Burnaby Lake Rowing Club

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Burnaby Lake Rowing Club
Burnaby Lake Rowing Club Logo.svg
LocationBurnaby, British Columbia
Founded1966 (1966)
AffiliationsRowing Canada

The Burnaby Lake Rowing Club (BLRC) is a rowing club located at Burnaby Lake in the City of Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.


The Burnaby Lake Aquatic Club (BLAC) was founded in 1966.[1][2][3] In 1989, the club changed its name to the Burnaby Lake Rowing Club (BLRC). The club has helped produce many world-class rowers.[4][5][6] For the list of Burnaby Lake Rowers at the Olympics, see below.

Early Years

In 1966, rowers Max Wieczorek,[7] Daryl Sturdy,[8] Roger Jackson and Robert Stubbs[9] decided to train at Burnaby Lake. They lacked a coach, equipment and facilities. They approached Lawrence West[10] who agreed to coach them. The crew loaned a coxed four rowing shell from the Lake Washington Rowing Club in Seattle, US, as well as four oars from the Shawnigan Lake School (SLS) in Vancouver Island. In addition, SLS's coxswain Billy Wheaton came from the city of Victoria to train with the crew during the summer. The Burnaby Lake Boosters Association[note 1] enlisted the Reeve (Mayor) of Burnaby, Allan Emmott[11] to be part of the group to support the oarsmen under the name Burnaby Lake Aquatic Club. Through the generosity of the Municipality, the club was able to operate out of an abandoned house at the bottom of Piper Avenue. The Vancouver Sun newspaper published an article[1] about the crew: "Oar deep in lily pads, the crew of the Burnaby Lake Aquatic Club starts looking into open water. That's 18-year-old coxswain Bill Wheaton looking forlornly over his shoulder as Daryl Sturdy, Max Wieczorek, Roger Jackson and Bob Stubbs heave to in an effort to escape the green jungle." Ken Oakes, a Vancouver Sun photographer, took a picture of the crew out in the lily pads. The photo and story were featured in newspapers across the country, in the magazines Life[12] and Paris Match.

In 1968, Daryl Sturdy and Robert Stubbs rowed in the 2x for Canada at the Mexico City Olympics.[13] Both of them personally contributed $500.00 to be on the team to Mexico while the rowers from eastern Canada didn't have to. Harry Jerome suggested setting up a provincial association to get a more equitable distribution of funds forthcoming from the province. After the Olympics, the British Columbia Rowing Association (BCRA)[14] was founded in 1969.

The Burnaby Lake rowing course was dredged in 1971-1972,[15][16] in preparation for the 1973 Canada Summer Games.

In 1973, Rowing Canada Aviron (RCA) established the first national training centre at Burnaby Lake. At that time, the organization was called the Canadian Association of Amateur Oarsmen (CAAO). Alan Roaf[17] was the RCA's first professional coach. Initially, Allan was the only national coach at the lake. As the buildup to the Montreal Olympics in 1976 continued, more male rowers were training at the lake. Then the female rowers under Lawrence West[10] emerged. The Canadian national rowing team transitioned from a club to a composite crew development program conceived by Martin Bielz,[18] who was the Technical Director of the RCA at that time. Burnaby Lake was the center of this transition. After the Montreal Olympics, in the 1977-78 season, Patrick Sweeney[19] joined the Burnaby Lake club to coach the women.

Later Years

Robert Stubbs invited Richard (Dick) McClure[20] to join the club in 1976. Initially, Dick engaged in boat maintenance and fundraising. In 1978, Dick started coaching junior rowers. From 1980 to 2010, he was the club's volunteer head coach. During his tenure, 58 Burnaby Lake rowers become members of the Canadian national rowing team.

Over the years, the lake deteriorated as a result of natural infilling and sedimentation. The rowing course[21] was dredged again in 2010-2012[22][23] to rejuvenate the lake's precious open-water quality.

The club works closely with Rowing Canada and BC Rowing, and continues to run programs for all levels of rowing and has strong Novice, Junior, Senior and Masters programs.


The club uses a 2,000 metre long water course along Burnaby Lake. The course has an east-west orientation. For regattas, the course is buoyed with a six-lane albano system. The course is one of three FISA standard courses in Canada.[24] It provides ideal racing conditions with calm waters and minimal wind.[25]


The club's membership includes around 90 members.[26]

Lifetime Membership

The club bestows a Life membership to an individual who has given an outstanding contribution to the sport of rowing. Life members include: Kathleen Heddle, Richard (Dick) McClure, Charles Edward (Ned) Pratt.,[27] Frank Read,[28] Glen Smith, Tricia Smith and Robert Stubbs[9]

Burnaby Lake Rowers at the Olympics[edit]

The club members rowing for Canada at the Olympic games include:


  1. ^ The Burnaby Lake Boosters Association (BLBA) was incorporated in 1936 under the BC Societies Act with an aim to create a recreational area around the lake for water sports, nature trails and bird watching, as well as to improve the quality of the lake.


