- a combined age and years of membership over 90, and
- done exemplary work for the club.
Life Members pay no membership or boat fees, are not obliged to perform club maintenance, and yet may serve as a director of the club. Official details of life membership maybe found in the Bylaws, section 2.03.4. More stories about the Life Members can be found Here. An email to either the Commodore or Publicity Captain with reasons to support awarding a life membership may be made by any member or group of members who wish to nominate someone to be considered for a life membership.
The following have been made Life Members:
- 1985 - Len Hull (d. 1991)
Leonard Hull was one of the original members of the club when it was formed in 1974. Although never an executive member, he spent many hours at the clubsite keeping the grounds tidy, cutting bushes back, trimming trees etc. He was given a plaque for good service in 1983 and made a life member in 1985. He had only been sailing a few years when he joined the club, being taught by his new-to-Canada daughter-in-law Margaret. He also devoured How-To-Sail books and became a very competent sailor although he never took part in the racing program. His good friend Joan Ledingham (still alive at 102 years old in 2018) crewed for him. He and his wife Sybil spent much time at the club, picnicking and enjoying the grounds. Sybil used to pick the apples and choke cherries to be found round the site, and she'd then make sauce and jam from them. She also was a wonderful babysitter of the grandchildren when Margaret and Dave were out on the water. Len first sailed a Kolibri then moved to a Spindrift. Surgery forced him to give up sailing later in life but he still spent much time at the club.
- 1991 - George and Joan (d. 2004) Bowman
George and Joan Bowman joined in 1975, when the club was in its second year and at that time known as the Guelph Sailing and Canoe Club. George and Joan were the life blood of the club in the early years. Joan, who did a tremendous amount for the club, has sadly passed away. She was on the committee as Supply Captain, Membership Captain, Publicity Captain, and perhaps even Treasurer at some point. George was a machinist in his working life, and his skills were used on many projects the club undertook. He was Maintenance Captain and/or VC Facilities, and became Commodore in 1980 for a two year term, and during his second year, the annual Cruise to Belwood was instituted. George was the one to oversee the building of the first garage in 1986. His beloved boat Bluebell, a GP 14, was well known as a really heavy craft. The members found this out the hard way when we had to haul it out of the lake once! George and Joan were made Life Members in 1991 after they had moved up north.
- 2000 - Joe Davis (d. 2016)
Joe and Betty Davis joined in 1975, and Joe was involved in almost all aspects of the club from the beginning, joining the executive in 1977 as Member At Large, serving as VC Fleet in 82 and 83, and VC Facilities in 97 and 98, and becoming Commodore in 1984 for a two year term. His legacy will live on in our Constitution and Bylaws which he wrote in 1977, and he subsequently steered the club through the incorporation process. For many years he supervised the dock haul out and spring launch, always took the boat motors home at the end of the season to overhaul them, and for years undertook the water system winterizing. He even became Commodore again in 2000 at a time when it was difficult to find anyone with the necessary background to lead the club. Joe was made a Life Member in 2000. Before the club formed, he had sailed with a group on Belwood Lake who met at a site near the dam on the north side. He sailed a catamaran then a Wayfarer and took part in the racing program. He introduced a scheme whereby we could calculate club handicaps but it involved lots of figuring and lots of heated discussion so it was never used and we returned to the Portsmouth handicap numbers. Joe sailed as long as he could and after it became difficult, he and his wife Betty continued to come to the club to watch the racing.
