Born in 1941, Garry McArthur has spent a lifetime both participating in and promoting sport inside and outside of our community. He is indeed an outstanding example of athletic excellence from Glengarry. Garry began his pursuit of athletics as a young boy competing in highland dancing. He did well, competed at the Glengarry Highland Games, and won a number of competitions in the early 1950's.
Garry was noted as an athletic talent throughout the 1950's in high school. There he excelled in football, hockey, track and field and wrestling. He attended both Williamstown High School, which then became Char-Lan as well as Glengarry District. Williamstown was the first home to Garry's athletic proficiency. Coached in both hockey and football by Ron Charon, Garry received the school letter. He played left wing and defence in hockey, and fullback in football. Garry was known for his speed in both sports and was a scoring force for his teams. His teams won a number of championships and Garry was always a great contributor. For example, he scored the most touchdowns (4 or 5), in a game to beat Hawkesbury in the 1959 school final. Since Hawkesbury, at that time, was known as a football powerhouse, this was quite a feat. In another rainy year's final, he ran the kick-off back in the rain and mud and scored the only touchdown of the game.
Not to be left out of individual competition, Garry, coached by Glen Wagner, excelled in track and field. His speed was outstanding as he competed in and set records in the 100, 200, and 440 yard runs (pre metric days). He also competed in the long and triple jumps and did very well.
Garry's athletic ability was not limited to school sports. In the late 1950's and early 1960's, he played and stood out in both Junior B, and Intermediate A hockey. He played Jr. B for the Alexandria Glens and was a major factor in a championship win one year. He also played Intermediate A for Lancaster and Morrisburg and was a scoring threat for those teams as well. To add to his winter sport portfolio, Garry began to curl in the late 1950's. He was an exceptional talent on this rink too. For years he curled competitively and won many prizes and bonspiels. He played all positions and ended up skipping for many years. One of his teams, which included Leonard MacLachlan as skip, curled for the Lancaster Legion and represented the area at the provincial level.
Garry's interest in sport was not limited to competing in it himself. He also spent many years promoting sportsmanship as an official. He umpired fastball in the Border League and in Cornwall for a number of years.
In addition to team sports, Garry's need for speed was confirmed through his many racing exploits. Garry's racing was not limited to using his own power. He raced snowmobiles and boats. He helped train and assist his uncle, Alex Gordon, with racehorses in Montreal, Malone, Yonkers, Rideau Carlton and at Blue Bonnets. Garry's snowmobile racing career took place, with much success, during the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Finally, Garry's boating career takes him to today. He always had a love for the water. Having grown up on the St. Lawrence and always having had a boat, it was inevitable that Garry would eventually race them. His racing career began by helping to build race boats with Denis Brodeur of Rivière Beaudette, and working in the pits at the Valleyfield Regatta. He stepped behind the wheel himself in the early 1980s and raced tunnel hull outboard motor speedboats. He set a record in 1983 that is still standing. He is also a member of the prestigious 100 mile-an-hour club. This is a notable accomplishment as he is one of very few Canadians to achieve this mark of distinction. Garry raced for a number of years in the 1980s and did very well. Today Garry uses his knowledge of sport and technical expertise as head inspector and pit manager for boat racing all over Canada and the United States in the Canadian Boating Federation. He is also a well known and sought after inspector and referee for the American Power Boating Association. He is very proud of being a Canadian Official for the international organization, Union International Motonautique and has had to pass international examinations to be a part of it. It is truly international in that results of the races are sent to Monaco. Most recently, he has been the Canadian representative for UIM in Cambridge Maryland, and Trenton Michigan.
Garry's sense of sportsmanship and fairness observed over a lifetime of sport and competition has made him an important part of North American boat racing.
The one area that has not yet been mentioned is the time he gave to his students as a coach while teaching, He had a number of successful teams in various sports but was most successful in instilling a sense of pride, sportsmanship and love of sport to his students.
The following is a quote from his daughter Tara: "I have witnessed some of my father's sporting success. I have known of his talents as an athlete but more importantly, I have been taught and have seen first hand in my father the importance of and reason for sport. Sports and competition exist to teach teamwork, and to push one to strive to be the best they can. Sports exist to improve people and communities. I have always seen the best brought out of my father by sport. He would rather lose than cheat or not play fair. He does not like politics in sports and does not feel they have a place. My father competes in, and loves sports for its own sake. Winning, although important, is not the reason he participates.
My father has given much to the community through his participation in and promotion of sport. There may be other athletes as talented as he was, but a hall of fame athlete should personify excellence in sport. This includes not only being a talented athlete, but also promoting and exemplifying excellence in all aspects of sport. My father's talent speaks for itself through his many championships, trophies and awards.
However, the things that can't be measured such as his sportsmanship and his contribution to sport in Glengarry should also be acknowledged. His life has revolved around the tenets of sport. He is always fair, always competitive and always strives for excellence in sport whether as a participant, coach or official."
Garry is still teaching. As a 1st Lt. in the Cornwall Power and Sail Squadron he teaches part of the Boating Course and part of the Boat Pro Course for the Pleasure Craft Operator Card.
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