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50 Years of Rowing BC (1969-2019)

September 10, 1969 was the first time a provincial association for rowing in BC met as an officially recognized society. We’ve changed and grown a lot over those years.

As part of our year-long celebrations, we’ll be releasing two facts about the history of Rowing BC on Facebook (@rowingbc) and Twitter (@rowing_bc) each week as well as adding to the story of Rowing BC’s history here.

Later in the year we’re planning some in-person celebration events. Make sure to sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss out!

Celebrate with us!

  • Friday, July 19, 2019 (Richmond, BC) – Celebrating “The Middle Years of Rowing BC” Find out more here.
  • Saturday, October 19, 2019 (Victoria, BC) – Celebrating “The Early Years of Rowing BC” Find out more here.
  • Saturday, November 16, 2019 (Victoria, BC) – 50 Year Celebration Banquet and Awards

50 Facts About Our 50 Years

The primary rowing organization in BC from 1891 – 1969 was the North Pacific Association for Amateur Oarsmen (N.P.A.A.O). The four founding members were the Portland Rowing Club (Portland, Oregon), Willamette Rowing Club (Portland, Oregon), Burrard Inlet Rowing Club (Vancouver, BC), and the Vancouver Boating Club (Vancouver, BC). The association did not function in 1915-1920 due to the war, but was revived in 1920. At this time, its members were the Portland Rowing Club (Portland, Oregon), James Bay Athletic Association (Victoria, BC), Vancouver Rowing Club (Vancouver, BC), and Coeur D’Alene Rowing Club (Coeur D’Alene, Idaho). The purpose of the association was the “advancement and improvement of rowing among amateurs.” The organization hosted an annual regatta for 24 years, and had written its own regatta rules. Membership was $15 annually.

Read the full North Pacific Association for Amateur Oarsmen Constitution and Bylaws here.

The N.P.A.A.O awarded the Buchanan Cup to the winners of the Men’s Four at their Annual Regatta from 1904-1957. A few notable individuals who won the Buchanan Cup over the years include BC Sports Hall of Fame rowing inductee Nelles Stacey, who won the trophy twice as a member of Vancouver Rowing Club fours crews in 1908 and 1909, members of the Vancouver Rowing Club’s 1924 fours crew that won a silver medal at the 1924 Olympics and were inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame won the magnificent trophy in 1923 and 1925, and future BC Lions team president Don Mackenzie was part of a Buchanan Cup-winning team from the Vancouver Rowing Club in 1934. The Buchanan Cup was the very first artifact ever acquired and catalogued by the BC Sports Hall of Fame, and is currently on display with over 25,000 other artifacts related to the history of sport in BC.

Find out more about the Buchanan Cup here.

The BC Rowing Association was the first provincial association created to specifically support rowing-related activities in BC. The association was registered as a society and met for the first official time on September 10, 1969 at the Vancouver Rowing Club (Vancouver, BC). In specific, this association functioned to make it possible for rowing in BC to access provincial funding to support its advancement and improvement.

The BC Rowing Association was accidentally removed from the BC Registry of Companies in 1985. Functionality continued as normal despite no longer carrying official status until 1987 when the lack of status was noticed and rectified.

In 1987, it was realized that somehow the BC Rowing Association had been removed from the BC Registry of Companies, and it would not be possible to continue receiving provincial funding until this was rectified. Don Arnold made a call and discovered that getting re-registered as the BC Rowing Association would be a year-long process, but they could be immediately re-registered if the association chose a new name. The suggestion was to create the new name with the sport featured at the start of the name.

Rowing BC was born.

Many of Rowing BC’s current member organizations are much older than the BC Rowing Association/Rowing BC!

  • 1865 Vancouver Rowing Club (Victoria, BC – confusing name!)
  • 1886 Vancouver Boating Club (Vancouver, BC – later to become the Vancouver Rowing Club)
  • 1896 Nelson Boat Club (Nelson, BC – later to become the Nelson Rowing Club)
  • 1913 Kelowna Rowing Association (Kelowna, BC – later to become the Kelowna Rowing Club)
  • 1929 rowing established at Burnaby Lake, BC (later to become the Burnaby Lake Rowing Club)
  • 1949 University of British Columbia Rowing joined the Vancouver Rowing Club (Vancouver, BC)
  • 1952 Victoria City Rowing Club (Victoria, BC) including University of Victoria Rowing

Know of other rowing organizations in BC that began before 1969? Let us know at admin@rowingbc.ca so we can add them to the list.

The 1951 European Rowing Championships were the first to ever include racing for female rowers. The racing was over a 1000m distance for women, instead of the 2000m distance used by men.

Female rowing was first included in the Olympics in 1976. At this time, women raced in the same boat categories as men, but still raced over only 1000m. It wasn’t until the 1988 Olympics that women’s rowing switched to the same 2000m distance as raced by the men.

1988 was also the first year of the Henley Women’s Regatta.

The Canadian Rowing Team attending the 1976 Olympics in Montreal included female rowers in the Single Scull, Double Scull, Coxless Pairs, Coxed Fours, Coxed Quadruple Sculls and Coxed Eights. Of the 24 women on the team, 6 came from hometowns in BC.

  • Cheryl Howard (Comox, BC) – W2x
  • Tricia Smith (Vancouver, BC) – W2-
  • Linda Schaumleffel (Vernon, BC) – W4+
  • Joy Fera (Vernon, BC) – W4+
  • Susan Antoft (Montreal, QC but associated with UBC Thunderbirds) – W8+
  • Rhonda Ross (Vancouver, BC) – W8+
  • Wendy Pullan (Vancouver, BC) – W8+
  • Illoana Smith (Wayburn, SK but associated with UBC Thunderbirds) – W8+

Find out more about this team here.

1972 Olympic Games – Munich, Germany

Of the 16 Canadian rowers named to the 1972 Olympic Team, 5 (31%) came from hometowns in BC.

