Loan Success: Guelph Rowing Club Boat House

February 2014

In 2006, the Guelph Rowing Club (GRC) applied for a loan from WWCFDC to build a boathouse on Guelph Lake.  The club had been operating for several years and wanted to develop a summer school for rowing, but needed a safe facility to store their boats and provide shelter in case of a storm.  This was a complicated loan because the land that the asset would be built on was owned by the Grand River Conservation Authority.   

The WWCFDC Board approved the loan and the boathouse was built in 2007.  In the few short years since, the club has grown and had some impressive successes.  The Masters Rowing (athletes 21 years of age and older) has grown from a core group of 6 or 7 athletes to some 200 men and women.  The Masters Program has a Recreation component where people row for fitness and socialization, as well as competitive athletes.  Over the past several years, GRC has been represented at regattas in Southwestern Ontario and beyond, including Canadian Masters Championships, US Masters Championships, FISA World Masters Championships, and the Head of the Charles in Boston.  GRC athletes have been gold, silver and bronze medalists in many of these regattas.

GRC also provides high school and varsity programs for rowers.  The first major breakthrough for a Guelph High School graduate was when Centennial CVI rower Victoria Jewitt won silver at the Canadian University Rowing Championships in Montreal, while rowing for the University of GuelphThe Guelph High School Program finally achieved the pinnacle of rowing in Canada in 2012.  Guelph's first gold medal at the Canadian HS Championships came when a Junior Quad from Ross CVI won the final.

Soon after the move to the new boathouse, graduates from the High School Program began to appear routinely on 1st-string Varsity rowing crews across Ontario and beyond, including Queens, Brock, Western, Trent, McGill, Ryerson, and Dalhousie.  Guelph became known as a producer of technically solid rowers, with great attitudes and the will to compete.  A number of these rowers became "Academic All Canadians" and represented the community of Guelph well, with Adam Rabalski making the Canadian Men's Under 23 National Team.  Adam is now training with a goal of competing in the Rio 2016 Olympics.

The boathouse has fostered growth in all GRC programs by providing a functional and secure facility for their equipment, and a focal point for our athletes to gather and train together.  

As an unexpected consequence of the facility, a rower whose parents were relocating to Waterloo from Georgia chose to live in Guelph, thanks to the opportunities offered by the Guelph Rowing Club High School Program

The President of the Guelph Rowing Club summarized the support as follows:  ”In summary, the support provided by the WWCFDC has been vital to the development of the GRC and the many people it has been able to serve for sport, recreation and fitness in the Guelph, Wellington and Waterloo regions.  Please accept our sincere thanks for your pivotal support.”