to Ms. Josie Caliendo who hosted 13 year old Ms. Hanami.
Rotary projects around the globe August 2021

Learn more about the projects that Rotarians and Rotaractors are bringing to life in their communities.

Meet Rotarians who are finding fresh ways to connect

Learn more about the projects that Rotarians and Rotaractors are bringing to life in their communities

Africa’s Agents of Change

The arrival of the first peace fellows at the new peace center in Kampala, Uganda, heralds the beginning of a new era for Rotary and the continent.