Could rowing on our lake have the same kind of positive impact on Lac Brome as skiing on Mont Glen had for our town back in the day?
Mont Glen changed Knowlton in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The powerful attraction of a local ski hill, when skiing was in vogue, meant that summer homes were winterized and that many summer-people moved here to live. It meant that many summer-people kept coming to Knowlton every weekend in the winter. It meant that local children made the hill their winter home. Mont Glen became the social centre for the local young. It meant that Knowlton was a winter destination for visitors and so created the conditions for the boom in retail. When Glen died, much of the energy behind the town died as well.
Rowing on our lake could bring more life back.
Once again, a major trend in sports is lining up with a local attraction. Rowing is growing as a sport. It’s like skiing in a way. It provides a form of exercise that involves the whole body and it is intensely social.
Our lake just happens to be one of the best lakes in all of Quebec for rowing.
The elite rowers who used to train at the Montreal Olympic Basin have moved to Lac Brome. Three years ago, there were three. This summer there have been over 30. Gold, silver and bronze medals have been won at the Canada Games and we have an Olympic hopeful training here as well. The season lasts on the water from May to October.
It is very likely now that Lac Brome will become an important centre of high performance rowing.
The work now is to build the opportunity for the public and especially for kids. For like Glen, it is the kids who will drive the larger opportunity for our community.
Here is my dream.
That, like the Ski Program that began on Glen, we are able to offer many children the opportunity to row at a cost that every family here can afford. I can see school programs. I can see summer camps. Most will row for fun. But many will become competitive as well. They will go to regattas and they will want to have their own regatta here at home. A typical regatta might have 2-3,000 people here for a week all looking for places to stay and for food to eat.
Like at Glen, the demand from the kids will drive their parents to make more of a commitment to Lac Brome. More people will visit and more people will want to stay. Like at Glen, our local kids will become expert as well. They will not only enjoy a great sport but will become more fit and also learn how to work hard with others. They too will have a chance to move out into the world as experts.
Some locals who learned to ski at Glen went on to be world class skiers. I think that we have an even greater chance of this in rowing. For, as our competitive profile increases, more talent will come here, offering the kids better coaching. Talent creates talent.
Our lake is the vital asset in all of this. There are no better ones locally. It is surrounded by a great community. It is only an hour from a great city.
Do you want to find out more? If you do, please follow this link and come to our launch party on August 26 at 10 a.m. at Douglass Beach.
Disclaimer: I am a co founder of the club. I rowed as a school boy and have never lost the amazing feeling that rowing brings.