Social Distancing

It was a Wednesday when WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic, so I decided that it was best for my family if we self isolated and stayed home. The next day was our Toastmasters club’s meeting. I skipped this one, and I felt so bad because I rarely miss any meetings.

From that point on, things changed so fast. It was announced that schools were to close for the next three weeks, people started to panic shop, and we were introduced to our new friend “Social Distancing”. With everything happening, and the rapid change of events, our club decided instantly that we would stop physical meetings and switch to virtual ones.

Some were confident that virtual meetings would work, and some were skeptical. I was on team confident. Team Confident was proved right! We did not miss a single meeting, thanks to Toastmaster Valero, who took the initiative to set up our first virtual meeting. And what a huge success it was, right from the first meeting, things ran smoothly, with zero hiccups and zero mistakes. Since then we have been conducting successful virtual meetings every week, with well prepared, highly spirited, and ready for fun attendees.

Our new friend “Social Distancing” has deprived us of many things, but turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as it revealed how strong our club is. Members of our club log in every Thursday not only to improve our public speaking skills but to seek comfort in those familiar, loving and supportive faces, as we know we have grown into a big supportive family – which has never failed to uplift its members professionally as it always does. But these on-line meetings turned out to be very essential for each one of us spiritually, as it revealed how much we are emotionally supporting each other in this unprecedented time.

Every Thursday I log-in to see the regular club members, and the long-time absent ones, who are warmly welcomed back, but my favorites are the future members, who join mommy or daddy and add to the spontaneity of those meetings. 

All emotions aside, the truth is I love our virtual meetings, because I get to have my cake and eat it too! I see all my club members, improve my public speaking skills, and have a little laugh without ever leaving my couch.

Lubna Elwerr
First Oakville Toastmaster


We have moved our meetings Online.

Probably the best thing you can do it for a career is to improve communication. No matter what job you have communication is key. Toastmasters we say is a place to practice speaking its kind of like a GYM for public speaking.

Now our club is doing ZOOM meetings until it is safe to back to our regular meetings.

Join us on Thursday On 7:30 PM

Here is the invite:

Toastmasters! Where Leaders Are Made

First Oakville Toastmasters

Believe me or not when I immigrated to Canada. I was afraid to talk to people. It used to give me goosebumps. I used to think what people will say if I not use the right grammar or accent. I always wanted to enhance my communication skills but didn’t know where to start and where to go for help.

Toastmasters is the best thing happened to me in my effort to self-improvement. Thanks to one of my colleague who was going to Toastmasters Open House to see what they have to offer. I was pleasantly surprise how accommodating experienced Toastmasters were. Members who were there from last 25 years and still learning and helping others. I found a sandbox to play along with others who also wanted to improve their public speaking skills.

If you are interested in self-improvement visit us this Thursday and experience what we do.


Toastmasters has changed my life. Improving your confidence, leadership skills, public speaking and communication skills are all benefits that could have a great impact on your personal life and career. Members of Toastmasters find unlimited opportunities for personal and professional growth and development. Joining Toastmasters could change your life.

We are having OPEN HOUSE this Thursday. Come and see what we have to offer.

Did I mention it’s FREE!

See you there…

Vishal Kapoor
Secretay (2019-2020)
First Oakville Toastmasters 
Royal Canadian Legion (Bronte Legion) 
79 Jones St, Oakville, ON L6L 3E6 
C:  (905) 330-8675 


We have moved.

Springing into growth and action! – BY ERIC BASTIEN

Fluctuating temperatures, sun, rain, snow, crocuses, and….the Oakville Lifestyle Spring Home Show!, are all clear signs that Spring 2019 has arrived. 

This year’s Oakville Lifestyle Spring Home Show took place from Friday, April 5th to Sunday, April 7th at the Glen Abbey Recreation Centre.  The successful show, organized by our very own Toastmaster Sharon Jenkins and her husband Dave Jenkins from Jenkins Show Productions, drew in thousands from Oakville and surrounding areas.