  • Trevor Josephson (Princeton, BC) – M2+
  • Robert Battersby (Vancouver, BC) – M2+
  • Michael Neary (Ottawa, ON but associated with UBC Thunderbirds) – M2+
  • Ian Gordon (Vancouver, BC) – M4-
  • Karel Jonker (Amsterdam, Netherlands but associated with UBC Thunderbirds) – M4-
  • Edgar Smith (Comox, BC) – M4+
  • Robert Cunliff (Vancouver, BC) – M4+
  • Roger Jackson (Toronto, ON but affiliated with UBC Rowing) – M4+
  • Michael Conway (Sidney, Australia but associated with UBC Thunderbirds) – M4+

Find out more about the 1972 Canadian Olympic Rowing Team here.

1976 Olympic Games – Monteal, Canada

Of the 46 Canadian rowers named to the 1976 Olympic Team, 11 (24%) came from hometowns in BC.

  • Michael Neary (Ottawa, ON but associated with UBC Thunderbirds) – M2-
  • Robert Bergen (Vancouver, BC) – M2+
  • York Langerfeld (Hamburg, Germany but associated with UVIC Vikes) – M4x
  • Ian Gordon (Vancouver, BC) – M4-
  • Edgar Smith (Comox, BC) – M8+
  • James Henniger (Vancouver, BC) – M8+
  • Alexander Manson (Vancouver, BC) – M8+
  • Cheryl Howard (Comox, BC) – W2x
  • Tricia Smith (Vancouver, BC) – W2-
  • Linda Schaumleffel (Vernon, BC) – W4+
  • Joy Fera (Vernon, BC) – W4+
  • Susan Antoft (Montreal, QC but associated with UBC Thunderbirds) – W8+
  • Rhonda Ross (Vancouver, BC) – W8+
  • Wendy Pullan (Vancouver, BC) – W8+
  • Illoana Smith (Wayburn, SK but associated with UBC Thunderbirds) – W8+

Find out more about the 1976 Canadian Olympic Rowing Team here.

1980 Olympic Games – Moscow, Russia

The Canadian Olympic Rowing Team boycotted the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, Russia.

1984 Olympic Games – Los Angeles, United States of America

Of the 54 Canadian rowers named to the 1984 Olympic Team, 11 (20%) came from hometowns in BC.

  • Harold Backer (Selkirk, MB but associated with Victoria City Rowing Club) – M2+
  • Bruce Ford (Victoria, BC) – M4x
  • David Ross (Duncan, BC) – M4+
  • Timothy Christian (Quesnel, BC) – M4+
  • Patrick Turner (Toronto, ON but associated with UBC Thunderbirds) – M8+
  • Kevin Neufeld (St. Catharines, ON but associated with UVIC Vikes) – M8+
  • Gerald Main (Victoria, BC) – M8+
  • Paul Steele (New Westminster, BC) – M8+
  • Dean Crawford (Victoria, BC) – M8+
  • Blair Horn (Kelowna, BC) – M8+
  • Silken Laumann (Mississauga, ON but associated with Victoria City Rowing Club) – W2x
  • Tricia Smith (Vancouver, BC) – W2-
  • Lisa Roy (Vancouver, BC) – W4x+
  • Janice Mason (Victoria, BC) – W4x+
  • Carolyn Trono (Vancouver, BC) – W4x+
  • Lisa Robertson (Victoria, BC) – W8+
  • Joanell Gillingham (Twentynine Palms, USA but associated with Victoria City Rowing Club) – W8+

These BC athletes were part of securing a BRONZE in the M4x, GOLD in the M8+, BRONZE in the W2x, and SILVER in the W2-.

Find out more about the 1984 Canadian Olympic Rowing Team here.

1988 Olympic Games – Seoul, South Korea

Of the 40 Canadian rowers named to the 1988 Olympic Team, 8 (20%) came from hometowns in BC.

  • Bruce Ford (Victoria, BC) – M2x
  • Patrick Walter (Calgary, AB but associated with the Burnaby Lake Rowing Club – M2x
  • Ian McKerlich (Vancouver, BC) – M2+
  • Patrick Newman (St. Catharines, ON but associated with the Victoria City Rowing Club) – M2+
  • David Ross (Duncan, BC) – M2+
  • John Ossowski (Etobicoke, ON but associated with UVIC Vikes) – M4-
  • Bruce Robertson (Calgary, AB but associated with UVIC Vikes) – M4-
  • Raymond Collier (Cranbrook, BC) – M4-
  • Harold Backer (Selkirk, MB but associated with Victoria City Rowing Club) – M4+
  • Terry Paul (Oakville, ON but associated with Victoria City Rowing Club) – M4+
  • Brian Saunderson (Toronto, ON but associated with UBC Thunderbirds) – M4+
  • Kevin Neufeld (St. Catharines, ON but associated with UVIC Vikes) – M8+
  • Andrew Crosby (Bella Coola, BC) – M8+
  • Paul Steele (New Westminster, BC) – M8+
  • Gerald Main (Victoria, BC) – M8+
  • James Schaffer (Saint John’s, NFL but associated with Victoria City Rowing Club) – M8+
  • John Wallace (Burlington, ON but associated with Victoria City Rowing Club) – M8+
  • Silken Laumann (Mississauga, ON but associated with Victoria City Rowing Club) – W2x
  • Kirsten Barnes (London, Great Britain but associated with the UVIC Vikes) – W2-
  • Tricia Smith (Vancouver, BC) – W4+

Find out more about the 1988 Canadian Olympic Rowing Team here.

1992 Olympic Games – Barcelona, Spain

Of the 27 Canadian rowers named to the 1992 Olympic Team, 7 (26%) came from hometowns in BC.

