A E NORRIS
During some of the Cartierville Boating Club's "Glory Days" in the l960's and 70's, one of the people who worked behind the scenes for the benefit of the paddlers and the Club was Ed Norris. His contribution to paddling was indeed unique and made him a special member of the racing committee for many years, especially under Chairman Lou Lukanovich. Ed served the Club as the official in charge of Publicity (l966-74), a job that reported regatta results and promoted the sport of Canoeing to the Press. He also went on to become Publicity Officer of the Quebec Division of the CCA under Flag Officer Wilf Simon. Rene Pilon took on the job of publicity in the French newspapers.What is interesting is that he was a self-made reporter, a "beat-writer" who covered all local and regional regattas throughout the racing season. Thus, he was a liason between the world of paddling and the Press---the voice of paddlers.
Ed worked for the T. Eaton Company for over 40 years (1932-75). At the time of WWII, Ed joined the Victoria Rifles then was transferred to the Black Watch, 1st Battalion before being sent overseas. He was captured by the Germans in France and spent six months in a prison camp before being liberated in the Spring of 1945.
The Norris family, Ed & Helen, Brian (6) and Sandra (4) joined the Club in 1954 by chance, as luck would have it. The story goes that one day, Helen was asked by one of the ladies if she would like to replace someone at a bridge party they were having at her Club. So she went along and saw the Club for the first time. Soon after, the whole family were there. Dad taught the children to swim in the Back River and a few years later, Brian and Sandra were learning to paddle in the War Canoes.
At this time, Cartierville was in the midst of its heyday as Canadian Champions (1957-65). Being in the Club during this special era was an unforgettable experience even for non-paddlers. Ed knew a lot about sports by this time and was a keen observer. As a boy, he grew up in Montreal, and went to Queen's School and Westmount High School, where he played on the championship football team in 1925. He loved sports , especially baseball and hockey. The Montreal Royals and the Montreal Maroons were his favourite teams and he attended their games regularly. By the time he got to Cartierville, he could tell that this was no ordinary amateur sport club, but a first class operation from top to bottom. What impressed him the most was how hard paddlers were willing to train, and the leadership and direction taken by the coaching staff in order for Cartierville to be the best Club in Canada. What didn't seem fair to him was that the press was giving most of their ink to professional athletes in high profile sports like hockey and baseball who played for money, while amateur athletes like paddlers were competing "for the love of the game" and not getting the recognition they deserved.
Ed contacted some of the more well known sportswriters at the Montreal Star and The Gazette newspapers and asked them if they would give paddling some attention in their sports columns. They agreed all right, but wanted Ed to feed them with interesting news and stories. So, for the next ten years Ed wrote about paddling. He promoted upcoming regattas, travelled to local, regional and Canadian Championship regatta sites to record racing results for printing, provided history and personality profiles, and at the start of the season, helped to recruit new paddlers through the press.
Ed was so friendly and kind that anyone who met him and spoke to him for a few minutes probably felt as if they had known him all their lives. He dedicated himself to anything he took on---his family, his company, and his love of sports. He fought for his country and championned the cause for paddlers. It was a happy paddler indeed who opened the Monday morning papers and there, on one of the sports pages were the weekend regatta results and his or her name as well.
Looking back, it is interesting to see that Ed indeed played a unique role in the history of Canoe racing in Quebec: He may have been the Quebec Division's first and only Publicity Officer ever, as it seems that no one before or after him has taken on this role. Yet, Ed was more than an a Canoeing Official, he was and still is an inspiration to us all. His greatest joy was in giving---doing what he could do best to contribute to the Club's ideals of developing champions, not just in paddling, but in life as well. Thus, by trumpeting and boosting paddlers in the Press, Ed Norris encouraged their pursuit of excellence and the good life too.
Ed Norris with Family: His Wife Helen, Daughter Sandra and Son Brian at O'Brien Boulevard in Ville St. Laurent