Regina Boat Club, 1912-1962

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Regina Boat Club, 1912-1962

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The Regina Boat Club was established in 1907 in Regina, Saskatchewan as a private boating and yachting club for men. The first meeting was held on June 15, 1907 at City Hall. Charles E. Wood chaired the meeting and A.C. Barrett served as secretary. On June 20, a second meeting was held to determine entrance fees, membership dues, and classes of membership. Club officers were selected, including two patrons (the Lieutenant Governor and Premier of Saskatchewan); a honourary president (F.W.G. Haultain); a president (Charles E. Wood); a vice-president (J.A. Wetmore); a secretary-treasurer (F.G. Wheat); and a committee of five. The committee was responsible for the general management of the Club's social and financial affairs and for enforcing the by-laws and house rules.

Initial plans for a boathouse and clubhouse were drawn up by E.N. Storey, a Regina architect. In 1908, the City of Regina funded the construction of a diving platform and the driving of piles to support a clubhouse. In 1909, a clubhouse was built on the north side of Wascana Lake.

By 1910, membership in the Regina Boat Club had grown to 186 and rowing had been introduced. The Club held its first annual Dominion Day Regatta on July 1, 1910. Events included canoe races, four-oared shells, motor boat races, skiff races, ladies' sculling, swimming, diving and lifesaving competitions.

On June 30, 1912, a tornado (the Regina Cyclone) destroyed the clubhouse and the majority of the Club's equipment. After this disaster, the clubhouse was rebuilt on the southeast corner of Wascana Park and a boathouse was built. The Regina Boat Club was incorporated on August 23, 1912 whereupon it became a general aquatic club.

During the First World War, the Club lost many members but strived to remain active. Following the War, the Club tried to expand its appeal by purchasing workboats and four-oared shells to supplement its existing canoes and sailboats.

In 1924, the Club began to allow women's rowing. From 1931 to 1932, the Club's activities were interrupted when Wascana Lake was drained in August 1930 for the construction of the Albert Street Bridge and Willow and Goose Islands. The Club re-commenced activity in 1933 with more than 200 members and saw the publication of its first official newsletter, The Water Log.

The Club was inactive during the Second World War as most of its male members had enlisted for service. In 1947, the Club moved into a new two-storey clubhouse on Willow Island made from surplus army huts. In 1949, the Regina Boat Club hosted its first North Western International Rowing Association Regatta at Regina Beach. The Club experienced continued growth throughout the 1950s, reaching its largest membership of more than 400 in 1959.

In 1962, the Regina Boat Club disbanded after weed-growth prevented the operation of boats on Wascana Lake. The Club's home on the north island was ceded to the Wascana Centre Authority for development and was demolished in 1964. In August 1971, the Wascana Centre Authority erected a stone cairn commemorating the Regina Boat Club near the original clubhouse location on the north shore of Wascana Lake.

In 1974 the Regina Boat Club was reorganized into the Regina Rowing Club in anticipation of the 1975 Western Canada Summer Games, held in Regina.

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