The Port Arthur Rotary Club, unlike most Rotary Clubs, was not sponsored by another Rotary Club, but came into being by a division of the original Fort William Port Arthur Rotary Club. Late in 1923 there had been much discussion among Port Arthur Members about the possibility of withdrawing from the joint club and forming a Club in their own city. On January 8, 1924, the idea was brought before the regular meeting of the Club, but no action was taken.
On January 15, 1924, a formal motion to divide the club was put forth. It was tabled for 2 weeks. The approval of the District Governor and the Board of Directors of Rotary International having been received, the Club accepted the resignation of 19 members. An organizational meeting of the new Club was held on April 7,1924. Axel Knutson was elected president and Frank Youngman was named secretary. The last meeting of the joint Club took place on April 8, 1924, and on April 15, the held its first regular meeting.
The Charter, dated March 31st, 1924, was presented to the Club by Dr. Crawford McCullough, Past President of Rotary International on May 27, 1924. Within one month of formation of the Club, fifteen new members were inducted.
In 1926, the Club donated $500.00 to the City of Port Arthur for trees to line what is then known as the "Fort William Highway", as a memorial to the soldiers who died during World War I. One of the conditions of the grant, to which the city agreed, was that the road be renamed Memorial Avenue.
Through the years, the Club has made significant contributions to youth activities, sports, senior citizens, the Arts, social and community services, and international projects. The Club has participated in the Group Study Exchange Program or the Rotary Foundation, in the High School Exchange Program, the RYLA Program, and we have sponsored and hosted graduate students in the Scholarship Program.
The Port Arthur Rotary Club has hosted two district conferences and produced two District Governors. With the Fort William Rotary Club, we co-sponsored the Lakehead Rotary Club in 1984, and we sponsored the Marathon Rotary Club in 1989 and the Thunder Bay Rotaract Club in 2003.