There has been a long standing tradition of sport and recreational access on the Gorge Waterway dating back millennia considering First Nations’ inhabitants in the region. In more recent times, the Royal British Navy first brought rowing activities to this area in the 1850s. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries there have been a handful of rowing clubs in the area, including the (poorly named) Vancouver Rowing Club and the James Bay Athletic Association. For nearly 2 decades until 2013, the Gorge Rowing and Paddling Club continued a tradition of excellence in both rowing and paddling sports here in the Selkirk Waterfront Community and on the Gorge Waterway.
In November of 2013 a new chapter for the waterway began. The GO Rowing and Paddling Association of Canada decided it was time to exit from the day-to-day management and operations of the Gorge Rowing and Paddling Club. With the future of sport and recreational access on the Gorge Waterway (at least out of the 2940 Jutland Road location) ambiguous, St. Michaels University School decided to step in and negotiated terms to purchase the rowing equipment and take over the water-lot lease from GO.
Re-branded as the SMUS Community Rowing Centre, we offer access to the Gorge Waterway to a growing variety of rowing clubs. The SMUS Rowing Team, lead by Head Coach Susanne Walker-Curry, is offering year-round rowing to student-athletes who are thriving with their training on the Gorge.
The Gorge Narrows Rowing Club also operates as a community rowing club out of the SMUS CRC. The club offers youth and adult rowing programs for all experience levels, including Learn-to-Rows! We are growing programs to meet the needs of members, and if you cannot find a program that suits your needs, please call the facility manager to see if one can be build for you.
The Greater Victoria Youth Rowing Society (GVYRS) is again partnering with the SMUS CRC to host part of their 10-week fall high school rowing league. For the 2015 season the rowing centre is hosting Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Spectrum, St. Andrews, SMUS and Vic High.
The St. Andrew’s Rowing Academy, or SARA, has also partnered with the club to facilitate its needs. The school also operates a year-round program that accumulates for student-athletes in June at the Canadian Championships.
Our aim is to build from the longstanding history this club has and offer even better programs moving forward.
The club also runs its long-standing masters rowing program, offering year-round morning masters rowing, as well as an ever growing evening masters group. The centre has hired Connor McLeod as the head coach for the Masters, and Lisa Tschannen as the assistant coach. Together they make a dynamic coaching team. This year we have seen nearly 10 new masters join the group through either the Corporate Challenge or a Learn-to-Row program. If you are interested in joining the masters program please visit our Masters Program Page.
With the (re)creation of the Gorge Narrows Rowing Club, we have hired Danica Bevan as our Head Junior Coach. Danica is running junior programs year-round, with options at recreational and competitive levels. A full list of junior programs can be found here. As you can see, there is a lot to be excited about at the SMUS Community Rowing Centre and the Gorge Narrows Rowing Club. If you have any questions about the programs or the centre, please send us a note through our contact page, or call us at 250.995.2290.
The SMUS Community Rowing Centre is located on the historic Gorge Waterway, just south of the Selkirk Trestle Bridge, and is an active partner in the Victoria Harbour Community. Our 2940 Jutland Road location lands us on the northern bay of the Upper Harbour, with easy training access to both our north and south.
We have the ability to train on an approximately 3.5 Km stretch, with our southern point reaching down to the Robert Bateman Centre in the Inner Harbour, and our northern point most commonly at the Tillicum Street Bridge. During practices with a higher and nearly slack tide, athletes can access the waterway north of Tillicum, rowing all the way up into Portage Inlet. This additional stretch of water adds 3 Km one-way!
With the dynamic waterway, we may not have an obvious 2 Km stretch for training, but we certainly benefit from being able to pick and choose which stretch of water to train on. In high wind situations we are able to work our way to calmer waters and still get good training in.
We offer all kinds of programs. We have fall, winter, spring and summer programs for adults and youth, including SMUS-student-specific programs as well as community based learn-to-row, junior, senior and masters programs offered through the Gorge Narrows Rowing Club. We host private corporate events and can facilitate independent rowing clubs’ training needs.
We are easy to access, by car, bus, bike or boat! Come and see what we have to offer you!