About Us

Island Lake Rowing Club, based on Island Lake in Orangeville, was founded in 1998 by a group of volunteers who were interested in the athletic and community aspects of rowing. We became incorporated as a non-profit organization, formed a management agreement with Credit Valley Conservation for the use of Island Lake, and began a number of initiatives to attract members. At present, we have over 100 members, most of whom are high school students participating five times a week in early morning and late afternoon training sessions. These culminate in a series of fun races and competitive regattas. Graduates of the high school rowing program have gone on to row on university crews at Queens, Guelph, Brock, Ottawa, Carleton, McGill and the University of Toronto.

Members range in age from 12 to 67. About two-thirds of members are female, remarkable because the sport traditionally was male. Most members, young and old, row to get fit, as rowing is an extraordinarily sound way to build endurance, strength and cardiovascular fitness.

All club programs and fund-raising activities are run by volunteers from the club’s membership roster. Members of all ages and abilities have pitched in to build our facility, to improve access to the rowing compound and dock so that all members of the Orangeville community, even those with significant disabilities and mobility issues, can participate. Our compound and dock now are fully accessible and we have a brand-new boat house big enough to provide shelter for all boats, from singles to eights.

A three-week Learn-to-Row program for adults begins in June; it is open to all comers. Everyone has the option of joining as a full member and participating as a recreational or competitive rower. Recreational rowing membership provides coaching sessions on a regular basis and the option of rowing in regattas. Competitive rowing involves intensive coaching and training, rowing on a daily basis, and participating in Ontario Rowing Association regattas in St. Catherines, London, Guelph, Toronto and Peterborough. The rowing club requires its coaches and boat operators to have a Coast Guard Boat Operator certification and most have coaching certificates as well.

Island Lake Rowing Club also has a Learn-To-Row program for children with disabilities and an adaptive rowing program for adults with physical and other disabilities. In both of these programs we have involved people with mobility problems, physical and cognitive disabilities.

The rowing club’s mission:

  • To teach people of all ages and abilities how to row and to participate in a healthy, active lifestyle through the sport of rowing;
  • To reach out to people with disabilities and others in the Orangeville community who otherwise would not have an opportunity to learn to row and to gain a sense of self-esteem and self-confidence on the water;
  • To encourage the participation of young people through the youth and high school programs;
  • To enhance a sense of community through volunteerism, rowing and community-oriented events;
  • To encourage individual and collective responsibility while promoting health and physical fitness for all ages;
  • To provide recreational and competitive rowing opportunities for a broad array of participants;
  • To encourage volunteers to give their time and services to the club and to raise funds in support of the club’s activities;
  • To provide coaching and other employment opportunities during the rowing season for qualified students.