Friday, March 3, 2017

Spotlight on our Heritage #12: The Paris Crew

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is part of a series of features prepared for Heritage Week 2017, entitled Spotlight on our Heritage. This particular "spotlight" highlights New Brunswick's Paris Crew, Honoured members of the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame.

The Paris Crew (Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, P98/134)

The Paris Crew

On July 8, 1867, three fishermen and a lighthouse keeper took the international rowing world by storm, with their upset win at the famed Paris Exposition’s International Rowing Regatta. The crew was comprised of oarsmen George Price, Robert Fulton, Elijah Ross and Samuel Hutton. All were from Saint John, New Brunswick.

The Paris Crew’s underdog victory against Britain and Europe’s best rowers made them national heroes back home in Canada, on the very week that Canada became a nation, inspiring pride and unity in the new country.

The Paris Crew is a classic David and Goliath story of overcoming insurmountable sporting odds to reach the pinnacle of victory. The four rowers were all Irish, all working class, having travelled to Paris on funds raised by the citizens of Saint John and the province of New Brunswick. In Paris, they were ridiculed by the European press as backward colonials, with a poorly designed boat, improper rowing technique, and clownish costumes. Nobody ever expected the Canadians to win… but they did!

New Brunswick’s rowing team won both world championship races at the 1867 Paris Regatta, scoring upsets, and thus becoming known as The Paris Crew. They also won the 1868 Championship of America in Springfield (Massachusetts), as well as races at Lachine, Toronto and Niagara the same year. The Paris Crew was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1956 and the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame in 1972.

For more information and pictures of The Paris Crew, please visit the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame’s Honoured Members website:

Also watch the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame’s web site for updates on events taking place this summer to commemorate The Paris Crew. You can also follow the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame on Facebook (“NB Sports Hall of Fame”) and Twitter (@NBSHF).

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