Water Sports

Original title:  1900-1949images

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With his many victories in rowing contests all over the world, Edward HANLAN was a major figure in Canadian sports and, for many, a symbol of the young country’s dynamism. As such, he occupies a prominent place in the history of sports in Canada:

“[Hanlan] ... had one more goal, the world championship, held by Australian Edward Trickett. On 15 Nov. 1880 he raced him on the Thames River’s historic Putney to Mortlake course and, with 100,000 spectators lining the banks, won easily. In doing so he became the new nation’s first world sporting champion in an individual or singles event. (Canada’s first world champions were the “four sturdy New Brunswickers” – Robert Fulton, Samuel Hutton*, George Price, and Elijah Ross – who won both the inrigged four and outrigged four at an international regatta in Paris in 1867.) News of Hanlan’s success, spread by telegraph and newspaper, touched off a rare moment of communion among English-speaking Canadians. His victory also enriched ‘hundreds’ of Ontarians ‘from Judges to peanut vendors’ (Toronto Globe) who had backed him with cabled wagers….

“His confident victories against the best rowers from the United States and Britain seemed to confirm the wisdom of the attempt to build a new northern nation, and the vitality of its rising cities and towns. The Globe called him Canada’s best immigration agent.”

A prosperous Toronto businessman, George GOODERHAM developed a keen interest in yachting, an expensive sport reserved for the more affluent, through which he was able to demonstrate his talents as a competitor and display his social status:

“Gooderham indulged a passion for yachting in his later years. In about 1880 he bought the racing schooner Oriole, which he moored at the east end of Toronto Bay by the distillery. It was replaced in 1886 by Oriole II, which won the Royal Canadian Yacht Club’s Prince of Wales Cup in six of the next seven years. Gooderham was vice-commodore of the club from 1884 to 1887 and commodore in 1888. He was also one of six investors in the cutter Canada, which won the first challenge for the Canada Cup, on Lake Erie on 25 Aug. 1896.…

“Gooderham held a number of exclusive posts in which he associated with other members of Toronto’s élite. He was at times master of the Toronto Hunt Club, a director of the Ontario Jockey Club, and a captain in the reserve militia.”

The biographies grouped in the following lists provide additional information about different water sports, their participants, supporters, and spectators: