Rowing clubs in Toronto
Rowing clubs in Toronto might be the next step once you've mastered that rowing machine at the local gym. Of course, it's important not to confuse the sport of rowing with canoeing, kayaking, dragon boating or anything dubbed "paddling". We're talking about rowing here, Canada's most successful Olympic sport. If you're having trouble visualizing, think the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network.
Whatever your frame of reference or inspiration, nothing compares to being on the water while watching a sunset on Toronto's skyline. There's no denying the beauty, grace and peacefulness of the sport and an hour row will fly by as the surrounding scenery distracts you.
All rowing clubs listed below offer 3-4 week introductory Learn to Row courses for roughly $300, which develops the basic rowing skills. While teaching you the basics, these courses will prepare you to continue rowing the rest of the summer (and beyond). Most importantly, if you love spandex like me, just remember it's the recommend attire.
Argonaut Rowing Club
The Argonaut Rowing Club is one of Canada's oldest rowing clubs, founded in 1872, located in the Western Beaches. Learn to Row courses book up quickly so sign up as soon as possible. There can be boat traffic here, veering around sailboats and fighting dragon boaters for good water, so you have to be extra cautious rowing to avoid any collisions.
Bayside Rowing Club
If you've ever had the urge to release your inner barbarian, then check out Bayside Rowing Club, at Leslie and Lakeshore. Primarily known for their corporate rowing program, companies sign up for a corporate challenge in a Viking Boat race and in return support the opportunity for inner-city youth teams. This kind of rowing doesn't require much technical skill, and is more about getting you and your co-workers sweating beside each other. If you're a beginner looking for recreational rowing, Bayside's rates are the lowest in the city at only $130 per season and, for-non-Vikings, they offer a full compliment of traditional rowing classes too. Best of all, Bayside has Toronto's only completely sheltered body of water: calm and free of all other traffic from any other recreational users.
Don Rowing Club
If you're in Mississauga, Don Rowing Club rows out in Port Credit, on the Credit River. With the sheltered location you can always be sure you can get out for a row, even on the windiest day. Don Rowing Club has the best-kept boathouse, with clean showers and change rooms, lockers, a fitness room, and lounge/kitchen area. Congestion on the river can also be an issue since the water is shared with Mississauga Canoe club, however you might get to scope out some good looking kayakers in the mean time.
Hanlan Boat Club
Hanlan Boat Club lies deep in the Port Lands, just east of Cherry Beach. This is one of three clubs (the others are Bayside and Argos) that will offer a subsidy towards membership fees after your Learn to Row course, encouraging you to continue with the sport. Hanlan offers smaller group Learn to Row courses in boats of 4 people. At first, the club doesn't seem too impressive - they lack a complete boat house and have no running water, which means you're stuck doing you business in port-a-potties. However, Hanlan proves you don't need all the gimmicks to be successful, as Upper Canada College rows out of the club and produces one of the top rowing programs in the country.
Writing by Lauren Brown. Photo by Caro Kronlachner.