This year and for the very first time, First Oakville Toastmasters participated in the show.  11 enthusiastic club members volunteered to man the Toastmasters booth and represent the club with pride. 

With smiling faces and brochures in hand, the club members could be heard greeting visitors with questions such as:

  • Would you love to improve your communication skills? 
  • Have you considered developing your public speaking skills?
  • How are your leadership skills, could they be better?

The show was well attended and many visitors stopped at our booth to ask questions and learn about Toastmasters International and our club. Many decided to sign up to receive information regarding next year’s Open House events.

A big thank you to our committed volunteers for ensuring our club was well represented, and to Sharon for making this possible.

Our club always benefits from opportunities to reach out to the community and foster a growing interest in Toastmasters.


Eric Bastien & Tanouja Rama

We’re going to the Division D Contest!!

Pack your enthusiasm, your cheers and applauses because First Oakville Toastmasters is going to the Division D contest on Tuesday, March 19th, 2019!!

A huge congratulations to both Mark Molder for placing 1st in the Area 87 Evaluation Contest and to Fei Sun for placing 1st (two years in a row) at the Area 87 International Speech Contest.

A big thank you to Trafalgar Toastmasters for hosting this Area Contest and to all our members who came out to support our speakers and volunteer to help run the contest.   A big thank you to our cheering section:   Firas, Linda, Sharon, John, Deborah, Rebecca, Robert, Eric, Samantha, and Alonso.

First Oakville Toastmasters is where leaders are made.  Guests are always welcomed to attend our meetings and to learn how we can help you reach your public speaking goals.



Contest details:


Tuesday, March 19, 2019 6:00pm – to 9:00pm

South Common Community Centre

2233 South Millway , Mississauga (Green Arbor Room)

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner – The 62nd FOTM Charter Party Report

On February 2nd 2018, with the support of a great Charter Party Committee, we successfully hosted our 62nd annual FOTM Charter Party and the second round of our International Speech Contest at the very prestigious Burlington Golf and Country Club.

charter party program cover


Fei Sun, our very VP of Education has again been crowned our club’s international speech contest winner with her speech titled “The Mohawk Boy”.  Fei Sun is no stranger to the Toastmaster stage as this is the second year that she moves on to represent First Oakville at the Area contest which will be held on Monday February 11th 2019 at Trafalgar Toastmasters.  We will all be cheering Fei on!  CONGRATULATIONS FEI!


Photo 1:  Fei Sun being presented with the trophy by president Alonso Mendizabal
Photo 2: Second place went to our long time member, our beloved John Smissen.
Photo 3: Fei Sun with the District’s current champion, Roger Caesar.
Photo 4:  All 4 contestants starting from the right, Firas Farah, John Smissen, Fei Sun and Rebecca Valero.

As part of the Charter Party, it is tradition to commemorate our immediate past president which without, a lot of the momentum and continuity in this year’s FOTM growth strategy would not be possible, thank you Rebecca Valero for the hard work, support and behind the scene work you do daily as immediate past president.


Pic 1:  President Alonso Mendizabal presenting Rebecca with the recognition gavel for her service
Pic 2:  Some of the Boss Ladies of FOTM (Marion West, Rebecca Valero and Cheryl Etherington)
Pic 3:  Our very own VP of Membership Tanouja Rama, President Alonso Mendizabal and Veronica Costa at the welcome table
Pic 4:  President Alonso Mendizabal and Andy the Piper

This was a stellar evening that continued with a lot of dancing and celebrating as we had the pleasure of hosting guests from the district, past International Speech Contest District Champions and Wold Finalists, our very own Gold Speakers coaches, as well as past and present Area Directors from different areas, past and new FOTM family members and executive members from other toastmaster clubs and some very “CALIENTE” Salsa lessons spearheaded by our VP of Membership Tanouja Rama.


