Rotary Auction Niagara giving back to the community at Christmas

Rotary Auction Niagara heralds the Christmas season with online bidding, marking significant changes to the long-standing tradition. Six Rotary Clubs unite for community support as residents donate items for bidding, supporting local service initiatives. Photo: Facebook/Rotary Niagara Auction


Rotary Auction Niagara is heralding the arrival of another Christmas season! People across Niagara’s municipalities have seen advertisements for the event in various locations throughout their community.

The event, an annual tradition for nearly thirty years, takes place from Wednesday, November 22nd, to Saturday, December 2nd, 2023. This year, however, the event is seeing some fundamental changes.

Hugh Graham serves as the long-standing Chair of the Steering Committee of Rotary Auction Niagara. He is also a proud member of the Fonthill Rotary Club.

“For many years, we’ve hosted the event in partnership with Cogeco TV,” Graham shared in a recent interview with The Niagara Independent. “But this year, we’re doing all online bidding.”

Graham took some time to reflect on how the form of the Auction has developed over the years. “Until about fifteen years ago, there would be different auctions across the Niagara rotary clubs,” he explained. “Then, we amalgamated into one larger auction,” he continued. “This year, six rotary clubs joined together to host this event.” “The online bidding option was added about 5-6 years ago.”

Rotary Auctions see local businesses generously donate brand new items. The donations are then placed on the Auction website for community members to bid on. Local Rotary clubs designate proceeds from the winning bid to support local service initiatives and projects.

“Our residents always do a really good job of providing us with a great selection of products,” Graham said. “We have sports tickets… Maple Leafs & Sabres Tickets, Ice Dogs, Raptors, you name it,” he continued. “We also have golf passes for area courses.” “And this is just a few examples… our donors are very generous!”

Graham also provided some commentary on the challenges that were endured during the pandemic years. “Before Covid, there was a lunch room set up where volunteers would have fellowship time,” he explained. “With the restrictions that were in place, that wasn’t run anymore, and there were Pexi glasses set up between the two hosts (as the Auction was still held on TV),” he added. “Perhaps the largest impact, however, was that with spectators not attending sporting events, we lost our ticket donors… one of our largest sources of revenue.”

Despite these challenges, Graham says things have improved significantly. “Last year was much better, and this year, we think it will be even better,” he shared. “It is very encouraging to see things rebounding!”

Graham closed by contemplating what makes Rotary Auction Niagara the great success that it is today. “Thank you to all of our amazing donors, bidders and volunteers that allow us to run this event every single year!” he said. “This is an event that facilitates so many tremendous resources for the community.”

Those interested in bidding can do so at the following link through Saturday, December 2nd: Rotary Auction Niagara.

Those who are interested in making donations for Rotary Auction Niagara 2024 are invited to contact Hugh Graham directly by email: rotary@ubkool.com

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