INTRODUCTION to the 1st Edition  
The Book of Champions
  C. Fred Johnston
Past Commodore
Skibbereen Castle, Odessa

1974 was the year preceding the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Canadian Canoe Association and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Association I was involved in planning for upcoming celebrations. A pre-Olympic regatta to be held at the new aquatic basin in Montreal was to be incorporated into the anniversary festivities as Canoe Canada '75. The first visit of European paddlers to Canada for a major competition appeared to be an opportune time to familiarize our sporting guests with the colourful canoeing heritage that is Canada's. But my efforts to document that heritage were frustrated by a lack of information from within the Association; and going outside the Association to libraries and archives proved no more successful. I realised that it was a much more ambitious task than I had originally contemplated and I had to settle for a modest paper, The First Canadian Canoe Association Championships, August 4, 1900, which was printed in the 1975 Championship program.

But that initial paper launched me on a personal quest to rediscover our competitive canoeing heritage.

My efforts to locate information have been enhanced immeasurably by supporters of the Canadian Canoe Association Archives Collection which was founded in 1975. Edgar T. Alberts, Commodore in 1936, was the first to make a donation: his personal correspondence, annual reports, regatta programs, news clippings, photographs and other memorabilia. Moreover, he made it his personal mission to introduce me to others who made substantial contributions. Perhaps the most outstanding donation to the Archives Collection was made by William Cleevely, Commodore in 1946 and Secretary-Treasurer 1958-1964, who donated the original Association Minute Book 1912-1948 as well as the Minute Books of the Eastern Division of the CCA, 1905-1952. Throughout those minute books appears the name of Edgar Gilbert who established an unparalleled record of dedication and service as Secretary of the Eastern Division, 1926-1950 and the National Association, 1931-1949 whereupon he was chosen as the first Honourary Commodore, a position he held until his death in 1966.

This Book of Champions is one product of the quest which was launched in 1975; it owes much to two other dedicated supporters of the sport, Frank Clement and E. Ralph Reilly. Frank Clement began his paddling career with the Lachine Racing Canoe Club. Commodore of the CCA in 1934 and Secretary-Treasurer, 1965-1969, he assembled the first Book of Records in 1967 as his contribution to Canada's Centennial and to his sport. E. Ralph Reilly, a Toronto Island Canoe Club supporter who became Commodore in 1951 and the first full-time Executive Director, 1971-1976, updated Clement's publication in 1972. This edition builds upon the efforts of these two sportsmen.

A number of significant additions have been made: a chronology has been assembled; the list of Commodores has been augmented to include the other Executive and Honourary Officers; information relating to regatta sites has been included for each annual championship event; and finally, Canada's international record has been upgraded and the whole embellished with a selection of photographs.

This Book of Champions will, I hope, become a basic reference for those who wish to go beyond the bare events, dates and names, to delve into the drama of the sport and to breathe life into the personalities of the great champion competitors and builders.

I am indebted to Lise Porter the present Association Statistician for providing me with the results of recent Association Championships and information relating to the Atlantic Division Clubs. Nelson Saunders did likewise with Western Division Clubs. Ross Bales, the Association's Technical Director has taken more than a passing interest in this project and has contributed material and ideas which have substantially altered the original intent - and the amount of work. I owe a special debt of gratitude to the lady who typed the manuscript, Jill Wing. Not only did she type the manuscript, she resolved innumerable problems of layout associated with the many charts. Kathy Panchuk took the word-processed copy and formatted the whole using a new desktop publishing program to produce camera ready copy.

The sources of information for this publication make it difficult to assure the reader that it is without error. For the mistakes and omissions, I alone am responsible. Of course, I will appreciate receiving any information which will enhance the accuracy of a future edition.

Per aquas ad fraternitatem
(Through the waters to friendship)