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In a recent discussion with Jim Dover, president of Silver Lake Rowing Club (SLRC), he told a story where he and his club were in the United States racing at the Stotesbury Regatta a few years ago. One of the club’s boats had a fin problem, and a competitor club came over and helped to repair the damage so the crew could race. Jim was approached by one of the athlete’s parents afterwards who told him he has never seen such cooperation in a sport like what just happened. The spirit of the sport runs deep and now for Jim Dover and the Silver Lake Rowing Club, the spirit of sport shines brightly.

In 2012, Silver Lake Rowing Club closed. The unsure timeline of repairs for the local dam led to a significant decline in water level that prevents rowing on the lake.  “It’s hard closing down the club,” says Jim. However, the Silver Lake Rowing Club has turned an unfortunate situation into a bright opportunity.  SLRC has decided to give and lend their equipment to new clubs to help with recreation, youth, and racing programs. The equipment that is loaned out may come back if the SLRC starts up again.

In 1999, the club was founded due to the generous contributions by clubs like Peterborough Rowing Club and St. Catharines Rowing Club, along with guidance from individuals from London Rowing Club and St. Catharines. The same cooperation that was showed to them is the driving force today that Jim and the members of SLRC use to decide what to do with their equipment. Recipients of equipment from SLRC are North Bay Rowing Club, Wolfe Island Boat Club, Niagara Falls Rowing Club, Kitchener/Waterloo Rowing Club, and Upper Canada Rowing Club.

ROWONTARIO reached out to the clubs that are fortunate to have a helping hand from the SLRC.

“Essentially the boats from Silver Lakes double our seats and have made the Learn to Row program much more accessible. The Hudson trainer is also much more versatile as it can be changed from a single to a double in 5 minutes. All of our new rowers are enjoying its stability. We would like to extend a big thank you to the Silver Lake Club and invite their members to drop in if they are ever in the area.”

-Sylve Sabourin (Upper Canada Rowing Club)

“We are very thankful to the Silver Lake rowing club for the approach they have taken during a very difficult time.  Their generosity toward others in the rowing community is very much appreciated and is quite humbling. The new dock loaned to us has had a positive effect on the club, most notably because it is safer, and easier to access, so everyone can use it and we can make the most of it. The donation of the wooden heavy Double/Pair is great as it is a piece of equipment that fills a gap in our club. It also can be used to showcase what a well looked after shell can look after many years of service and proper maintenance”

-Lisa Black-Ross (Kitchener/Warterloo Rowing Club)

“Our Niagara Falls Rowing Club is into its fourth summer season and has grown exponentially.  We started with 10 members in our first season and now have over 80 (with projections of over 100) in our fourth summer.  Our concern was how to accommodate all the interested rowing members with our limited funds and equipment. The equipment we received from Silver Lake Rowing Club is the foundation for our club to continue its growth and service our community.  Our short term goals of offering rowing in Niagara Falls locally was fulfilled with the help of the Silver Lake equipment coming our way.   The long term goals of expanding programs will also be met in the near future using the eight person shells for our adult and youth recreational programs.”

-Anthony Arcuri (Niagara Falls Rowing Club)

Faced with a difficult circumstance, Jim and the members of the Silver Lake Rowing Club demonstrate the continued spirit of sport.  When asked what he loves most about helping others, Jim replied, “it’s when you see the excitement and gratefulness on their faces”.


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