  • Harold Backer (Selkirk, MB but associated with Victoria City Rowing Club) – M2-
  • Brian Saunderson (Toronto, ON but associated with UBC Thunderbirds) – M4-
  • Cedric Burgers (North Vancouver, BC) – M4-
  • John Wallace (Burlington, ON but associated with Victoria City Rowing Club) – M8+
  • Bruce Robertson (Calgary, AB but associated with UVIC Vikes) – M8+
  • Darren Barber (Victoria, BC) – M8+
  • Michael Rascher (Edmonton, AB but associated with Burnaby Lake Rowing Club and UBC Thunderbirds) – M8+
  • Andrew Crosby (Bella Coola, BC) – M8+
  • Derek Porter (Belfast, Great Britain but associated with Gorge Rowing Club) – M8+
  • Terry Paul (Oakville, ON but associated with Victoria City Rowing Club) – M8+
  • Silken Laumann (Mississauga, ON but associated with Victoria City Rowing Club) – W1x
  • Marnie McBean (Vancouver, BC) – W2- and W8+
  • Kathleen Heddle (Trail, BC) – W2- and W8+
  • Kirsten Barnes (London, Great Britain but associated with UVIC Vikes) – W4- and W8+
  • Brenda Taylor (Nanaimo, BC) – W4- and W8+
  • Jessica Monroe (Palo Alto, USA but associated with Burnaby Lake Rowing Club) – W4- and W8+
  • Megan Delahanty (Edmonton, AB but associated with Burnaby Lake Rowing Club and UBC Thunderbirds) – W8+

These BC athletes were part of securing a GOLD in the M8+, BRONZE in the W1x, GOLD in the W2-, GOLD in the W4- and GOLD in the W8+.

Find out more about the 1992 Canadian Olympic Rowing Team here.

1996 Olympic Games – Atlanta, United States of America

Of the 32 Canadian rowers named to the 1996 Olympic Team, 7 (22%) were from hometowns in BC.

  • Derek Porter (Belfast, Great Britain but associated with Gorge Rowing Club) – M1x
  • Philip Graham (Halifax, NS but associated with Victoria City Rowing Club) – M8+
  • Darren Barber (Victoria, BC) – M8+
  • Andrew Crosby (Bella Coola, BC) – M8+
  • Adam Parfitt (Victoria, BC) – M8+
  • Patrick Newman (St. Catharines, ON but associated with Victoria City Rowing Club) – M8+
  • Gavin Hassett (Saint John, NB but associated with Victoria City Rowing Club) – LM4-
  • Silken Laumann (Mississauga, ON but associated with Victoria City Rowing Club) – W1x
  • Marnie McBean (Vancouver, BC) – W2x and W4x
  • Kathleen Heddle (Trail, BC) – W2x and W4x
  • Anna Van der Kamp (Abbotsford, BC) – W2- and W8+
  • Laryssa Biesenthal (Walkerton, ON but associated with Burnaby Lake Rowing Club) – W4x
  • Jessica Monroe (Palo Alto, USA but associated with Burnaby Lake Rowing Club) W8+
  • Theresa Luke (Vancouver, BC) – W8+

These BC athletes were part of securing a SILVER in the M1x, SILVER in the LM4-, SILVER in the W1x, GOLD in the W2x, BRONZE in the W4x, and SILVER in the W8+.

Find out more about the 1996 Canadian Olympic Rowing Team here.

2000 Olympic Games – Sydney, Australia

Of the 30 Canadian rowers named to the 2000 Olympic Team, 7 (23%) were from hometowns in BC.

  • Derek Porter (Belfast, Great Britain but associated with Gorge Rowing Club) – M1x
  • Dominic Seiterle (Montreal, QC but associated with Delta Deas Rowing Club) – M2x
  • Philip Graham (Halifax, NS but associated with Victoria City Rowing Club) – M2-
  • Thomas Herschmiller (Comox, BC) – M8+
  • Lawrence Varga (Port Alberni, BC) – M8+
  • David Calder (Brandon, MB but associated with Brentwood College School and Victoria City Rowing Club) – M8+
  • Adam Parfitt (Victoria, BC) – M8+
  • Iain Brambell (Brentwood Bay, BC) – LM4-
  • Chris Davidson (Toronto, ON but associated with UVIC Vikes) – LM4-
  • Gavin Hassett (Saint John, NB but associated with Victoria City Rowing Club) – LM4-
  • Kristen Wall (Victoria, BC) – W1x
  • Theresa Luke (Vancouver, BC) – W2- and W8+
  • Heather Davis (Vancouver, BC) – W8+
  • Laryssa Biesenthal (Walkerton, ON but associated with Burnaby Lake Rowing Club) – W8+

These BC athletes were part of securing a BRONZE in the W8+.

Find out more about the 2000 Canadian Olympic Rowing Team here.

2004 Olympic Games – Athens, Greece

Of the 32 Canadian rowers named to the 2004 Olympic Team, 10 (31%) were from hometowns in BC.

  • David Calder (Brandon, MB but associated with Brentwood College School Rowing and Victoria City Rowing Club) – M2-
  • Thomas Herschmiller (Comox, BC) – M4-
  • Scott Frandsen (Kelowna, BC) – M8+
  • Kevin Light (Vancouver, BC) – M8+
  • Ben Rutledge (Cranbrook, BC) – M8+
  • Kyle Hamilton (Victoria, BC) – M8+
  • Iain Brambell (Brentwood Bay, BC) – LM4-
  • Jon Mandick (Edmonton, AB but associated with Victoria City Rowing Club) – LM4-
  • Gavin Hassett (Saint John, NB but associated with Victoria City Rowing Club) – LM4-
  • Darcy Marquardt (Vancouver, BC) – W2-
  • Anna-Marie de Zwager (Victoria, BC) – W8+
  • Karen Clark (Delta, BC) – W8+
  • Romina Stefancic (Ljubljana, Slovenia but associated with UVIC Vikes) – W8+
  • Sabrina Kolker (Quadra Island, BC) – W8+

These BC athletes were part of securing a SILVER in the M4-.

Find out more about the 2004 Canadian Olympic Rowing Team here.

2008 Olympic Games – Beijing, China

Of the 35 Canadian rowers named to the 2008 Olympic Team, 13 (37%) were from hometowns in BC.

