George W. Carson
Ca
rleton Place Canoe Club
 
 
1923
 
NATIONAL CHAMPIONS
RIDEAU (1)
NORTHERN DIVISION CHAMPIONS
RIDEAU (2)
WESTERN DIVISION CHAMPIONS
HUMBER BAY (2)
EASTERN DIVISION CHAMPIONS
GRAND TRUNK (12)
DOMINION DAY CHAMPIONS
TORONTO (19)
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS August 4
1923 Book of Champions Medalists
Ottawa, ON; Ottawa River; Ottawa-New Edinburgh Canoe Club
# Club Pts
1 RIDEAU (1) 8
2 TORONTO 8
3 HUMBER BAY 7

4 Longueuil 6
4 Lachine 6
6 Valois 5
6 St. Rose 5
8 Grand Trunk 4
8 Balmy Beach 4
10  Parkdale 3
10  Ottawa-New Edinburgh
10  Cartierville 3
10  Carleton Place 3
14  Island 1
15
Chateauguay 0
15
St. Lambert 0
15
Britannia 0
Montreal Gazette, Aug 6, 1923
Ottawa Journal, Aug 6, 1923
Tabulation of Points

DIVISIONAL TITLE
# Division Pts
1 Eastern 29
2 Western 23
3 Northern 14
DIVISIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
NORTHERN DIVISION July 21
Ottawa, ON, Mooney's Bay; Rideau Aquatic Club
# Club Pts  
1
Rideau (2) 28
2
Carleton Place 18
3
Ottawa-New Edinburgh 14
4
Britannia 6
Ottawa Citizen, July 23, 1923
Ottawa Journal, July 23, 1923
WESTERN DIVISION July 21
St. Catharines, ON, Henley Course; Western Division
# Club Pts
1
Humber Bay (2) 24
2
Toronto 15
3
Island 10
3
Balmy Beach 10
5
Parkdale 6
6
Niagara District 0
Toronto Globe, July 23, 1923
Ottawa Citizen, July 23, 1923
EASTERN DIVISION July 21
Longueuil, QC, St. Lawrence River; Longueuil BC
# Club Pts  
1
Grand Trunk (12) 19
2
Valois 10
3
Ste-Rose 9
4
Lachine 8
4
Cartierville 8
6
Longueuil 6
7
St. Lambert 5
8
Chateauguay 1
Montreal Gazette, July 23, 1923
INTERNATIONAL REGATTA July
1923
Washington, DC, USA Potomac River
CANADA
* These results are unknown
1st
 

Competitors:

DOMINION DAY REGATTA July 1
# Club Pts
Toronto, ON, Hanlan's Bay, DDRA
1
Toronto (19) 15
2
Humber Bay 12
3
Island 9
4
Balmy Beach 6
5
Parkdale 5
6
Kew Beach 0
Toronto Star, July 3, 1923
* It appears that the events involving women were not counted towards the overall points totals, unlike the previous year, namely the Ladies C-15 (4 points to Kew Beach and 2 to Balmy Beach) and the Mixed Tandem (5 points to Balmy Beach and 1 to Island). Beach would have been second with 13 points.
The 1923 Problem

CCA records indicate that the 1923 championship went to Parkdale Canoe Club. 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 various newspapers (see below). Using these results, and using the points system used at the time (1st = 3 pts, 2nd = 2 pts, 3rd = 1 pt), Parkdale would not have won the championship. Rideau Aquatic Club, edging out Toronto Canoe Club on first placings, would be the winner.

Certain points to consider:

  • the point system of 5/2/1 was not officially introduced until 1928.
  • The exact year that Intermediate events counted towards the overall points aggregate is a little unclear, but it most certainly occurred before WWI. The table below shows the points with Senior only, Senior + Junior and then Senior + Junior + Intermediate. The latter is what was reported in the newspaper and is the case for all championships post-WWI.
Recorded Winner: PARKDALE
Actual Winner: RIDEAU
click on images to zoom in

 
Toronto Globe, Aug 6, 1923
1960 Erroneous CCA Program

This is the first time that previous "burgee" winners were printed in the Championship program. The problem is that this information has been perpetuated for years, believed to be true. See notes below.

Observations

1. Since Parkdale Canoe Club and Humber Bay Canoe Club were located next to each other on Humber Bay itself (Humber Bay possibly being an offshoot or splinter club from Parkdale), it is entirely possible that their names could have been interchanged at some point.

