The Gananoque Canoe Club will hold a reunion on Wednesday at the Thousand Islands Boat Museum.
The event begins at 4 p.m. and runs until 7 p.m. Presentations are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. for coach recognitions for Dudley Matthews, Ron Truesdell, Rick White and Ben Tackaberry.
"It was originally for (canoe club members/participants) from the '60s, '70s, but it's also open to anyone who is still around," said Sandra Wright, a longtime club member who helped organize this reunion. “It’s open to anyone to come down and enjoy it. We’re also recognizing four coaches from that time.”
The Thousand Islands Boat Museum has taken the event under its wing. The museum has memorabilia from the club that will be on display during the reunion.
"They’ll have videos running, photos, even older memorabilia from the ‘20s and ‘30s, some boats that they’ll have on display,” said Wright.
People attending the reunion are asked to bring any scrapbooks or other memorabilia to share paddling memories.
The Gananoque Canoe Club began in 1906 when a group of young men getting off work at local factories and farms would meet at the waterfront to engage in a friendly canoe racing competition. Others soon joined in, and teams were formed to race against other local groups.
Nowadays, the club supports a more recreational paddling program for adults. Most participants have paddled in their youth and are reconnecting with the sport themselves. Some have children in the summer camp program. There's also a competitive component to the club.
"I paddled for six, seven years, started around '68," Wright said. “Most of us paddled for the camaraderie. We were all young teens, and it was fun. You’d go and gather with your friends, then party, and it was memories we created that we have for life. It was great memories created in little Gananoque. A lot of us had part time jobs but we found time to paddle and get together with friends. It also kept us active and off the streets. We got exercise and we learned team spirit."
(Keith Dempsey is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.)
Keith Dempsey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times