Walter T. Lamb
Britannia Boating Club
 
 
1920
 
NATIONAL CHAMPIONS
OTTAWA-NEW EDINBURGH (13)
    BALMY BEACH (2)
NORTHERN DIVISION CHAMPIONS
OTTAWA-NEW EDINBURGH (14)
WESTERN DIVISION CHAMPIONS
BALMY BEACH (2)
EASTERN DIVISION CHAMPIONS
GRAND TRUNK (9)
DOMINION DAY CHAMPIONS
BALMY BEACH (2)
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS August 7
1920 Book of Champions Medalists
Carleton Place, ON; Mississippi River; Carleton Place Canoe Club
# Club Pts
1
OTTAWA NEW EDINBURGH (2) 12
1
BALMY BEACH (3) 12
3
ISLAND 10 (9)

4
Carleton Place 8
5
Grand Trunk 7
6
Rideau 6
7
Parkdale 5 (7)
9
Lachine Rowing 2
9
Toronto 2 (3)
Ottawa Citizen, Aug 9, 1920
Toronto World, Aug 9, 1920
Ottawa Journal, Aug 9, 1920
Tabulation of Points
In the August 6, 1951 edition of the Ottawa Citizen, Balmy Beach's win is claimed to be their first since 1919, ignoring their first place finish in 1920. Ottawa Citizen, Aug 9, 1920 indeed claims that Ottawa-New Edinburgh and Balmy Beach "tied for aggregate prize." This is also confirmed in "100 Years of Champions." See below.
The Toronto Globe article lists slightly different points totals from the other papers. It is unclear why.


The 1920 Grand Aggregate Prize
Currently on display at the Ottawa New Edinburgh Club
(The Grand Aggregate Prize was officially abolished
at the May 1921 AGM)

DIVISIONAL TITLE
# Division Pts
1 Western 31
2 Northern 26
3 Eastern 9
DIVISIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
NORTHERN DIVISION July 24
Ottawa, ON, Ottawa River; Ottawa Canoe Club
# Club Pts  
1
Ottawa-New Edinburgh (14) 26
2
Rideau 22
3
Carleton Place 13
4
Britannia 4
Ottawa Citizen, July 26, 1920
WESTERN DIVISION July 31
Toronto, ON, Lake Ontario; Balmy Beach Canoe Club
# Club Pts  
1
Balmy Beach (2) 31
2
Parkdale 15
3
Island 13
3
Toronto 7
       
Toronto World, August 2, 1920
EASTERN DIVISION July 24
Lachine, QC, Lac St-Louis; Lachine Racing Canoe Club
# Club Pts
1
Grand Trunk (9) 23
2
St. Lambert 11
3
Lachine Rowing 9
4
Longueuil 5
5
Chateauguay 4
6
Lachine Racing 3
7
Cartierville 2
Montreal Gazette, July 26, 1920
* The Lachine Boating Club formed two disciplines (Rowing and Racing) upon revival in 1919. Both disciplines competed in CCA regattas and used the same LBC penant.
DOMINION DAY REGATTA July 1
# Club Pts
Toronto, ON, Hanlan's Bay, DDRA
1
Balmy Beach (2) ?
2
Parkdale ?
3
Island ?
4
Toronto ?
Toronto Star, July 2, 1920
 
 
The 1920 Problem

The 1920 championship is a bit curious in that it is the first recorded tie for the championship. The results listed in C. Fred Johnston's "100 Years of Champions" have been taken from local newspaper listings, carefully recorded by the author. I myself have taken the same results from the Ottawa Citizen (Aug 9, 1920) and the Toronto World (Aug 9, 1920). Using these results, and using the points system used at the time (1st = 3 pts, 2nd = 2 pts, 3rd = 1 pt), Balmy Beach and Ottawa-New Edinburgh indeed should have tied for the championship. This is what is recorded by the Canadian Canoe Association and the Balmy Beach Canoe Club*.

Some questions remain: Why is 1920 often omitted from Balmy Beach's history (newspapers)? Why does Ottawa-New Edinburgh have in its possession a "Grand Aggregate" trophy for 1920?

  • It is important to note that, based on the table below, the intermediate events must have counted towards the grand aggregate after WWI since this is the only way the two clubs could have tied on points
Recorded Winner: OTTAWA-NEW EDINBURGH / BALMY BEACH
Actual Winner: OTTAWA-NEW EDINBURGH / BALMY BEACH



CCA AGM Meeting Minutes Excerpt 1920
Observations

1. Notice how the Toronto World article claims that "Carleton Place" ties Balmy Beach and then wins the Championship. It's hard enough to trust these articles without the writers making gaffes like these... It should read "Ottawa-New Edinburgh tie Balmy Beach." Carleton Place was the host, not the winner...

2. Only the Toronto World article makes any reference to the coin toss, but they mention it twice: in the headline and in the opening paragraph.

3. Articles in the Ottawa Citizen, Aug 6, 1951, state that Balmy Beach hadn't won the championship since 1919. This implies that Balmy Beach did not win in 1920 which would lend credence to the Toronto World article. But Balmy Beach definitely did not win in 1927, so perhaps there is some free licence with the journalism...

4. I could see a coin toss being necessary if the statistics were identical (same number of firsts, seconds, etc.) In soccer, it is the final resort after all other scenarios have been exhausted. I would also find it difficult to believe that a club would be okay with handing over the championship on a coin toss after all of the hard work that went into earning the points. Imagine if Balmy Beach had won the coin toss. Ottawa-New Edinburgh had more firsts and would probably feel significantly ripped off... The fact that both clubs still claim the championship to this day shows that the coin toss was likely irrelevant to the aggregate honours.

5. Of course, there is also the ambiguous statement in the Ottawa Journal article that claims, "Though the Burghs tried hard to land the high aggregate they were beaten out by the Balmy Beach crew." This seems to be the complete opposite of the coin toss situation in the Toronto World article.

6. Alan McCullough kindly shared a photograph from ONECC detailing a "Grand Aggregate 1920" trophy presented to Ottawa-New Edinburgh Canoe Club. The only evidence of this trophy in the CCA AGM minutes is in 1921 when they pass a motion to cease presenting one. The only other mention of a trophy is in the 1914 Toronto World and Ottawa Journal (July 28, 1914) articles, as well as the Toronto Globe, August 9, 1915, so trophies may have been handed out to the club aggregate winner for many years before 1920. But there wasn't a tie until 1920... ;)

7. As for the coin toss, the text from the CCA minutes seems to indicate that the coin toss was only used to determine who received the physical trophy. The tie in points still remains as a joint victory for both clubs. It is also noted in the minutes that a policy must be put in place to prevent this situation from occuring in future. (see 1923 and 1927)

Verdict

1. Ottawa-New Edinburgh and Balmy Beach are still the joint winners of the championship in 1920.

2. Balmy Beach had the 1927 championship listed in their achievements for quite some time. In corresponding with their historian*, it turns out that they should have been listing 1920, and not 1927. It is also confirmed in the CCA minutes that Balmy Beach did not win in 1927. This maintains their number of championship wins at five.

* correspondence with K. Bingham, Balmy Beach, Aug 15, 2014
L. Birch