Toronto’s Argonaut Rowing Club Celebrates 150 Years

9 December 2022

By Grant Sommers

The Argonaut Rowing Club was founded in 1872 by Englishman Henry O’Brien. His intent was to create a competitive rowing club which would become one of the best. After 150 years we can look back and say his dream has been fulfilled.

Legends, like Joe Wright Sr. who amassed 130 rowing titles, and his son, Diamond Sculls champ Joe Wright Jr., initiated a standard of excellence that propelled the Argonaut Club to become known as one of the great rowing clubs of the Americas – what Vesper Boat Club of Philadelphia is to U.S. rowing.

We sent 10 ARC crews to the Olympics prior to the advent of a national team selection system and in total, 67 Argonauts have represented their club and Canada at Olympic Games since 1904, including ARC learn-to-row graduate Marnie McBean and Paralympian Victoria Nolan.

Despite catastrophic fires, floods and financial hardships over 150 years, our membership continues to honour our motto of “Pull Together”. We rebuilt our partially destroyed club in the aftermath of the floods of 2017 and 2019. Members supported a $1.2 million community bond to finance this and to modernize our training and banquet facilities.

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the club, we have pulled together photos, interviews and archival materials into a 150-page full color hardcover book.

A limited-edition printing of Perseverance and Glory: The History of the Argonaut Rowing Club is available through the Argo Store on our website by clicking here. (Pre-orders will be closing soon!)

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