Canada's Oldest Continuous Rowing Club

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Discover Rowing Day Camp

Have your child learn the basics of rowing or alongside a variety of fun indoor and outdoor activities.

Adult Learn to Row

Never rowed before? These programs are for you. Learn the basics of rowing, water safety and more!

Club Rowing

Get your workout in or hone your skills with the ORC Community! Perfect for those with rowing experience.

Adult Rowing League

Meet with your crew for weekly water & land practices in preparation for the race weeks!

Competitive Programs

Compete against other clubs at various regattas and more committed training schedules.

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We have programs for all ages and experience levels. Find the program that’s right for you and join the Ottawa Rowing Community!

Who We Are

The Ottawa Rowing Club is an inclusive volunteer organization that inspires excellence and builds community through the sport of rowing. We provide athletic opportunities through competitive and recreational rowing leading to personal success, increased fitness, and community building in the national capital region.

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Our Community

The Ottawa Rowing Club (ORC) founded in 1867 is Canada’s oldest rowing club, a non-profit, volunteer-driven, community organization annually serving members from ages 12-70+ years from the Ottawa and Outaouais region.

The ORC offers Adult Instructional and Youth Day Camp programs to introduce and develop skills. The ORC has Junior, Senior and Master programs that focus on training and competition taking athletes to a number of regattas across Ontario, Quebec and the US. The club also provides a Recreational program for general fitness in a more social environment. The ORC accommodates adaptive rowing in all programs.

The ORC has a partnership with both Carleton University and uOttawa providing boats for training and competition at OUA Regattas. The Club has aproximately 80 University students rowing out of the Club in the fall.

The ORC host a HS regatta in the spring and the Head of the Rideau Regatta in the fall. The Head of the Rideau Regatta is held annually on the last Sunday of September, on the picturesque Rideau River, winding 5.3 kilometres through the heart of the City of Ottawa. The course begins at Black Rapids and finishes at the Rideau Canoe Club site at Hog’s Back.

The ORC has had a number of competitive athletes represent Canada at International Regattas. Athletes from both Carleton and Ottawa University have competed at FISU Games, ORC athletes have competed at the Worlds and Olympics. Most recently, Andrew Todd competed and placed Gold at the 2018 and 2019 Para-Olympic and Joshua King was a spare for the lwt double at the 2020 Olympics that was postponed due to Covid-19.

Most Recently, Wes Kuran, who is a life long ORC member and served as the ORC president from 1996 – 2006, was inducted in 2021 in the RowOntario Hall of Fame for his Umpiring. Kuran has over 38 years of umpiring experience, ranging from local and regional regattas near his home in Ottawa, to Provincial and National Championship events and the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta. Kuran has held many other positions within the rowing community and was involved in the creation of the Ontario Rowing Association (later changed to Row Ontario) in 1970. He served as President of the ORA from 1973-77 and then moved on to become President of the Canadian Amateur Rowing Association (later changed to Rowing Canada Aviron) from 1977-79.

History of the
Ottawa Rowing Club

Rowing on the Ottawa River at what is now the Ottawa Capital Region probably started when the Royal Engineers of the British Army began to build the Rideau Canal. The workers were quartered on the Quebec side of the river in what was then known as Wrightville (established in 1800). They would cross the river to work at the base of the Rideau Canal in oared ferries. A settlement on the Ottawa side of the river (Bytown) was established in 1826. 

Rowing as a sport started a few years later and the Ottawa Rowing Club (ORC) was founded in 1867. The founding members included: Governor General the Lord Alexander (Patron); Prime Minister Sir John A. MacDonald (President); the Mayor of Ottawa, Thomas Reynolds, Lt. Col Bernard ADC, Colonel MacDougall, Alan Gilmour, and T.D.Harrington (Vice Presidents).

The Original Ottawa Rowing Club was built on pontoons that were moored at the foot of Parliament Hill near the locks slightly up-river from the entrance to the Rideau Canal and every spring the pontoons would dislodge because of  logs coming down the river from pulp and paper mills. The problem with this arrangement was that the pontoons would invariably spring a leak and the entire boat house would sink and invariably every spring the ice would move the boathouse downstream only to be retrieved annually to its moorings. This continued until 1890 when a new clubhouse was erected on solid ground at its present site.

Latest News

Pre-AGM Town Hall Update

Dear ORC Members, As we reflect on 2023 and look forward to the 2024 on-water season, we have been working hard to continue...

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