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Discussion: Orienteering Canada: Top Orienteers by Province

in: Orienteering; General

Jan 31, 2018 5:13 AM # 
On a run I started thinking about who's the best Canadian Orienteer from province X and decided to put my own list together.

Some of these are tight battles, some are a very easy call. This list is purely for fun, unless you're on it and then you can take it as seriously as you'd like!

Part One: Atlantic Canada

Newfoundland and Labrador
Brian May
Sonya Skinner

A pretty easy call on both sides. Brian May from Pasadena was a crazy good junior and made his first WOC team in 1993. From then he pretty much made every WOC he tried for and won numerous Canadian and North American titles, as well as running for the US while living in the states.

Sonya Skinner was a very strong junior in the late 80s, racing JWOC and I believe WCs. Not sure what happened after that, but never really raced as a senior. No idea why she wasn't on the 1993 WOC team as Canada of course only sent 2 women to a WOC next door.

Hon Mentions: Mark Mayo was a pretty decent junior in the early 1990s. Sonya's two sisters Andrea and Alison were also top juniors.

PEI: Vacant
Can't think of anyone, maybe someone was born there? The Sprint for the 2015 Canadian Champs was in PEI so hope for the future. Did any locals win a medal to take home the belt?

Nova Scotia:
Oivind Naess
Pam James

So this one is super easy with big gaps behind these two.

Oivind Naess was an outstanding university runner for the elite institution of Dalhousie and national team Orienteer in the 80s, top notch first leg relay runner. I think in the early 90s he was injured, focused on work and retired from the National team. His son Jan Erik is a very good Canadian junior.

Pam James from Halifax is a Canadian Orienteering Hall of Famer. Incredible career on the national team and in my mind perhaps the toughest Canadian Orienteer, someone who was never concerned by thick or technical terrain. Top result was 20th in 1999 WOC in Scotland.

Hon Mentions:
Not sure on the Mens side, anyone?
Abigail May went to the 1997 WOC representing Nova Scotia, she was still pretty new to the sport at the time, pretty solid accomplishment.

For the record: in the mid-late 1990s there were I think 7-8ish national team level athletes living in Halifax. Not counting a WOC medalist who was also often in town.

New Brunswick:
Okay, finally a tight one.

Mike Smith
Sandy (Smith) Hott

In a close call, after some consultation, I'm going with Mike Smith over his brother Wil (somewhere in PG BC Mike is fist pumping). Both long time national team runners, but Mike was more consistent and perhaps his peak was a bit higher. Wil also made many WOC teams and was always around the podium. Mike is such a strong forest runner, an all-rounder and had the overall CDN Mens Belt for a while.

Older sister Sandy (Smith) Hott was an okay junior, didn't run JWOC (maybe?) and I don't think anyone would have predicted what happened in her 20s (Colin Kirk for one was super wrong). Short answer: she trained like crazy, improved and improved, moved to Norway and eventually placed 9th in the Middle at WOC in 2005. Athletes should remember her when JWOC selections come around.

Hon Mentions: Oui say NB! Man did they produce a bunch of athletes.
Wil Smith, Mike Fellows, Doug Mahoney, David Mahoney, Jon Smith, Graham Ereaux (forgetting some I'm sure)
The NB womens relay team of Sandy, Cherie (Mahoney) Revells, and Carol (Ross) Walker is top 3 with both Cherie and Carol having great international and domestic results. Heather and Victoria Smith also went to WOC and were great juniors.

I hope someone can point out who was responsible for New Brunswick athlete development in the 1990s because they did a great job!

Also, the 90s NB O suits were sharp! Totally avoided the pirate ship from their flag.

Next up: Central Canada.
Jan 31, 2018 9:39 PM # 
Interesting! Looking forward to the next installment.
Feb 1, 2018 8:24 PM # 
The suspense of which male and female will be proclaimed best for Ontario is killing me. Have mercy and hurry, Nevin.
Feb 1, 2018 9:38 PM # 
Well I was going to go with Jon as tops from Ontario, just to see if anyone was actually reading this.
Feb 1, 2018 9:50 PM # 
If you really wanted engagement in this thread you really should have listed something like the “top adherents to ISSOM standards by province” or “most effective committees by decade”.