  1. ^ a b "Today the lilies ... tomorrow, the world". Vancouver Sun Sports. Vancouver, British Columbia. July 22, 1966. p. 21.
  2. ^ "Former Olympians reunite 47 years after competing in 1968 Mexico City Games". Osoyoos Times. Osoyoos, British Columbia. August 19, 2015. After graduating from university, Stubbs and Sturdy were the founding members of the Burnaby Lake Rowing Club back in 1966.
  3. ^ Henley Promotion Committee (July 1968). 86th Annual Royal Canadian Henley Official Program (PDF) (Report). Royal Canadian Henley Regatta, St. Catharines, Ontario: Lincoln Graphics Limited. p. 7. Royal Canadian Henley Champions — 1967, Junior Singles D. Sturdy, Burnaby Lake A.C., Burnaby Lake, B.C
  4. ^ "Award of Excellence: Burnaby Lake Rejuvenation". Canadian Consulting Engineer Magazine. Toronto, Ontario. October 1, 2012. The lake has been re-established as a world-class rowing venue and facility, with the Burnaby Lake Rowing Club once again considered a top training facility in North America.
  5. ^ "Masters rowing to be held in Burnaby". Burnaby Now. Burnaby, British Columbia. May 29, 2013.
  6. ^ "Rowers ready for World Cup". Burnaby Now. Burnaby, British Columbia. March 31, 2016. Two members of the team of 28 are products of the Burnaby Lake Rowing Club.
  7. ^ "Max Wieczorek". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com.
  8. ^ a b "Daryl Sturdy". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com.
  9. ^ a b c "Robert Stubbs". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com.
  10. ^ a b "Laurie West". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com.
  11. ^ "Alan Herbert Emmott". From the Heart, The Freemen Legacy. City of Burnaby, Metro Vancouver, British Columbia.
  12. ^ "Whither now, coxswain?". Life, Time Inc. New York City, US. Aug 26, 1966. p. 94.
  13. ^ "Canada Rowing at the 1968 Olympics". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com.
  14. ^ "About Rowing BC - Rowing BC".
  15. ^ "Province invests $10m for Burnaby Lake rejuvenation" (Press release). June 6, 2008. A rowing venue was initially created on Burnaby Lake in the early 1970s for the 1973 Canada Summer Games.
  16. ^ Director Parks, Recreation And Cultural Services City of Burnaby (November 15, 2001). "Burnaby Lake Rejuvenation Plan". The last lake dredging done in Burnaby Lake in 1971/72 was based on a 2m depth.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ Suzanne Mulligan, Life Member Oral History Australia (October 27, 2011). "Alan Roaf - international rowing coach". Oral History Interviews. Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
  18. ^ Doug Gilbert (March 27, 1975). "Has Amateur Rowing Brass Sunk Olympic Dream?". The Montreal Gazette. Montreal, Quebec. p. 99.
  19. ^ "Patrick Sweeney Named K-State Rowing Coach". K-State Athletics. July 29, 2003. Archived from the original on November 1, 2016. Retrieved February 19, 2016. He moved on to his first head coaching position in 1977 with the Burnaby Lake Club team. In two years, Sweeney helped the club to four Canadian national titles, two U.S. national titles and three Canadian Henley wins. The women's varsity eight captured the bronze medal at the World Championships. In all, 14 of Sweeneys athletes were named to the Canadian National Team.
  20. ^ "Dick McClure". Inductees for 1999 at BC Sports Hall of Fame.
  21. ^ "Rowing helps clean up Canada's Burnaby Lake". Environment at WorldRowing.com. FISA. September 12, 2013. Archived from the original on March 26, 2015. Retrieved June 7, 2016.
  22. ^ "Burnaby Lake Pilot Dredging Project Proves Feasibility of Lake Dredging". IMS Dredges.
  23. ^ "Associated Engineering Honoured for Burnaby Lake Project". IMS Dredges.
  24. ^ Roger Jackson (February 5, 2013). "Rowing in Canada". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved September 4, 2019. The courses at St Catharines, Burnaby Lake, BC, and the Olympic Rowing Basin in Montréal are rated as international-class courses;
  25. ^ "Rowing BC wins bid to host the 2016 – 2019 National Rowing Championships–Canada Cup Regatta at Burnaby Lake". Sport Information Resource Centre. February 3, 2016. The course provides ideal racing conditions with calm waters and minimal wind that are enjoyed by many rowers, including those who raced at the successful 2014 Canadian Masters Championship regatta.
  26. ^ Director Parks, Recreation And Cultural Services City of Burnaby (March 15, 2012). Item 08 - Licence agreement - Burnaby Lake Rowing Club (Report). City of Burnaby.[permanent dead link]
  27. ^ "Ned Pratt". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com.
  28. ^ "Frank Read". Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2018-01-02. Retrieved 2016-05-29.
  29. ^ "Lauren Wilkinson". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com.
  30. ^ "Michael Wilkinson". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com.
  31. ^ a b "Sabrina Kolker". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com.
  32. ^ a b "Theresa Luke". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com.
  33. ^ a b "Laryssa Biesenthal". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com.
  34. ^ a b "Jessica Monroe". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com.
  35. ^ a b "Kathleen Heddle". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com.
  36. ^ "Richard McClure". Olympics at Sports-Reference.
  37. ^ "Megan Delehanty". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com.
  38. ^ "Michael Rascher". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com.
  39. ^ a b c "Tricia Smith". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com.
  40. ^ a b "Bruce Ford". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com.
  41. ^ "Pat Walter". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com.
  42. ^ a b "Ian Gordon". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com.
  43. ^ "Robert Bergen". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com.