Canoeist Corey Van Loon named 2022 inductee into Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame

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The Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame will induct five new nominees on August 17. The Hall of Fame has provided biographies for each of the 2022 inductees, which will be featured in The Review in the coming weeks leading up to the induction ceremony. This week we feature canoeist Corey Van Loon.

The Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame has announced that canoeist Corey Van Loon will be inducted for 2022.

Van Loon grew up on the family dairy farm in Martintown, which was owned by his parents, Corey Sr., and Johanna Van Loon. It was through a friendship developed with fellow schoolmate Martin Lang while attending Char Lan High School that he was introduced to canoeing and began participating in the annual Raisin River Canoe Races.

Van Loon won the Raisin River Race an impressive total of 13 times between the years of 1991 and 2014. He was inspired and developed his skills through the mentorship he received as a member of the Raisin River Canoe Club. Some of these club members have already been inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame. One of those inductees is Bruno Major of Williamstown, who actually lent Corey a canoe until he could afford his own. Corey credits much of his paddling success to Bruno’s teaching, guidance and mentorship. Van Loon recalls that training in those early years consisted of mini-races between Canoe Club members which saw them paddling between Williamstown and Lancaster several times a week in preparation for competitions away from Glengarry.

Building on these early successes on the Raisin River and with the support of his family, Van Loon began competing at provincial and national levels. Between 1987 and 1997, he paddled as many as 83 top-three finishes in races across Canada and the Northeastern United States.

In 1990 and 1991, the Martintown native won back-to-back championships in the North American long distance amateur category. He won gold at the World Championships held in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania in 1993. By this time his passion for marathon canoeing was evident and combined with his competitive nature and expert paddling skills, Van Loon has won 12 gold medals, nine silver medals and one bronze medal during this period. As a solo paddler, C2 teammate or part of a larger team, Van Loon has paddled and/or raced in every Canadian province except Newfoundland and the Yukon.

As with all successful athletes, there were those peak experiences with other inspiring competitors that have remained most special with Van Loon since his retirement from the professional circuit. In May 1989, Corey was an amateur competing in a C1 event in Quebec, where he finished third and beat many decorated professional paddlers from across North America. It was during this event that he was introduced to Canada’s “king of the river”, Serge Corbin. Shortly after, Corey teamed up to race with Corbin and considered it a real honor to compete in C2 events alongside him.

Van Loon has achieved national rankings over several years, but still second to fellow competitor, teammate and now longtime friend Corbin. Grueling multi-day events such as the Shubenacadie Canal System Regatta in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Cooperstown Race in New York and the North American Triple Crown event, the General Clinton 70-Mile Canoe Regatta, from Cooperstown to Bainsbridge, New York, USA, the 120-mile Weyerhaeuser Ausable River, Greyand to Oscada Michigan, USA and the 100-Mile La Classique, Latuque to Trois Rivières, Quebec. The combined time from those three races resulted in an impressive fifth place finish.

Corey’s accomplishments are recognized by his peers and community. He twice won the Ontario Paddler of the Year award in 1992 and 1993. In 1994 he received the Jacques Richard Memorial Trophy for Cornwall’s Most Outstanding Sports Personality. In 1998, Van Loon retired from competition and gave back to the sport through his committee work with the Raisin River Canoe Race. He was a member of the executive committee of the Ontario Marathon Canoe Racing Association and fulfilled his role as vice-president in 1993.

In 1994, Van Loon was chairman of the Canadian Tire Canoe Challenge event which twice brought professional canoe racing to Cornwall for Canada Day celebrations. In 2008, Corey was a member of a local group that received the prestigious Simon Fraser Memorial Trophy recognizing their contributions to the sport of paddling at SD&G.

Van Loon resides in South Stormont and owns Nature Sweet Bees Apiary with his wife Wendy. Corey has two children, Katelyn and Cody, who often race with their father on the Raisin River.

Corey Van Loon is one of five local athletes who will be inducted into the Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame at its banquet in Maxville on August 17. For more information on the event or Corey Van Loon, please feel free to contact the Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame via the Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame webpage or by phone at 613-525-1044.

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