The Story of My Paddling Life

By Madeleine Hall

Our family had a cottage on Lac St Joseph where I spent every summer until I was 19 years old. I participated in any sport available. We swam, water skied, sailed, played tennis and paddled. Paddling was my favourite sport at the lake.  We competed with Lac Beauport and Lac Sergent in the Quebec Federation.

After winning many local and divisional races in C-1 and C-2   I changed my discipline to the kayak in 1965 in order to participate in the first women’s races at Nationals, the K-1, K-2 and war canoe. At that first Canadian Championships for women, I won silver in K-2 and came fourth in K-1.  I also raced for Canada at the North American Championships in Gananoque in 1965.

Soon I was busy with school and began teaching.  In 1968 I married Richard Hall and  we eventually moved to Pointe-Claire to raise our family.

One day in 1989 I was walking along the lake and saw someone in a K-1 being coached by someone on the shore. Little did I know that Pointe-Claire had just opened a canoe club!  This began chapter two of my paddling life!

To summarize a very long and involved chapter two, I volunteered at Pointe-Claire for many years while my daughter Erin and later my son Thomas paddled. After 10 years as commodore of the club I joined CKC’s Domestic Development Committee in 2006 and was vice chair from 2009 to 2012.

In 2012 I became commodore of the Sprint Racing Council of CKC and president of the Board of Directors in 2015.

I remained commodore until November 2017 and still serve as Past Commodore and as member of the Board of Directors.

During those years I was involved in many canoe club and CKC projects from fund raising to co-hosting the 2008 Pan Am Canoe championships and Olympic Qualifier at the Olympic Basin.

The highlight of my experience with CKC and paddling in general was watching my son Thomas win a bronze medal at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.

Paddling has enriched my life in so many ways, especially giving me the opportunity to forge so many wonderful friendships from across Canada. I believe that the paddling community is unique and full of potential of all sorts. We come from all walks of life and the paddling brings us together on an equal footing. All we need is a boat and a body of water!

I hope the Alumni group keeps us together to continue our association with our beloved sport.