Club History

The Regina Rowing Club celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2007. Our predecessor, the Regina Boat Club (RBC), was established on June 15, 1907 as a private boating and yachting club. The club colours were dark blue and white, and Charles E. Wood was the first president. The first boathouse was built in 1910 on the north side of the lake, close to the start of our 1000-metre course. A stone cairn marks the location. That year, the membership was 186. The RBC was "the best in the west" and was the most popular of all summer amusements in Regina.

Charles E.D. Wood (1st RRC president), S.B. Nelles, Roy Hamilton & G.H. Marsh in front of an unfinished Legislative Building in Regina, circa 1910.

Charles E.D. Wood (1st RRC president), S.B. Nelles, Roy Hamilton & G.H. Marsh in front of an unfinished Legislative Building in Regina, circa 1910.

The first annual Dominion Day Regatta was held on July 1, 1910 with motor boat races, four-oared shells, skiff races, ladies' sculling, canoe races, swimming, diving, and lifesaving competitions. The regatta was dubbed "Henley in Miniature." This annual regatta was cancelled in 1912 as a tornado destroyed the boathouse and equipment on June 30 – the day before the event.

In 1912-13, the boathouse was rebuilt thanks to $600 in the bank and each member contributing $10 in addition to their $15 annual membership fee - up from $10 the year before. Saturday night dances at the RBC with an admission charge of 50 cents were the highlight of Regina's social calendar during the summer months. The RBC stayed active during World War I, despite most of its members enlisting and many not returning.

In 1924, women's rowing started with Harry Murray (Ian and Gavin Mitchell's grandfather) coaching the first women's crew. The club traveled to regattas in Port Arthur (Thunder Bay), Duluth, Winnipeg and Minneapolis.

In 1931-32, the government drained Wascana Lake to build the Albert Street bridge as well as Willow and Goose Islands. With this, dust storms and The Great Depression, rowing ceased until 1933, when it took off again with more than 200 members. This year saw the first official newsletter, The Water Log, being published and sold weekly for 25 cents a copy. The '30s saw Harry Duckett as a new member who went on to achieve national recognition as an oarsman and a coach at the same time. In 1938, Harry, along with crew members Jack Peart, Newt Hughes, and Dick Priest, won the Junior and Senior 4- at the Royal Canadian Henley and were named as Canada's 4 to the 1940 Olympic Games. These Games were cancelled due to World War II.

During WWII, the club was dormant, as most of the male members had enlisted. In 1947-48, a new two-storey boathouse was constructed on Willow Island from surplus army huts. In 1949, the RBC hosted its first NWIRA at Regina Beach with more than 3,000 spectators on the second day of competition.

In the 1950s, the club continued to grow and do well and 1959 saw its largest membership – more than 400. That year also saw so little water in Wascana that "a bird could walk across the Lake without getting its feet wet."

In 1964, the RBC disbanded largely due to the Lake being filled with weeds. During the '60s and '70s, all the equipment was either destroyed or sold. The bridge to the island and the boathouse were removed. Rowing in Regina was dead.

In 1974, Harry Duckett, Al Kerr, and Jack Peart decided to rebuild the RBC for the 1975 Western Canada Summer Games in Regina. Under their new name – the Regina Rowing Club – they borrowed equipment from the Winnipeg Rowing Club and eventually bought a new 4-. The new club grew steadily in the late 1970s under the leadership of Harry, Al Kerr, Bob Wallace, Don Jesse, and Bob Ellard. In 1978 we hosted the first annual Western Canada Sprints Regatta with participants coming from Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton. In 1980, the club hosted the North West International Rowing Association Regatta in Fort Qu'Appelle.

In 2005, the Regina Rowing Club was the site of the rowing venue for the 2005 Jeux du Canada Games, hosting the country’s top under-21 aged athletes for one week. In 2007, the club hosted the North West International Rowing Association Championships, only the third time in the club’s history.