- 2004 - Derek and Audrey (d. 2018) Street
Audrey and Derek Street joined in 1978 and immediately plunged into helping run things. The Spring General Meeting that year there was a call for volunteers for the meals at the Mirror Nationals we were holding – Audrey was a newcomer but nevertheless put up her hand saying ‘I can help with that’ – and so she did, and that was just the beginning. She has been on the committee several times. She used to run raffles every year on Fun Day to bring in a little extra for the club. They sailed a CL14 with distinctive orange and yellow striped sails. Audrey and Derek camped at the club frequently until a few years ago and used their time to keep an eye on the club after hours, putting things to rights and alerting the club when things need attending to. Derek was Race Captain for four years in a row – from 1992 to 1996 – and during that time he and Audrey ran all the races. Imagine that – a permanent race committee! Then he was Commodore in 1998 and 1999, and again in 2001 and 2002. Derek and Audrey were made Life Members in 2004. Audrey passed away in March 2018 but Derek visits the club regularly, brought by daughter Cheryl. When you talk to him, shout as he's gone quite deaf.
- 2002 - Al and Olwen (d. 2014) Morgan
Al and Olwen Morgan joined the club in 1989. They followed the same pattern as the others of immediately jumping in, as they were both on the committee in their second year - in 1990 and again in 91, Al as VC Facilities and Olwen as Social Captain. Then Olwen did Publicity and Al became Commodore for 1992 and 1993. Since then neither stopped to rest – in 2009 Al was back on the committee as Race Captain, and Olwen was there at each race to help calculate the scores. She also arranged for purchases of club regalia like T-shirts with our logo. Al was always glad that he helped Richard Shaw lay power to the clubhouse underground from the post near the garage and Olwen bought everything we needed including a new electric box from where she used to work at a favourable cost. This was necessary to get rid of that low wire hanging from the garage to the clubhouse where tall masts could snag a live wire. The other thing he did with a couple of others was to dig a trench from the clubhouse to the garage for those wires to supply electricity. Al and Olwen liked it so much here they ‘retired’ less than 10 minutes away and as a result, Al in particular is always around and turns his hand (when he’s not stabbing it - private joke, ask Margaret) to anything and everything that needs doing. Until last year (2017) he would always be at the club the day after racing and tidy up the committee boats. It is anyone's guess how many mark anchors he has made out of coffee tins and concrete. He and Olwen were made Life Members in 2002. Olwen sadly passed away in January 2014. They sailed a variety of boats - a CL16 and the Sunfish which Al is still sailing in 2018. When he was Commodore, he remembers an incident when Margaret fell in the water from the dock (but was perfectly safe) and Al rushed down to help. Margaret's mother who was visiting from England at the time promoted him to Admiral for that. He also remembers helping put a new roof on the clubhouse, helping Alec Calder build some of the kayak racks, building the new deck that we appreciate today and also enjoying driving that old tractor which he wishes we still had. What would we have done without it when a vicious tornado crunched some trees and turned the docks upside down ruining his boat in the process?
- 2018 - Margaret and Dave Hull
Margaret was at the first meeting at the YM-YWCA on Speedvale Avenue Guelph in early 1974 to discuss forming a sailing club on Belwood Lake with the intention of moving it to Guelph Lake once that lake was created. Having first sailed in England, she was keen to get a local club started here. Dave's parents Len Hull (see above) and Sybil joined that first year but Dave and Margaret didn't join till 1975 as they were still building their Mirror and were expecting their first child. A few years later when Guelph Lake was complete, the Belwood site was working well for the club, so many of the members including Margaret, Dave and Len and Sybil decided to stay. A breakaway group moved south to Guelph to form the Guelph Community Boating Club.
Margaret was on the executive of the club, then called the Guelph Sailing and Canoe Club, quite a few times in those early years, as Treasurer and Secretary mainly, and was the one to bring the Mirrors to the club. We hosted their Nationals in one of those early years. We tried to form a Mirror fleet at Belwood but there wasn't enough interest. Margaret began racing early on but soon realized that the Mirror was holding all the races up, so she purchased an Enterprise. She enjoyed racing that for a few years with Dave as crew until one event when they capsized just as they were about to cross the finish line in a good position. The crew mutinied so Margaret looked for a single crewed boat and got the Byte in 1992. She still sails and races it, although now only when the wind is light. Meanwhile both their boys learned to sail the Mirror. Andrew now prefers the kayak, but Margaret and Michael spent most summer weekends before he went to university travelling to Mirror regattas round the province. Margaret and Dave still have their second Mirror which was built for the Worlds in Kingston in 1997. They take it camping to Killbear once a year to join other Mirror sailors. Michael now actively races keel boats in Kingston. Although Dave doesn't sail, he has been the club archivist for several years and is always around at work parties carrying on in his father's footsteps.
