INTRODUCTION to the Online Edition  
The Book of Champions
Summer 2017
  Liam Birch
London, Ontario

Little did I know back in 2002 when I started painting watercolour renditions of some old canoeing jerseys that I would begin a long and sometimes baffling journey through the history of sprint canoe racing. My desire to see all of the racing singlets side by side led to the creation of "Canada's Sprint Canoe Clubs," the book, and now the online compendium.

It was during the research for that project that I found myself turning to C. Fred Johnston's "100 Years of Champions" at every turn, consulting nearly every page of data and cross-referencing athlete names, dates and achievements. My copy is now beaten up and barely fit for display, but it has been worth it.

I have always been in awe of the sheer amount of knowledge that Fred possesses regarding the sport of canoe racing. No one will ever be able to replace him in his status as a canoeing historian and I certainly make no claims to that regard. With Fred's blessing, I have taken on the mantle of his Book of Champions, if only to keep it alive for a new generation and to reach a wider audience of people interested in the information and insight it has to offer.

What you see today on this website is the culmination of many months of transcription, carefully copying the data in Fred's book to a web format that would be both readable and navigable. With the advent of the internet, entries are now hyperlinked to their respective club pages on the Canada's Sprint Canoe Clubs site, along with links to photographs of the championship teams where those pictures have been provided to me. The addition of colour to this record certainly enhances the research and makes it a simple task to chart the successes of a club through the colour pattern of their logo through the years.

Since the publication of "100 Years of Champions" a lot has happened. Sixteen years worth of champions have been added to the event pages. New events have been added to the national championships program, new age classes have been introduced, and new trophies have been donated to the Association.

A significant aspect of the new online version is the addition of first names for all competitors. For this, I have had to rely on my personal memory and correspondence with a multitude of paddlers across the country. Publications such as Mike Scott and Allan Billard's anniversary books (Rideau and Banook, respectively) provided a lot of information and insight into various crew members. One thing that was solidified for me was that paddling is truly a sport for families. You can see the family trees in these pages if you look close enough.

Finally, as with the versions before this one, the opportunity for error correction rears its awkward head. I have been able to address a number of errors from previous versions as well as make notes in reference to questionable results and times. But the likelihood of an error-free resource is almost impossible. The good news is that we have technology on our side meaning that errors can be corrected instantaneously. Yearly data can be added to this Book of Champions as soon as it occurs without the prospect of a twenty-year wait between updated editions.

This is a Book of Champions that everyone can own. I look forward to your comments, suggestions, advice, and, as always, your corrections.