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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

HAROLD W. REA

Inducted in 1976

Member Details

Date of Birth: September 26, 1907
Place of Birth: Kincardine, Ontario
Date of Passing: July 19, 1985
Sport: Multisport
Member Category: Builder

Career Highlights

1963-65

Canadian YMCA, national president

1969

Sport for Canadians taskforce, chair

1969-75

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, chair-board of governors

1970

Canadian Coaching Association, chair

1978

Named to the Order of Canada

1981

Named to the Canadian YMCA Fellowship of Honour

Honoured Member HAROLD W. REA
Inspire

Story

Contributions to sport do not take place only on the field and in training rooms. In the 1960s and 1970s, far from the glare of the sporting spotlight, people such as W. Harold Rea worked hard to shape the direction that sport took as Canada emerged as an important nation in international competition. Rea retired from business in 1963 following a lengthy career as a chartered accountant that had led him to the oil industry and eventually the presidency of Canadian Oil. He also held a number of corporate directorships and was involved with healthcare, educational, and faith-based community service organizations. The sport and recreation community were soon to be well-served by Rea's civic mindedness. He dedicated the first 15 years of his retirement to advancing sport and recreation opportunities for Canadians. From 1963 to 1965, he was the Canadian YMCA's national president. His service was recognized in 1981 when the YMCA inaugurated the Canadian YMCA Fellowship of Honour and Rea was named the first-ever national member of the fellowship. The election of the Pierre Trudeau federal government in 1968 ushered in a new era in Canadian sport. Trudeau had pledged to improve Canada's standing in international sport and, after the 1968 federal election, his government moved to re-examine the ways in which the 1961 Fitness and Amateur Sport Act was being implemented. A three-person task force, the Task Force on Sport for Canadians, was formed and Rea was named chair. The report, which was tabled in the House of Commons in February 1969, led to a White Paper from the Minister for National Health and Welfare John Munro. "A Proposed Sports Policy for Canadians" re-imagined the government's involvement in sport and physical activity and supported the task force's recommendations, including increased federal government support for Olympic athletes, the creation of both Hockey Canada and Sport Canada, and the establishment of the National Administration Centre for Sport and Recreation. One of the organizations founded as a result of the task force's report was the Canadian Coaching Association, of which Rea was named founding chair in 1970. Rea was not only contributing to the future of Canadian sport at this time; he was also helping to preserve and honour its past. From 1969 to 1975, Rea served as chairman of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame's board of governors. For all of his contributions, both within and beyond sport, Rea was named a member of the Order of Canada in 1978.


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