Special thanks to our guests Roger Caesar, Gregory CN Smith, Dennis Bartel, John Andrews, Kim Ludec, Kristina Johnston, Carl “MIGHTY” Naus, Lou Mulligan, Shelley Orchin, Ian Horne and Sarah Horne for supporting our 62nd Charter Party.

Most of all, a huge thank you to my presidential mentor Peter West from PETER WEST PHOTOGRAPHY for capturing all the photos and videos of the evening.


Cheers to another 63+ years of 1st Oakville Toastmasters!

FOTM President 2018-2019, Alonso Mendizabal.




The evening would not have been the same without the support from all our sponsors:





62 and counting…FOTM anniversary

In 1957 Louis St. Laurent was the current Canadian Prime Minister; Dwight D. Eisenhower was the President of the US.  The Montreal Canadians won their ninth Stanley Cup.  Wham-O released the first Frisbee Toy.  USSR launched Sputnik 1, inaugurating the Space age and Space Race.  The Final Episode of I love Lucy Aired, and of course, Toastmaster Club #2245, Oakville Toastmasters officially chartered February 1st, 1957 with 23 members.

We became First Oakville at the behest of other Oakville clubs in recognition of us being the first club in Oakville and because we either sponsored or supported the other new clubs in town.   The name Oakville Toastmasters continues to be a significant part of our club history and is synonymous with our club name, history and culture. 

Up until 1973, our club’s membership was entirely male.  However, looking back at the meeting minutes from 1964, it appears that members were organizing social meetings in order to include their spouses. It was August 1st, 1973 when Toastmasters International opened up membership to women and luckily they did because our club has flourished with the exceptional leadership of past female members and mentors throughout the years.

Prior to email, there was a telephone committee that would call all members to confirm their weekly role or speaking spot.  The club often organized summer picnics and members took turns hosting swim parties. 

Naturally, the club has evolved over the years and we continue strive to meet our member’s needs and focus on our member growth.  Every year the President and their executive as well as committee members, have the honour of organizing the annual Charter Party.

It is an honour to cordially invite you to celebrate First Oakville Toastmaster’s 62nd Anniversary Charter Party on the 2nd of February 2018.  Doors open at 6pm, call to order 6:50pm led by a traditional piper.  Our celebration will take place at the Burlington Golf & Country Club.  We will have 4 excellent club speakers that will compete for the club level International Speech Contest title.  The winner will represent the club at the Area Contest in February 2019 and also win the George McVitty Trophy.

It’s going to be a party!!!  Tickets are $75.00 per person and include a three-course meal, International Speech Contest, Door Prizes, DJ & Entertainment.

Please RSVP with menu choices and dietary restrictions to Alonso Mendizabal, Club President at



The Chair Gets Away With What The Chair Gets Away With

You’ve heard this said before often by the evening’s Parliamentarian commenting on a decision made by the chair during the business session: “The chair gets away with what the chair gets away with.”

So what does this mean? john-bercow-1

Today we can thank the British House of Commons and more specifically the present day Speaker, John Bercow who has against parliamentary advice allowed for an amendment to a motion regarding Brexit (Britain’s exit from the European Union) that some say puts even democracy in danger. Here’s a link to the story in today’s National Post.

You see, the Speaker got away with what he got away with and that was the unprecedented decision to allow an amendment to a government business motion concerning Brexit. You see history and precedent (the foundation of democratic decision-making) did not allow for amendments to such motions (at least that was the view of the government and senior advisors to the Speaker.)

The amendment requires Prime Minister May to return to Parliament within three days, rather than 21, to debate the implications of not having a Brexit deal, if the Prime Minister’s proposals are voted down next week.

Despite furious opposition, Speaker Bercow was defended by Labour MPs and even some Tories and the amendment was passed by 308 votes to 297. The vote allows for the potential of alternatives to the Prime Minister May’s plans to Brexit including the possibility of a managed no-deal or even another (second) referendum.

But for now, regardless of what happens in the future, the Speaker appears to have gotten away with what the Speaker gets away with and democracy itself may suffer.