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Wednesday, October 5, 2022
Rock on: NOTL Rotary Rocks project inspires other communities to follow suit
Ken Schandet, John Boot, Karen and Chris Hatch, Lord Mayor Betty Disero, president Greg Fedoryn, Paul Lalonde, Brian Crow and Shaun Devlin help spread sand at Queen's Royal Park.
Ken Schandet, John Boot, Karen and Chris Hatch, Lord Mayor Betty Disero, president Greg Fedoryn, Paul Lalonde, Brian Crow and Shaun Devlin help spread sand at Queen's Royal Park. Supplied

Ten members of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Rotary Club were rockin’ it last Thursday morning, shovelling and spreading 12 tonnes of sand around the Rotary Rocks project at Queen’s Royal Beach.

The rocks, whose centrepiece stone is engraved with the inspirational motto, “Have you made someone’s life BETTER today?”, were placed on the beach in 2019 and the lakeside installation has been enjoyed by many visitors to Niagara-on-the-Lake.

But the wind and waters of Lake Ontario washed away much of the original sand, prompting last week’s rehabilitation.

NOTL Rotarian Paul Lalonde, the creator of the centrepiece phrase, wanted to focus on spreading a universal and positive message to inspire others to spread kindness throughout the world.

“The idea was that the Rotary Rocks are a place of reflection and also a call to action. So to sit there and ask yourself ‘How do you make somebody’s life better?’ will hopefully make your life better,” said Lalonde.

The club’s positive message has had an impact not just locally, but over the border as well.

After hearing about the NOTL project, Rotary Clubs in Monroe Falls and Stow City Centre, Ohio, have begun working on similar designs. 

And the club in Ann Arbor, Mich., as well as two others in New York state, have been inspired to start similar projects in their own communities.

“It’s certainly a point of pride for the (NOTL) club,” said Lalonde. “It’s been incredibly rewarding to see that people appreciate it so much.”

The Rotary Rocks project helps to encourage people to pause, reflect and do positive things to make the world a better place, he said.