Margaret continued to be on and off the executive, and was Commodore in 1998. Since then she has been Membership Captain then Race Captain as well as Treasurer again. In 2013 the club decided it needed a new website. After many planning meetings, we launched the one we now have and Margaret is the main website updater - schedules, race results, social events, etc. This keeps her involved which she thinks is great. Having been in the IT field since the 1960s, she introduced several automated methods to the club like the member database (not used presently as few people have or know how to use MS Access), and Mailchimp for messages so there is only one email list to keep. She also did a major update to the Bylaws with Bob Harper when he was Commodore, and rewrote the Members' Handbook.
Over the years Dave and Margaret have seen the club go through ups and downs and are glad to see it thriving now in 2018.
- 2018 - Al Sullivan
Al has been around at the club for a long time, having joined in the 80s. He has been Commodore twice, been on many committees including the Nomination Committee, is at every work party, knows how the motors work, is looked up to as someone who will know what to do about a problem, and has even planted trees on the property. He has recently retired as Professor of Horticulture at the University of Guelph. He sails catamarans and this year won the Commodore's Cup in his Hobie 14. His daughters learned to sail with Dad, and more recently he has brought grad students to the club to crew for him. He is currently assisting the Guelph University sailing team in using our club as their home base.
- 2019 - George Loney
George has been involved in several areas of the club over the decades. He started as an avid Laser sailor when there was a large fleet during the early years of the club. He then switched to a Hobie Cat, which he sailed for many years and then eventually switched to his beloved Dart
18. He was active in club racing for many years, sailing in many races and regattas and even winning some awards.
Of particular importance, George served on the Executive Board for 17 years (beginning in the early 80s), serving in a variety of roles including Vice Commodore Fleet, Commodore and Treasurer. He was instrumental in designing and hosting the club’s first website in 2000,
something that club members say was ahead of its time and the importance of this cannot be understated as it started the club’s presence on the web. The website went on to become a major source of communication and information for those inside and outside of the club.
Other examples of his contributions to the club include:
He helped bring Dart and Catamaran regattas to BLSC, which ended up bringing many new catamaran owners to the club
He competed in some of the Dart regattas and he and Al Sullivan sailed at the Dart Nationals at CORK in Kingston
George helped get the club on stable financial footing, by having the club save and invest money into GICs. This meant that the club had a 'nest egg' that could be kept for emergencies and major projects and became a focus for savings in future years.
He continues to support racing and has returned to volunteering as a PRO
He has provided historical context that has helped the recent Exec with their decisions to support the return of an active paddling community to the club. For more than 40 years, George has been a regular at club openings and closings and helping around the club throughout each season. At the AGMs he brings a mature and historical perspective to many issues that we discuss.
From a family perspective, George has also introduced multiple generations to sailing and to the club, first with his and Jean’s daughters Ali and Heather, teaching them to sail over the
years. He was so keen on the girls learning to sail that he built them their own boat, a little Sabot called ‘One Down’, to compliment his Dart 18, ‘One Up’. (Sidenote: George wanted to name the Dart ‘Passing Wind’, but Jean refused as she was always the one who towed the boat up to the annual family camping trips at Killbear.)
Then came the addition of his sons-in-law, Mike and Jordan, who have taken to the club and are learning from George. Most recently came the addition of his two grandchildren, Henry and Duncan (they mostly play in the sandbox and sunken Siren these days, but George is always excited to get them out on the boat!). Times spent at the lake and on the boat have created lasting memories for the family.
Long-time members of the club have said that Life Membership is a great honour to be bestowed and George is a very deserving recipient.