The Glengarry Sport 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 presented in The Review over the next few weeks leading up to the induction ceremony. This week we feature canoeist Corey Van Loon.

The Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame has announced canoeist Corey Van Loon as an inductee for 2022.

Van Loon was raised on the family dairy farm in Martintown, which belonged to his parents, Corey Sr., and Johanna Van Loon. It was through a friendship developed with school mate 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 would go on to win the Raisin River Race an impressive total of 13 times between the years 1991 through to 2014. He was inspired and developed his skills as a result of the mentorship he received as a member of the Raisin River Canoe Club. Some of these club members have been inducted previously into the Sports Hall of Fame. One such inductee is Bruno Major of Williamstown, who actually loaned Corey a canoe until he could afford one of his own. Corey credits much of his paddling success to the teaching, guidance, and mentorship of Bruno. Van Loon recalls that training in these early years consisted of mini races amongst the Canoe Club members that would see them paddle between Williamstown and Lancaster several times a week in order to prepare for competitions outside Glengarry.

Building on these early successes on the Raisin River, and with the support of his family, Van Loon began to compete at the provincial and national levels. In the years between 1987 and 1997, he paddled his way to 83 top three finishes in races throughout 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 class. He claimed gold at the World Championships held in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania, in 1993. By this time, his passion for marathon canoeing was obvious and combined with his competitive nature and expert paddling skills, Van Loon brought home 12 gold, nine silver medals and a bronze during this time span. As a solo paddler, a C2 teammate or a member of a larger team, Van Loon has paddled and/or raced in all Canadian provinces except Newfoundland and the Yukon.

As is with all successful athletes, there have been those peak experiences with inspirational fellow competitors that have remained most special with Van Loon since his retirement from the pro circuit. In May 1989, Corey was an amateur racing in a C1 event in Québec, where he finished third and defeated many decorated professional paddlers from across North America. It was at this event where he was introduced to Canada’s own ‘King of the River’, Serge Corbin. Soon after, Corey teamed up to race with Corbin and considered it a true honour to be racing in C2 events alongside him.

Van Loon achieved national rankings over several years but always second to this co-competitor, teammate, and now long-time friend, Corbin. Grueling multiple day events such as the Shubenacadie Canal System Regatta out of Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Cooperstown Race in New York, and the North American Triple Crown event, the 70-mile General Clinton Canoe Regatta, 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, Québec. The combined time of these three races resulted in an impressive fifth place finish.

Corey’s accomplishments are recognized by his peers and his community. He is a two-time winner of the Ontario Paddler of the Year in 1992 and 1993. In 1994 he was awarded the Jacques Richard Memorial Trophy for Cornwall’s Most Outstanding Sports Personality. In 1998, Van Loon retired from competition and has given back to the sport through his committee work with the Raisin River Canoe Race. He has served as a member of the Executive Committee for the Ontario Marathon Canoe Racing Association and filled it’s role as Vice President in 1993.

In 1994 Van Loon served as chairman of the Canadian Tire Canoe Challenge event that twice brought professional canoe racing to Cornwall for its Canada Day celebrations. In 2008, Corey was a member of a local group who received the prestigious Simon Fraser Memorial Trophy acknowledging their contributions to the sport of canoeing in 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 dad 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 to be held in Maxville on August 17. For information about the event, or Corey Van Loon, 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.