Lyttle Announced as Builder Inductee to Row Ontario Hall of Fame
Announcement/ Nov 24

Lyttle Announced as Builder Inductee to Row Ontario Hall of Fame

Joe Lyttle’s lifelong commitment to volunteering in the sport of rowing was honoured on Wednesday as he was named an inductee into the Builder’s Category in the Row Ontario Hall of Fame.

Lyttle got his start in rowing alongside family at the Argonaut Rowing Club as a lightweight competitor with his brother Alex. He also later coached his brother Jim at the club. Throughout his involvement in rowing, he has worn many hats including rower, coach, regatta chair, umpire, and club leader. The amount of time he has spent volunteering with many different rowing-related organizations and in many different roles has led to him becoming a legendary figure in Ontario rowing circles.

“I would like to thank Row Ontario for allowing me to be a member of the Row Ontario Hall of Fame and to Judy Sutcliffe and Wes Kuran for nominating me,” said Lyttle. “Throughout my involvement in rowing they were a great number of people who were my role models. I would like to thank them. I’m sorry if I missed someone who was important to me. To all the athletes and coaches for making the regattas possible, to all the volunteers and umpires who helped run the regattas I felt like a hockey coach who opened the gate to let them do their job. A special thanks to Claude Saunders, Charlie Ryan, Gerry Martin, Jim Lyttle and Clint Page for being my role models and to my family (Anne-Marie, Paul and Catrina) for their support.”

Read more from Joe on who he would like to thank here.

One of Lyttle’s most prominent positions was President of the Central Ontario Rowing Association (CORA), which he served as for 40 years (1979-2019). During his time as President with CORA, Lyttle was integral in providing opportunities for athletes of all levels and abilities to race through CORA regattas, which were the starting point for many young athletes who went on to become Olympians and Paralympians. Without him thousands of young athletes would not have had an opportunity to race and come to love rowing.

Lyttle has also been a member of the Dominion Day Regatta Association since 1975 and is thought to be the longest serving member of the DDRA Executive. A 65+ year association with the Argonaut Rowing Club has also led to him being described as ‘the beating heart of rowing at Argos’. He has done a little bit of everything at the club, and as Trustee of the Argonaut Rowing Club Trust, helped guide the club through a difficult stretch during the 1990’s when the club faced tax sale three times. Over the years he has also organized countless regattas for Argo’s and other organizations, including the Hog Town Heats, Masters Rowing Championships, and Canada Day Regatta.

Lyttle served as Regatta Chair at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta for many years and oversaw some of the most successful years at Henley in terms of the number of athletes and boat entries attending the event. Prior to becoming Chair, Lyttle spent seven years as Chief Umpire at the Henley. A long career as an umpire has led to a number of impressive umpiring accomplishments for Lyttle as well, including serving as Chair of both the RCA Umpires Committee and Row Ontario Umpires Committee. He was also an umpire clinician for many years and was a teacher and mentor to many in the umpiring community. Through all his roles, Lyttle always fought for what he believed was in the best interest of the athletes and the sport.

Row Ontario has been announcing the inductions of the 2021 Hall of Fame class since Monday as part of ‘Hall of Fame Week’. Inductees announced this week include Wes Kuran (Umpire) and Jack Nicholson (Coach). Stay tuned the rest of this week for more announcements on the 2021 Row Ontario Hall of Fame induction class.

Visit Row Ontario Hall of Fame for more information.