The Nelson Rowing Club is currently recruiting new members. They are seen here in front of their clubhouse in Lakeside Park.

Reviving Nelson rowing

Local club is looking to grow their youth and adult programming.

Before there was a City of Nelson, there was a local rowing club.

“We’ve waxed and waned over the years,” rowing enthusiast Kurt Edmonds told the Star, during a sunny afternoon in Lakeside Park. “But it’s been 120 years since we started up here.”

They’ve come a long way from their humble beginnings: a floating boathouse built on the lakeshore near the foot of Josephine St. According to a history on the club’s website, Nelson scullers completed in North Pacific Association of Amateur Oarsmen regattas and other events until a storm in 1939 damaged the original boathouse beyond repair.

Hank Barone revived the club 30 years later and another floating boathouse was built. Nelson’s Lorne Loomer won Olympic gold with the UBC men’s fours in 1956 in Melbourne and was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. In 1971, Nelson hosted the Pan-Am Trials for the Canadian team selection.

However, membership declined until 1987, when former French national team member Dominique Preney and rower Kim Shea helped rejuvenate the club. Despite losing the second boathouse to an ice storm, the club prospered. In 2002, L.V. Rogers Secondary’s shop class built a large boathouse on land.

This year the club, which has 22 members, is looking to expand both its adult and youth programming. Once completing the Nelson and District Community Complex’s Learn to Row program, members are free to use the club’s boats, as long as they have a partner and good visibility.

“We’re doing maintenance on our boats, going through the inventory to see what needs repairs, and prioritizing so we can get ready for this new season,” club president Steven Knight said.

The benefits to the community are huge, particularly for younger participants, Edmonds said.

“The beauty of this club is it provides youth an alternative to the compendium of sports already available. Rowing is recognized in a lot of universities so many of our kids who go through this program continue when they go to school on the coast.”

Some have even received full ride scholarships.

The club is looking forward to their annual regatta on Aug. 6, which will attract visitors from across the province and the US and will conclude with a barbecue.

“We get a lot of attention for that regatta and a lot of people come just to get that Nelson experience,” Edmonds said. “We can’t wait.”

 

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Nelson climate strike packs downtown to demand action

An inter-generational crowd staged a ‘die-in’ as part of the global strike Friday

Nelson’s Cedar Grove Estates affordable housing site to receive $3.2 million in renos

The project was made public during the Nelson CARES annual general meeting

Kootenay Lake ferry to shut down Saturday afternoon

Service to resume Sunday morning at 6:30 a.m.

Mystery illness killing Kootenay bees

Samples being sent to laboratories for analysis

Woman stabbed in downtown Nelson

Victim is in hospital, suspect is in police custody

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

Oak Bay father’s testimony at murder trial like plot of ‘bad low-budget movie:’ Crown

Crown alleged Andrew Berry’s ‘entire story of Christmas Day is a lie’

B.C. truck drivers to face higher fines for not using winter tire chains

As of Oct. 1, not using chains on the highway when required could net you a $598 ticket

Singh campaigns in Toronto, May in Winnipeg, as Liberal and Tory leaders pause

All parties expected to be back on the campaign trail Sunday

Possible Canadian cases of vaping illnesses being investigated: health officer

‘I think that will be really important to address the overall trend of youth vaping’

Area 51 events mostly peaceful; thousands in Nevada desert

Three more people were arrested Friday on the remote once-secret military base

B.C. First Nation signs agreement to return its land on Vancouver Island

The land on the east coast of Vancouver Island will be returned to the We Wai Kai Nation

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

Most Read