2. The Gazette headline says "Toronto Crew Won." This is most certainly a reference to the Parkdale Canoe Club, a "Toronto crew" of considerable repute at the time who did win the most popular race in the Open Mile War Canoe. This may have been extended to Parkdale having won the regatta...

3. The second image above says quite clearly,"Rideau . . . tied for the club honors with Toronto." The Ottawa Journal says basically the same...

4. According to the Toronto World, Aug 9, 1920, on the occasion of Ottawa-New Edinburgh and Balmy Beach tied on points for the overall aggregate, they tossed a coin with Ottawa-NE winning the toss for the rights to the aggregate trophy. In the minutes for the next CCA Annual General Meeting, the issue of the tie was brought up and it was moved that a scenario be devised to eliminate the possibility of a tie in future years. The only evidence of this scenario is in the 1927 AGM minutes in the instance of the tie between Rideau and Balmy Beach (see 1927) which states very clearly that the club with more "firsts" breaks the tie. This scenario was likely in place by 1923 (Rideau had 2 firsts, Toronto, none) meaning that Toronto Canoe Club never laid claim to the aggregate honours.

5. The above points totals are also put forward by Alan McCullough on the www.sailonec.com website.

6. It is interesting to note that in Toronto S&CC's centennial publication, it is stated that paddlers "helped to win the CCA Aggregate Burgee for TS&CC in 1952 - only the second time in the club's history; the other time being in 1926." This statement uses the term burgee to pre-date the 1927 introduction of the burgee, and only recognises 1926 as a championship year. Why doesn't Toronto recognise the championship run from 1908 to 1914? Is it because there was no "aggregate trophy" (see 1920) before WWI? (there was) Was there no prize awarded to the top club before 1919? (there was) Or is it because 1926 is the only other "burgee" won by the club (Toronto having fashioned its own burgee before the introduction of the official burgee by CCA in 1927). This statement also clarifies that Toronto makes no claim to 1923.

7. The issue of the 1960 program above sparks many questions, especially about the "burgee". In the CCA AGM minutes, it is very clear that in 1926, the motion is put forward to award a commemorative championship burgee to the overall club points winner. This was adopted in 1927 and it clearly indicates that the 1927 champion would be the first club to receive this burgee (Rideau). It also states that the previous two winners (Toronto 1926 and Rideau 1925) would be "reimbursed" for their purchases of burgees for the past two years. This seems to indicate that in 1925, clubs were able to obtain their own commemorative burgee from the association but on their own dime. This lends credence to Toronto having "won" a burgee in 1926, although it was actually "purchased"...

8. The 1960 program also seems to be the first time that the 1923 and 1924 champions are listed incorrectly. In the CCA AGM minutes, the overall aggregate points for 1924 are clearly listed, showing Humber Bay as the winning club. I stand by my assertion that there was an innocent swap of champions (Rideau 1923 / Humber Bay 1924) and that the Humber Bay club was inadvertently written down or changed to "Parkdale" by someone who wasn't fully aware that there were other clubs on Humber Bay at the time.

9. The statement in the 1960 program that 1922 was the first year that points were recorded is misleading. There is no indication in the CCA AGM minutes that this was the case. Points totals had been recorded in the papers since 1904. Clubs had been vying for "aggregate honours" for years pre-dating 1922. Also, in 1920, a grand aggregate trophy was presented to the highest points-earning club. The "burgee" was not officially introduced until 1927 (also stated in the minutes), so until further proof can be found, I am inclined to believe that this is an outright error.

10. As a side note, 1923 was a bit of a contentious year, seeing commodore George W. Carson resign his position in the middle of a tension-filled meeting. The envelope on which he scribbled his resignation is preserved in the CCA Minute Book.

Verdict

1. 1923 would be the first championship for Rideau, and not 1924 (see 1924). This does not change the number of championships for the club.

2. For Toronto, their history recognises (on top of 1908-1914) the 1926 championship as the Toronto Canoe Club and 1952 as the Toronto Sailing & Canoe Club. 1923 would have been an unfortunate loss.

3. Parkdale would now have only the single 1921 championship to their credit. They clearly did not win the title in 1923 and should never have been credited as such.

 
L. Birch