That would be a barn burner!
Feb 1, 2018 10:40 PM # 
My sister-in-law (who is from Pasadena), would appreciate you calling me "from Pasadena". Normally consider myself to be from Corner Brook (as that's where I went to school, etc) despite actually growing up about the same distance from Pasadena. At any rate, thank's for the pat on the back :-).
Feb 1, 2018 10:42 PM # 
Re New Brunswick. Gary Feeney (from Grand Falls) did great things for Junior development in the 80's. Not totally sure who was responsible for what was happening in the 90's. Suspect Smith and Mahoney parents were pretty instrumental. Stig Skarborn as well.
Feb 1, 2018 10:45 PM # 
Re Ontario. Key to winning this battle would be a top-10 at WOC I would say.
Feb 1, 2018 11:44 PM # 
BMAY: I had no idea you were from the big city of Corner Book!

Was I right that Sonya never competed as a senior?
Feb 2, 2018 4:16 AM # 
Ontario is a no brainer.
Ted and Emily!
Feb 2, 2018 6:06 AM # 
Re NB, mustn't forget the Rosses' contributions...
Feb 2, 2018 1:47 PM # 
Is it too late to move to SK? NWT?
Feb 2, 2018 2:03 PM # 
I think I have someone for NWT and someone must have been born in Sask?
Feb 2, 2018 8:29 PM # 
In all seriousness, I'm quite interested in the honourable mentions discussion in Ontario, as well as the whole thing when we get further west (eta: and in Quebec) - Nevin, though more or less my age mate, has been in orienteering longer and no doubt knows the history going back at least into the early 80s much better than I do. Also, I think it's a lot more up in the air who heads the list of honourable mentions in Ontario for one gender than the other.
Feb 4, 2018 12:45 AM # 
Re NB, have learned that Richard Faulkner (high school teacher in Hillsborough) was instrumental in bringing the Smith and Mahoney clans into the sport.
Feb 4, 2018 4:54 AM # 
Is there anyone in the Western side of Canada worth a mention?

(ex GVOC comment)
Feb 4, 2018 5:10 AM # 
Pink Socks:
Louise, Critchley, D-Man, Goeres?

GVOC has some excellent sprinters currently, too.
Feb 4, 2018 8:59 AM # 
Ohh! I get it now. Canadian orienteering history goes back 50 years but the folks commenting here - they're memory goes back only 20-30 years.
Feb 4, 2018 5:11 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Ok, so enlighten us idiots, then.

(Not only is my real-life memory only about 30 years, I'm not even Canadian, so I'll just see myself out. Thanks for the original post, Nevin.)
Feb 4, 2018 5:45 PM # 
Now now, both Gord and Patrick have made huge contributions to Orienteering in North America and can be civil on here.

Some provinces haven't exactly developed many top runners in the last 20 years.

Next section coming soon.
Feb 4, 2018 7:00 PM # 
Once done Nev-Monster, you'll have the workings for a good article.
Feb 4, 2018 9:05 PM # 
Speaking of articles, seem to be quite a few by gordhun in these old newsletters. (scroll down)

Some pretty interesting reading..... With NAOC coming up I like the Yukon article summer 1976 (rdk is Bob Kaill?)
Feb 4, 2018 9:09 PM # 
Bob Kaill currently lives in Sweden - probably has for something like 30-35 years.
Feb 4, 2018 9:59 PM # 
Bob Kaill? I used to hope for orienteering in the rain so I'd have a chance against the eye-glass wearing Bob Kaill. He is probably the best Canadian orienteer to never win a Canadian Men's Elite Championships while I'm the worst to win two (or three depending on how you count them). But yes he's an example of an overlooked orienteer from the Jurassic era.
BChubb? I think he deserves to be at the top of the Alberta men's short list along with Scott Robertson.
Feb 4, 2018 11:32 PM # 
Scott, yes. Me? As a master running M21, I only used to worry Martin Pardoe on occasion, but he was pretty hard to catch. My finest moment was finishing ahead of a Swede I won't name circa 1982
Feb 5, 2018 1:17 AM # 
I look forward to the 'Top 5 Canadian Orienteers By Decade' thread.

With pics.
Feb 6, 2018 9:37 PM # 
@bchubb Did you beat me?
Feb 7, 2018 12:07 AM # 
@bubo I think I finished a few minutes ahead of you on one day at Pocaterra in Kananaskis, but I expect it was a 2 day meet and you had a better overall time. I remember only because I had just started orienteering the previous year (if was indeed 1982)
Feb 7, 2018 5:10 PM # 
I remember a meet there but no particulars about the results. I'm sure you are right. Only remember waking up in my tent to a light layer of snow in the morning, brrr.

This discussion thread is closed.