  • David Calder (Brandon, MB but associated with Brentwood College School Rowing and Victoria City Rowing Club) – M2-
  • Scott Frandsen (Kelowna, BC) – M2-
  • Kevin Light (Vancouver, BC) – M8+
  • Ben Rutledge (Cranbrook, BC) – M8+
  • Malcolm Howard (Victoria, BC) – M8+
  • Dominic Seiterle (Montreal, QC but associated with Delta Deas Rowing Club) – M8+
  • Kyle Hamilton (Victoria, BC) – M8+
  • Iain Brambell (Brentwood Bay, BC) – LM4-
  • Michael Lewis (Victoria, BC) – LM4-
  • Sabrina Kolker (Quadra Island, BC) – W2-
  • Rachelle de Jong-Viinberg (Nanaimo, BC) – W4x
  • Anna-Marie de Zwager (Victoria, BC) – W4x
  • Krista Guloien (New Westminster, BC) – W4x
  • Heather Mandoli (Kelowna, BC) – W8+
  • Sarah Bonikowsky (Newmarket, ON but associated with UVIC Vikes) – W8+
  • Romina Stefancic (Ljubljana, Slovenia but associated with UVIC Vikes) – W8+
  • Darcy Marquardt (Vancouver, BC) – W8+
  • Anthony Theriault (Nanaimo, BC) – LTAMix4+

These BC athletes were part of securing a SILVER in the M2-, GOLD in the M8+, and BRONZE in the LM4-.

Find out more about the 2008 Canadian Olympic Rowing Team here.

2012 Olympic Games – London, Great Britain

Of the 30 Canadian rowers named to the 2012 Olympic Team, 13 (43%) were from hometowns in BC.

  • Michael Braithwaite (Duncan, BC) – M2x
  • David Calder (Brandon, MB but associated with Brentwood College School Rowing and Victoria City Rowing Club) – M2-
  • Scott Frandsen (Kelowna, BC) – M2-
  • Michael Wilkinson (North Vancouver, BC) – M4-
  • Anthony Jacob (Vancouver, BC) – M4-
  • Will Dean (Kelowna, BC) – M4-
  • Gabe Bergen (Dawson Creek, BC) – M8+
  • Malcolm Howard (Victoria, BC) – M8+
  • Jeremiah Brown (Hamilton, ON but associated with Victoria City Rowing Club) – M8+
  • Will Crothers (Kingston, ON but associated with Victoria City Rowing Club) – M8+
  • Rachelle de Jong-Viinberg (Nanaimo, BC) – W8+
  • Krista Guloien (New Westminster, BC) – W4x
  • Lauren Wilkinson (Vancouver, BC) – W8+
  • Darcy Marquardt (Vancouver, BC) – W8+
  • Lindsay Jennerich (Victoria, BC) – LW2x
  • Patricia Obee (Saanich, BC) – LW2x
  • Anthony Theriault (Nanaimo, BC) – LTAMix4+
  • Joan Reid (Vernon, BC) – ASW1x

These BC athletes were part of securing a SILVER in the M8+, and SILVER in the W8+.

Find out more about the 2012 Canadian Olympic Rowing Team here.

2016 Olympic Games – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Of the 26 Canadian rowers named to the 2016 Olympic Team, 10 (38%) were from hometowns in BC.

  • Will Dean (Kelowna, BC) – M4x
  • Will Crothers (Kingston, ON but associated with Victoria City Rowing Club) – M4-
  • Kai Langerfeld (North Vancouver, BC) – M4-
  • Maxwell Lattimer (Vancouver, BC) – LM4-
  • Brendan Hodge (Vancouver, BC) – LM4-
  • Lisa Roman (Surrey, BC) – W8+
  • Antje Von Seydlitz-Kurzbach (Smithers, BC) – W8+
  • Lauren Wilkinson (Vancouver, BC) – W8+
  • Caileigh Filmer (Victoria, BC) – W8+
  • Lindsay Jennerich (Victoria, BC) – LW2x
  • Patricia Obee (Saanich, BC) – LW2x

These BC athletes were part of securing a SILVER in the LW2x.

Find out more about the 2016 Canadian Olympic Rowing Team here.

BC’s First Paralympic Rower – 2008, Beijing

In 2008, rowing was included in the Paralympic program for the first time. Canada’s inaugural Paralympic rowing team included BC athlete Anthony (Tony) Theriault, who became BC’s first Paralympic rower. Tony, who hails from Nanaimo B.C, competed in the Para mixed coxed four (LTAMix4+). Tony, previously a highly ranked triathlete with the Nanaimo Track and Field Club and began rowing at the Nanaimo Rowing Club and the Victoria City Rowing Club. Tony and his team came 6th in the A Final in Beijing.

Find out more about Tony’s journey through rowing here

Rowing BC’s Launch of Para – 2011

Rowing BC launched its para program in 2011 as the first organized effort to understand and develop para rowing in the province. At that point, Martin George was hired on to lead Rowing BC’s para programming, where he continues into 2019 as Rowing BC’s Para Coach.

Martin defines his role as encompassing five main aspects: 

  1. To identify para rowers both at the recreational and high performance level in BC 
  2. To develop a para athlete pathway for para athletes 
  3. To develop educational materials within the NCCP at all levels to ensure all coaches have some understanding around para rowing
  4. To develop knowledge for umpires regarding para athletes in regattas
  5. To develop programming for para athletes at Rowing BC member organisations, including educating coaches and club boards, and providing para equipment to facilitate programming 

Rowing BC has had great success in expanding para rowing programming in BC, largely due to Martin’s continued leadership in the sport. Currently, BC has the most inclusive environment for rowing of any province in Canada and remains the only province with a dedicated Provincial Para Coach. Clubs, regatta organizers and officials in BC now recognize and embrace para rowing as a welcomed and vital part of rowing.

Find out more about Rowing BC’s para programming here

BC’s Paralympic Rowers in 2012 – London

2012 saw a total of three BC-affiliated athletes at the Paralympics. Tony Theriault returned to the LTAMix 4+ in three seat and the boat was coxed by Kristen Kit, who is affiliated with the University of British Columbia. Canada’s crew placed 1st in the B Final to finish 7th overall. 

Joan Reid from Enderby BC, who competed in the Para women’s single sculls (ASW1x). Joan Reid was coached by Rowing BC’s Para Coach, Martin George. Joan had previously trained and competed in cross-country skiing at the international level and had briefly rowed in 2007. Sometime after Joan left cross-country skiing, she began training with Martin in Vernon. In the span of only 18 months, Joan managed to prepare herself for her 2012 Olympic debut, where she placed 6th in the Para women’s single sculls.

