Our History

The Ottawa Rowing Club will celebrate 150 years of good people doing good things in 2017!

The Ottawa Rowing Club is Canada’s oldest rowing club, founded in 1867, the year Canada was created. The ORC’s first patron was Canada’s first Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald. In fact, the ORC was one of Macdonald’s neighbours on the shore of the Ottawa River just west of and below Macdonald’s home Earnscliffe that is now the residence of the Britain’s High Commissioner to Canada.

As well as being Canada’s oldest rowing club, the ORC is also one of the country’s largest with close to 1,000 members. The ORC offers programs for everyone from competitive junior, senior, adaptive and masters athletes, university and high school rowers, recreational rowers of all skills levels, an adult rowing league, a popular learn-to-row program and a summer camp for youth.

In addition to our main boathouse which the ORC operates, the ORC also maintains our original clubhouse as an Interpretive Centre that chronicles the history of the ORC. It was rebuilt as a Millennium project and is rented by the public regularly throughout the spring, summer and fall for weddings, banquets and other corporate events and special occasions.


The Ottawa Rowing Club will be an inclusive volunteer organization that inspires excellence and builds community through the sport of rowing.


The Ottawa Rowing Club provides athletic opportunities through competitive and recreational rowing leading to personal success, increased fitness and community building in the national capital region.


Excellence, Health and Fitness, Responsibility, Community, Teamwork, Commitment, Respect.
Download ORC’s 2015 Annual Report