For the past seven years, each late spring, summer and early fall, two City of Leduc residents have devoted most of their ‘leisure time’ to share their passion for water sports with hundreds, probably thousands of fans of the great outdoors and water sports.
Rob Borrelli and his wife Michelle Manovich are the co-founders and operators of the Leduc Boat Club. While they both have a successful career, the amount of time they have generously invested in the club amounts to a second job. Hosted in a spacious trailer and adjacent land on the south shore of Telford Lake, the Leduc Boat Club is the operating arm of the Telford Lake Training Centre Society, formed in 2004 and run by a board of directors.
The 2005 World Masters Games were held in Edmonton and all of its paddling sports were hosted on Telford Lake, a three kilometer long natural, scenic lake at the east end of 50th Avenue, dubbed ‘Main Street’. The race course, docks and other components were the Games’ legacy to the Leduc Boat Club, officially created in 2008.
The Leduc Boat Club teaches several paddling sports, such as rowing, outrigger canoe, kayak, traditional canoe and SUP (Stand-Up Paddling), an exciting new sport where one stands on a large board similar to a wakeboard and propels forward with a long-handle paddle. The club also provides corporate rentals for Dragon Boating and hosts major paddling events throughout the summer months.
The City of Leduc is proud to have been selected to host the 2016 Alberta Summer Games. Telford Lake is considered by many to be a perfect venue for training and large paddling events; the cooperation of Leduc Boat Club executive, members and volunteers will undoubtedly contribute to a great success in that area.
The City of Leduc’s proposed structure plans to transform the Leduc Boat Club into a world-class facility. In 2012, the Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival was moved to Telford Lake from its original venue, when the water levels of the North Saskatchewan River were too high for a safe completion of this iconic festival. The Leduc Boat Club executive and volunteers worked together to prepare the venue and the course markers; the Festival was a complete success. Hundreds of regional dragon boaters have fond memories of having competed on Telford Lake, and of the impressive entertainment that was provided for paddlers and spectators.
The annual ‘Row For Kids’ is a summertime fundraiser for the Stollery Foundation. Leduc Boat Club executive and members have contributed for several years in preparing the venue and welcoming the group that plans and executes this critical and popular fundraiser. In June and September, well-attended kids’ camps and school groups offer training in canoe, kayak and SUP.
On the evening of Friday, May 22, Leduc Boat Club members and friends gathered at the lake to say goodbye to Rob and Michelle, who are moving to Campbell River on Vancouver Island due to Rob’s exciting promotion, while Michelle will gladly be transferring to a new position with WestJet Encore. The daily operation of the Club will fall into the capable hands of two tireless and long-time members, John Bohaychuk and Stu Gravel. Two summer students and one rowing coach will contribute to the Leduc Boat Club’s fine tradition of training and event facilitation.
On Saturday, May 23, the Leduc Boat Club hosted a successful Open House, a well-attended tradition that once again this year introduced many paddling sports to dozens of regional water lovers. With the lake waters having been checked once again and deemed absolutely clean and safe, the Leduc Boat Club is looking forward to another busy season.
City of Leduc Mayor, Greg Krishke, came to visit during the Open House to personally wish Rob & Michelle the best and he agreed that, “The City of Leduc and the Capital Region owe a great debt of gratitude to Rob Borrelli and Michelle Manovich who shared their passion, skills and friendly ways to benefit the Leduc Boat Club and this city, and to promote the various paddling sports.” It’s not farewell… it’s only goodbye, Rob and Michelle! Enjoy British Columbia, your new positions, your new home and paddling on ocean waters, and come back to visit soon!