BC’s Paralympic Rowers in 2016 – Rio – Canada’s First Ever Paralympic Medal in Rowing

In 2016, Canada’s LTAMix4+ earned a bronze medal, marking Canada’s first ever Paralympic medal in rowing.

In the cox seat of the LTAMix4+ was once again Kristen Kit, a UBC-affiliated rower originally from Ontario. After Rio, Kristen went on to cox the Women’s 8- at the World Rowing Championships and World Cup III in 2017, the World Rowing Championships in 2018, and the World Rowing Cup II in 2019. Also in the boat, was Meghan Montgomery, who also rowed in the LTAMix4+ in 2008 and 2012. Originally from Manitoba, Meghan now resides in BC as a teacher and rowing coach at Shawnigan Lake School. 

Para Rowing Centres of Excellence

As part of developing inclusive rowing programs across the province, and to support Rowing Canada Aviron’s Next Gen Rowing Hubs, Rowing BC has partnered with two leading rowing clubs in the province to create Para Centres of Excellence.

The first centre to open was Gorge Narrows Rowing Club in Victoria, opened May 26, 2018. The second centre launched on June 16, 2018 at Delta Deas Rowing Club in the Lower Mainland.

More information about the Para Rowing Centres of Excellence

BC Athletes in the Canadian Rowing Hall of Fame

In 2016, Rowing Canada Aviron announced the establishment of the Canadian Rowing Hall of Fame (CRHF). The CRHF recognizes individuals and crews in three categories: athlete, coach and builder.

Over the past four years, 36 BC rowers have been inducted into the CRHF.

  • Kathleen Heddle – athlete; inducted in 2016
  • Marnie McBean – athlete; inducted in 2016 
  • Frank Read – coach; inducted in 2016 
  • 1992 Olympic Team Medal Winners – crew; inducted in 2017
    • John Wallace 
    • Bruce Robertson 
    • Darren Barber
    • Michael Rascher 
    • Andrew Crosby
    • Derek Porter
    • Terry Paul 
    • Silken Laumann 
    • Marnie McBean 
    • Kathleen Heddle
    • Kirsten Barnes 
    • Brenda Taylor 
    • Jessica Monroe 
    • Megan Delahanty 
  • 1956 Men’s Coxless Four – crew; inducted in 2018
    • Don Arnold
    • Archibald MacKinnon
    • Walter D’Hondt
    • Lorne Loomer
  • Women’s Coxless Pair – crew; inducted in 2018
    • Marion Elizabeth “Betty” Craig 
    • Patricia “Tricia” Smith 
  • 1984 Olympic Men’s Coxed Eight – crew; inducted in 2019
    • Patrick Turner
    • Kevin Neufeld 
    • Gerald Main 
    • Dead Crawford 
    • Blair Horn
  • 1976 Women’s Olympic Rowing Team – crew; inducted in 2019
    • Cheryl Howard
    • Tricia Smith 
    • Linda Schaumleffel 
    • Joy Fera
    • Susan Antoft
  • Dick Mclure – builder; inducted in 2019

Olympic Coaches from BC – Frank Read

Frank Read, originally from Vancouver, was hired as a full time coach for UBC-VRC in 1949 and went on to coach a generation of Olympians and world class rowers. The 1950s and 1960s are known at UBC as the “Frank Read era” as Frank coached UBC crews to gold medals at the 1954 British Empire Game trials, a silver medal at the 1955 Henley Regatta (the world championships at the time), and a gold medal in the Men’s 4- and a silver medal in the Men’s 8- at the 1956 Olympics. The Men’s 4- gold medal was Canada’s first ever rowing gold medal. Frank came out of retirement in 1960 to coach the UBC crews preparing for the 1960 Olympics where UBC’s 8- won silver, the only medal for Canada in those games. Frank was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 1966, the UBC Sports Hall of Fame in 1994, and the Canadian Rowing Hall of Fame in 2016.

Learn more about Frank’s legacy here

Olympic Coaches from BC – Richard (Dick) McClure

Richard (Dick) McClure, originally from Comox BC, rowed for Canada in the 1956 Olympics and went on to train countless athletes at the national and international level. Beginning his coaching career at a Boatman at the Burnaby Lake Rowing Club in the 1970s, he moved through a multitude of coaching roles and ended up coaching the Canadian lightweight men’s double for the 1996 Olympics. Dick has been recognized for his contribution to the rowing community through inductions into the BC Sports Hall of Fame, UBC Sports Hall of Fame and Canadian Rowing Hall of Fame.

Learn more about Dick’s legacy here

Olympic Coaches from BC – Alan Roaf

Alan Roaf began rowing in 1959 at Shawnigan Lake School and went on to coach for Rowing Canada Aviron (RCA) at Burnaby Lake in the 1970s. He went to coach three Olympic teams and ten World Championship teams. He also coached and was very involved in rowing administration in Queensland, Australia where he served as National Director of Coaching Education for Rowing Australia and State Director of Coaching for Queensland. In 1986, Alan returned to Canada to become the first executive director of the National Coaching Institute. In 2005, Alan was appointed to High Performance Director for RCA, after serving as the organization’s Executive Director for 10 years.

Olympic Coaches from BC – Howie Campbell

Originally from Edmonton, Howie Campbell served as Head Coach for the University of Victoria’s men’s rowing team for 23 years, leading the Vikes to six Canadian University Rowing Championship titles. In 2014, Howie took on a new role with Rowing Canada Aviron as Assistant Coach for the heavyweight men’s program at the National Training Centre in Victoria. Prior to his appointment to RCA, Howie coached several national teams, including as an Assistant Coach at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.

Learn more about Howie’s legacy here

The Rowing BC Board – 1 year

Over the past 50 years, 123 individuals have served on the Rowing BC Board. There are 36 people who have served on the Rowing BC Board for one year.

  • Adrian McFarlane: 2004
  • Alan Roaf: 1987
  • Allison Dobb: 2004
  • Allison Jacob: 2002
  • Andy Watson: 2018
  • Anthony Jacob: 2016
  • Barbara Anderson: 1993
  • Caitlin Makins: 2012
  • David Hutchison: 2008
  • Dick Vopni: 1992
  • Erin Stench: 1991
  • Eron Main: 2012
  • Gordon Chutter: 1993
  • Howard Campbell: 2004
  • Jenelle Spencer: 2012
  • Jill Wurflinger: 2002
  • Joan Webb: 1987
  • John Gjervan: 2018
  • John Stothart: 1987
  • Jonathon Beare: 2005
  • Kris Davis: 2018
  • Lee Ann Schwandt: 2002
  • Linda Arnold: 2018
  • Lisa George: 2011
  • Luticia Hill: 2018
  • Margaret Ebrecht: 2001
  • Martin George: 2010
  • Melissa Lince: 1998
  • Roland Hawes: 1990
  • Roy McIntosh: 1987
  • Sarah Bendall: 2004
  • Terry Shaw: 1987
  • Tom Gavaghan: 1991
  • Warren Taylor: 1994
  • Wily Perez: 1994
  • York Langerfeld: 2018

The Rowing BC Board – 2-5 years

Over the past 50 years, 123 individuals have served on the Rowing BC Board. There are 29 people who served on the Rowing BC board for 2 years, 18 people who served for 3 years, 7 people who served for 4 years, and 3 people who served for 5 years.

2 years

  • Alan Ottnad: 1996-1997
  • Andrew Beauchamp: 1990-1991
  • Brent Barker: 1988-1989
  • Bruce Trewin: 1987, 1993
  • Cam Harvey: 1995-1996
  • Caroline Kelly: 1987-1988
  • Darcy Hortness: 2014-2015
  • Dave Calder: 2015-2016
  • Gary Giles: 1987-1988
  • Hugh Lefevre: 1994-1995
  • Jack Jenkins: 2006-2007
  • James Cooper: 1999-2000
  • John Alexander: 1991-1992
  • Kurt Edmunds: 2004-2005
  • Malcolm McAvity: 1989-1990
  • Mary Thiess: 1994, 1997
  • Mike Clark: 2002-2003
  • Patrick Dawson: 1992-1993
  • Paul Hawksworth: 2004-2005
  • Peter Copland: 1993-1994
  • Pratibha Sharma: 2017-2018
  • Reg Beniac: 2005-2006
  • Richard McDaniel: 1997-1998
  • Richard Vopni: 1993-1994
  • Roberta Rodgers: 2016-2017
  • Roberto Dosil: 1991-1992
  • Ryan Sparks: 1990-1991
  • Sandy Pearce: 1993-1994
  • Trisha Smith: 1988-1989
  • Yvonne Bauer: 1988-1989

3 years

  • Barbara Andrews: 1987, 1991-1992
  • Barbara Creighton: 2004-2006
  • Barbara McPhail: 1988-1990
  • Bill Murray: 1987, 1989-1990
  • Chris Arnold-Forster: 1993-1995
  • Christine Eastgard: 2008-2010
  • Dave Davies: 1992-1994
  • Dereck Schwandt: 2001-2003
  • Derek Page: 2016-2018
  • Douglas Cunliffe: 1991-1993
  • Jim Cooper: 1996-1998
  • Joanne Jones: 1987-1989
  • John Queen: 1987-1989
  • Mark Staples: 2001-2003
  • Martin Gifford: 1989-1991
  • Mike Pearce: 2001-2003
  • Pam Elliot: 1999-2001
  • Stacy Mitchell: 2016-2018
  • Tony Thorburn: 1987-1989

4 years

  • Aalbert Van Schothorst: 2007-2010
  • Darryl De Leeuw: 2012-2015
  • Janice Mason: 2014-2017
  • Susan Wilkinson: 2015-2018
  • Terrance Shea: 1992-1995
  • Tim Henderson: 2011-2014
  • William Murray: 1997-2000

5 years

  • Brian Lamb: 1999-2003
  • Ian Gordon: 1990-1992, 2013-2014
  • Trudy Friesen: 1988-1990, 1993-1994

The Rowing BC Board – 6-9 years

Over the past 50 years, 123 individuals have served on the Rowing BC Board. There are 6 people who served on the Rowing BC Board for 6 years, 4 people who served for 7 years, 3 people who served for 8 years, and 2 people who served for 9 years.

6 years

  • Bob Falconer: 1987-1992
  • Cinda Ewton: 2008-2014
  • Joanne Yates: 1987-1992
  • John Wallace: 1995-1999
  • Kim Gordon: 1987, 1990-1994
  • Peter Jackson: 2012-2017

7 years

  • Dominic Preney: 1989-1994
  • Lyla Gatley: 1988-1994
  • Richard Crawley: 1988-1994
  • Susanne Walker-Curry: 2006-2012

8 years

  • Herb Evers: 2007-2015
  • Laurel Glanfield: 2011-2018
  • Simon Litherland: 2004-2011

9 years

  • Debbie Sage: 2004-2012
  • Joe Grey: 1988-1996

The Rowing BC Board – 10+ years

Over the past 50 years, 123 individuals have served on the Rowing BC Board. There are 10 people who served on the Rowing BC Board for 10 years or more! Many of the individuals who served on the Rowing BC Board for over 10 years were with the organization before it was Rowing BC in its current form!

10+ years of service

  • Bruce Ford: 1988-2001
  • Dave Currier: 1987-1991, 1995-2003
  • Herb Chaillier: Pre-1986, 1991-2003
  • Mike Bagshawe: 1987, 1989-2003
  • Tony Carr: Pre-1986, 1991-2003
  • Dick McClure: Pre-1986
  • Don Arnold: Pre-1986, 1993-1995, 1999-2003
  • Lief Gotfredson: Pre-1986, 1987-1994
  • Susan Garvey: Pre-1986, 1991-1992
  • Wayne Van Osterhout: Pre-1986, 1987-1988, 2004-2010

Over the past 50 yers, there has been six Executive Directors of Rowing BC.

