Club d’aviron de Laval’s rowers excel at Lachine Canal meet

CAL has been located near the Lachapelle Bridge in Chomedey since the 1960s

Although the officials in Lachine had troubles with the timing and results were not complete, rowers with the Club d’aviron de Laval finished first last weekend in women’s open quad (boat of four rowers) as well as mixed double (a boat with two rowers).

Some members of the Club d’aviron de Laval are seen here last Sunday next to the basin at the Lachine Canal after they took part in rowing competitions throughout the morning and part of the afternoon.

Located in Chomedey behind École Saint-Maxime at a small beach along the Rivière des Prairies known as the Berge des Cageux, the CAL is a local community sporting group that has been offering rowing activities to people of all ages and all skill levels since 1956.

Men rowers belonging to the Club d’aviron de Laval withdraw their boat and gear from the basin at the Lachine Canal last Sunday at the end of a busy of competing. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Laval News)

Many ways to compete

In rowing, there are several boat classes in which athletes may compete, ranging from single sculls, occupied by one person, to shells with eight rowers and a coxswain (navigator).

There are a wide variety of course types and formats for racing, although most elite and championship level racing is conducted on calm water courses up to two kilometres long, with marked lanes.

The CAL was founded by a small group of German-Canadians led by Albert Conrad. He volunteered to allow the back yard of his home along the Rivière des Prairies to be used as the CAL’s first base of operations. The club has been located at its current base near the Lachapelle Bridge since the 1960s.

A long club history

The Club d’aviron de Laval’s many rowing boats are transported by trailer to competitive events. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Laval News)

When the club first started, it was known as the Montreal Rowing Club and was affiliated with rowing clubs along the waterways of eastern Ontario. The CAL holds the distinction of being the first rowing club in Canada to allow women to take up rowing as a sport.

The club offers new members a variety of programs, depending on their rowing experience, their goals, age and the physical shape they’re in. The club’s resources and facilities include around thirty boats, with some for novices, for recreational practice, as well as for more advanced members who take part in grueling competitions.

Good showings last Sunday

Around 25 of the club’s members took part in competitions held on a basin at the Lachine Canal last Sunday morning and afternoon. In addition to the women’s victories, the men finished second in junior under 17 doubles, and third in the men’s master quad and mixed double.

The club’s members took part in competitions at the Lachine Canal

Club members also participated in the women’s junior U19 double and the master men’s skiff events. At the Laval News’s deadline earlier this week, CAL athletes were waiting to hear whether the club won in the U23 women’s skiff event, although the aforementioned timing problems were delaying the results.

A great overall sport

According to CAL spokesperson Florian Cys, the club’s members, numbering as many as 100, compete in rowing events every two to three weeks during the summer and into the fall. He notes that rowing gets ranked alongside swimming as one of the best overall sports for low physical impact and positive development to cardiovascular health.

“The sport is open to everyone and to all ages,” he said, pointing out that the CAL’s members hold practices near the Lachapelle Bridge almost every morning beginning as early as 6 am. There are also early evening practice sessions around 5:30 pm for those arriving home after work.

The Club d’aviron de Laval is located in Chomedey at 3676 Boulevard Lévesque Ouest. Phone: 450-687-8812. E-mail: