History

History

In 1973, Bob Staveley, who is still a coach with the club today, founded the East Ottawa Lions Track & Field Club, named after the service club of the same name that provided the initial financial support for the new club. The Lions became one of the better clubs in Ontario by the 1980s with outstanding world ranked international race walker, Ann Peel, as its premiere athlete.

In 1988, there were a number of smaller clubs in Ottawa all competing for local athletes and the sport suffered from a lack of organisational capacity.  Newly recruited arrival, Andy McInnis, supported by an initiative of Ken Porter and then Club president Vince Fay, brought a new vision to the Ottawa track & field community.  His vision was to have all the coaches in the area working together to provide a coordinated, developmental approach to the training of athletes and a strong calendar of local competitive opportunities.  The immediate result was the merger of a number of training groups under the banner of the re-named Ottawa Lions Track & Field Club in 1989 and the introduction of the Ottawa Summer Twilight Series.

The opening of the Dôme @ Louis-Riel in 2005 marked another turning point in the club’s evolution. Then Club president, Colin Timm, secured a prominent position for the Lions in the use of this unique 400m indoor track facility.  Prior to 2005, it was impossible to find adequate indoor training facilities in the Ottawa area, causing limited programming during the winter months.  Member participation in club programs has grown from 300 per year in the pre-Dome days to well over 1000 today.  This includes providing an indoor track and field program for the University of Ottawa and, after a 15 year absence, an indoor competition calendar.  The club now also supports the development of High School track and field by organising the Dome High School Indoor Series of meets, thus providing a full Spring season of competitive opportunities to local school athletes.