  • Don Arnold: 1986-2003
  • Michael Clark: 2003-2005
  • Penny Gardner: 2005-2010
  • Eron Main: 2010-2013
  • Jennifer Fitzpatrick: 2013-2017
  • David Calder: 2017-present

Over the past 50 years, 14 people have worked for Rowing BC as staff.

Provincial Coach
Rob Richards: 2015-present

Para Coach and Coaching Coordinator
Martin George: 2009-present

Administrative Assistant
Julie Stevens: 2011-2013
Edward Vaughan: 2013-2016

Programs and Communications Coordinator
Sonja Lonne: 2016-present
Quinton Lam: 2019-present

Summer Staff
Akira Xu: 2015
Mirha Girt: 2016
Stuart Argo: 2017
Matthew Ward: 2018
Natasha Rygnestad-Stahl: 2018 and 2019

Row to Podium Coach
Chuck McDiarmid
Ben Rutledge
Liz Chisholm

GO Rowing & Paddling Association of Canada (GO) existed from 1996 to 2014 with a mission to “engage and participate in activities and projects that support, promote and advance rowing and paddling sports in Canada”. GO was very active in British Columbia over its history, establishing paddling centres in Victoria (now Gorge Narrows), Nanaimo, Vancouver, North Vancouver, Port Moody (now Inlet Rowing Club), Fort Langley, Richmond (now Thunder Rowing), Vernon (now the Vernon Rowing and Dragon Boat Club), Kelowna, and Penticton and investing over $25 million into rowing and paddling sports. As GO closed its doors in 2014, it transferred their operations to other societies and clubs to ensure continued community access to rowing and paddling in the province. 

Photo by Ghislain Bonneau. For more photos of the Gorge waterway and boathouse, see his website page here

Find out more about the legacy of GO on rowing in BC here

Salish Sea Coastal Rowing Club was established as BC’s first coastal rowing club in 2015! The founders of the club were flat-water rowers at Vancouver Rowing Club who had discovered the joys of rowing seaworthy sliding-seat row-boats at Jericho Sailing Centre along with rowers at Club Locarno and rowers with privately-owned boats at Jericho Sailing Centre. Salish Sea continues a long tradition of coastal rowing from the beach at Jericho Sailing Centre on the south shore of English Bay, 2 nautical miles west of the entrance to False Creek and 3 nm west of the Point Grey Bell Buoy at the entrance to Vancouver Harbour. 

For an in-depth history of Salish Sea, please see this short paper written by Salish Sea board member and co-founder Richard Copley.

Following the creation of Salish Sea Coastal Rowing, BC got its second coastal rowing club in 2018 with the formation of Open Aviron Rowing Coastal Association (OARCA). The name OARCA pays homage to the orca whales that make BC’s coastal waters their home. In 2017, hearing that the World Rowing Federation, FISA, needed a location to host the World Rowing Coastal Championships (WRCC), a team of volunteers quickly rallied to put together a bid under OARCA. The bid was successful and FISA awarded the WRCC 2018 to Victoria. 

One of the objectives for OARCA and a motivation for hosting WRCC 2018 was to grow coastal rowing in Canada and that has largely been successful in BC. Since WRCC, BC has seen an expansion in coastal rowing across the province. After the WRCC, the Eurodiffusion’s boats used during the regatta were sold to various clubs and individuals around the province, helping expand the reach and accessibility of coastal rowing in BC. In addition to Eurodiffusion’s, Liteboat, another coastal rowing boat brand, is also present in BC. Dealers for Liteboats include Dominique Preney in Nelson and Janice Mason in Victoria. There has also been a growth in for-profit coastal rowing companies, including West Coast Rowing Adventures based in Victoria and Quench Rowing Adventures in Maple Bay. West Coast Rowing Adventures was founded and is run by Katie Bahain-Steeman and Julien Bahain who were both integral members of the WRCC organizing committee.

National Rowing Championships (NRCs) in its current form began in 2005. Prior to 2005, the structure for national-level racing was such that provincial teams raced at Canada Cup and individuals competed at Speed Orders for national team qualification. Since 2005, the purpose of NRCs has been to determine and crown Canadian National Champions and afford the opportunity for athletes to be recognized for their accomplishments and to recognize the accomplishments of their peers. Rowing BC was awarded the rights to host the NRCs from 2016-2019 at Burnaby Lake. 

It has been hosted in BC seven times: twice at Elk Lake (2010 and 2014) and five times at Burnaby Lake (2012, 2016-2019).

Canada Games is a multi-sport event featuring ameteur athletes held every two years, alternating between winter and summer sports. Rowing was first included in the Canada Summer Games program in 1969. The Games have been held in BC twice: New Westminster/Burnaby in 1973 and Kamloops in 1993. The 1973 rowing venue was Burnaby Lake. The current Burnaby Lake Rowing Pavilion was built in the early 1970s in preparation for the Games and remains a well-loved rowing venue today. The 1993 rowing venue was Shumway Lake in Kamloops, now the only venue with a 7-lane 2000m course west of Ontario, which was built as part of the legacy of the Games. 

BC athletes currently hold the Summer Games records in five boat classes: Men’s 2-, Women’s 2-, Men’s 4-, Men’s 8+ and Women’s 8+, all of which were set at the 2005 Games in Regina, Saskatchewan. 

The Western Canada Summer Games began in 1975 and have continued every four years, always one year before the summer Olympics. The Games target athletes in the train to train stage. BC has hosted the games twice: 1995 in Abbotsford and 2011 in Kamloops. The 1995 rowing venue was Matsqui Trail Regional Park. The 2011 rowing venue was Kamloops’ Shumway Lake, the same course built for the 1993 Canada Summer Games. 

In 2016, the Province of British Columbia withdrew Team BC from the Western Canada Summer Games. In BC’s last year of participation in the Games, 2015, Team BC placed first in the rowing competition, helping BC win the most overall points at the Games.

The BC Summer Games is a four-day event that takes place every two years. Rowing has been a major component of the games since 2010. The rowing events provide athletes the opportunity to represent their zone and compete in multiple competitions that promote physical fitness, individual achievement, and team building. Historically the Games have been accessible to U17 athletes, but for the first time in 2020, rowers will be able to compete in either the U17 or U19 category, expanding the team size to a possible 16 rowers per Zone. The BC Summer Games has allowed BC to show off many great rowing venues around the province including Quamichan Lake (2018), the Bedford Channel (2016 and 2010), Long Lake (2014), and Deas Island (2012). 

Find out more about rowing at the BC Summer Games here

On July 19-20, 2014 BC hosted the Rowing Canada Aviron Canadian Masters Championships at Burnaby Lake. 2014 is the only year that BC has hosted the event. Organized by the Burnaby Lake Rowing Club and the Cascadia Masters Organizing Committee, the RCA Canadian Masters Championship regatta is open to any masters-aged club rower (21 years and beyond) from anywhere in the world! All races are 1000 metres. The event was last hosted in 2016.

The Canadian University Championships (CURC) is hosted annually to showcase Canadian U23 and Senior rowing talent at the post-secondary level. CURCs have been hosted in BC eleven times since it was first established in 1997: Eight times at Elk Lake (1997-1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2010, 2014, 2017), twice at Burnaby Lake (2012 and 2019) and once in Fort Langley (2008). BC universities hold 24 National Champion banners.

UVIC Men’s National Championships

  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2001
  • 1998
  • 1997

UVIC Women’s National Championships

  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2005
  • 2003
  • 2002
  • 2001
  • 2000
  • 1999
  • 1998
  • 1997

UBC Men’s National Championships

  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2014
  • 2005

UBC Women’s National Championships

  • 2018
  • 2004

Full historical results here

On July 7-8th, 2017 Victoria City Rowing Club, Brentwood College School and the Municipality of North Cowichan hosted the CanAmMex Regatta at Elk Lake in Victoria. The annual event brings together the top U19 rowers from Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Racing was made up of 12 events including: men’s and women’s single sculls, men’s and women’s double sculls, men’s and women’s pair, men’s and women’s quadruple sculls, men’s and women’s four with coxswain and men’s and women’s eight. Team Canada won the points total at the event.

From October 11-14 2018, OARCA Coastal Rowing Society hosted North America’s first ever World Rowing Coastal Championships in Victoria. The desire to host the World Rowing Coastal Championships spurred the creation of a brand new rowing society – Open Aviron Rowing Coastal Association (OARCA). The regatta also featured the first-ever standing beach start at a World Rowing Coastal Championships. 

For more information about the World Rowing Coastal Championships, see WRCC website

Throughout it’s 50 year history, Rowing BC has continually hosted Annual General Meetings which have sometimes included a conference. In 2018, the conference concept was further built out to include two days of three simultaneous streams of conference content targeted at coaches, administrators, and umpires from the BC rowing community. The three streams were focused on building and maintaining healthy organizations, building and maintaining healthy programs, and building and maintaining healthy events. The final evening of the conference also included the first reinstated version of Rowing BC Annual Awards, providing an award to Learn to Row Coach of the Year, Outstanding Volunteer(s), High Performance Coach of the Year, Athlete of the Year, and Umpire of the Year. This conference and awards banquet was well received by the BC rowing community. Based on feedback from attendees, Rowing BC plans to annually run a mini conference alternating with a full weekend conference in order to continue providing this high level of service and resourcing to the community while managing travel and attendance costs for clubs/organizations who cannot afford conference fees on an annual basis.

Rowing venues around the province have grown considerably over the course of Rowing BC’s history. Some venue highlights in BC include: 

  • Shumway Lake, Kamloops
    • Shumway Lake is the only rowing venue with a 2000m, 7-lane course west of Ontario
    • Originally built for the 1993 Canada Summer Games, the lake is now home to Kamloops Rowing Club, Kamloops Canoe and Kayak Club and Kamloops Waterski Club. The course was also used for the 2011 Western Canada Summer Games. 
  • Burnaby Lake
    • The only FISA certified course in BC and one of only three in Canada (the other two being in St Catherines, Ontario and Montreal’s Olympic Rowing Basin). 
    • While Burnaby Lake has been used for rowing since the early 1900s, the current pavilion was constructed in anticipation for the 1973 Canada Summer Games. The venue quickly became a hub for local, regional and national rowing events and continues to host the Canadian University Rowing Championships and the National Rowing Championships frequently. 
  • Quamichan Lake 
    • BC’s newest buoyed course 
    • Beginning after the 2020 Olympics, Rowing Canada Aviron’s National Team Training Centre will operate out of Art Mann Park on Quamichan Lake in Duncan
  • Elk lake 
    • Home to Victoria Training Centre for many years 

Do you know any other cool rowing venue facts? Let us know! 

In 2017, Rowing Canada Aviron announced NextGen Hub partnerships with five universities, two of which are in BC: the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria. The NextGen Hubs offer all-encompassing high performance services to identified NextGen rowers. Hubs provide optimal coach to athlete ratios, extensive performance planning, and enhanced technical coaching capacity. The NextGen program is designed to focus on NextGen rowers trending five to eight years from an Olympic/Paralympic podium performance and to provide monitored, progressive programming for athletes on the High Performance Athlete Development Pathway.

Learn more about BC’s NextGen Hubs

As a provincial governing body, it is expected that we contribute to the sustainability of our sport through the delivery and oversight of important initiatives related to athlete, coach, official and club development. In 2018, Rowing BC launched the 2018-2021 Strategic Plan. The vision remains that “British Columbia is the leading Rowing Community in Canada”. We expect to achieve our Vision by continuing to improve on the delivery of our essential services and by incorporating an innovative perspective during our decision-making and quadrennial planning. Rowing BC’s mission is to “create and enhance quality opportunities for all British Columbians to discover, pursue and excel in the sport of rowing”. 

The plan highlights four values:

(1) Excellence: We aim to improve all that we do and to exceed the expectations of our membership
(2) Integrity: We are accountable and we adhere to high ethical and professional standards with all decision making 
(3) Transparency: We disclose information, opportunities, and decisions in a clear, open and accessible manner
(4) Inclusivity: We create an environment in which every individual is welcomed, respected and supported. 

Flowing from Rowing BC’s vision, Rowing BC has launched a variety of new programming in recent years: 

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