Canoe-Kayak Community Clubs

HIGH ACHIEVERS: Rideau Canoe Club keeps active despite cancelled competitive season

HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic

By Martin Cleary

The water in front of the Rideau Canoe Club is quiet now as the canoes, kayaks and paddles have been stored, after a cancelled competitive season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But on shore, the Purple Spirit is alive.

While one of Ottawa’s oldest amateur sporting clubs felt the effects of the pandemic to its programs, the administrators, coaches and athletes look positively towards 2021 with fund raising projects, nationals and uplifting athlete and coach news.

The club, which has produced Olympic and world champions and medallists, is in the middle of raising $50,000 in its Donate for the Dock project. The City of Ottawa is once again supporting this initiative by matching every donation dollar-for-dollar.

The campaign has raised $25,000 to date for a series of articulated floating docks. They are urgently needed and will increase the club’s dock capacity and provide safe launching for all paddlers, including Dragon Boat, para and Paddle-All racers.

Donors giving $10 or more will receive a tax receipt and will be recognized on the club’s fund-raising site. A future board at the club will reflect the major donors, who contributed $250 or more. Check to learn about making a donation.

Lucy Slade. File photo

Dragon Boat racers and alumni also are raising funds for Donate for the Dock and there are plans to name the dock in honour of former Rideau paddler Lucy Slade, who died of cancer Jan. 14, 2011.

Slade was part of the Rideau community from 1981 to the late 1990s, winning 14 medals, including three gold, at the Canadian championships. In 1991, she also won four gold at the Canada Summer Games and a silver at the Pan-Am Games.

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Rideau was expected to stage the 2020 Canadian championships, but it was cancelled in May because of the health concerns surrounding COVID-19. But in September, Canoe Kayak Canada announced Rideau as the site of the 2021 nationals.

Scott Bradley, Paul Pageau and Anna Wilkinson are the co-chairs for the Canadian championships and former Olympian Sue Holloway is the honourary chair. Rideau has won the overall national points title nine times, including three of the past 5 years.

Rideau officials recently met with Nepean MPP Lisa MacLeod, the Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, to talk about safely staging the week-long championships. The club also is working Canoe/Kayak Canada and federal, provincial and local health officials.

Para kayaker Gabe Ferron-Bouius has been awarded a full Ontario Athlete Assistance Program para card to help his training. A former hockey and rugby player, who has a right-foot prosthetic, Ferron-Bouius started kayaking in 2019 and has excelled. He trains with national team members.

The club also said farewell to two of its coaches as Mihail Oghina has become the head coach for the North Bay Canoe Club and Andres Carranco, who has a degree in biosciences/kinesiology, has stepped out of the sport.

Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 47 years. The Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree “retired” from the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but has continued to write his High Achievers column for the Citizen/Sun.

When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at

When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at

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