Adult Learn to Row
Perfect for the beginner rower who is looking to try a new sport!
Summer Youth Day Camps
Perfect for the beginner rower looking to try a new sport or returning youth camp rowers
Adult Rowing League
Due to Covid Restrictions, this program will not be offered in 2021. Perfect for the beginner rower, those returning to the sport of rowing, and returning ARL rowers.
Recreational & Competitive
For the more experienced rower who is looking to continue to develop technical skill for fitness or competition!
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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.
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 fo 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 and Ottawa Universities providing boats for training and competition at OUA Regattas. The Club has aproximately 80 University students rowing out of the Club in the fall. As well, the club is partnered with Urban Ocean, a local paddle board school that uses the Club facilities to provide paddleboard sessions.
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.
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.