Athletics Ontario announces Hall of Fame Inductees

Athletics Ontario is pleased to announce the 2017 Inductees in to the AO Hall of Fame.  The ceremony is to take place on Saturday September 30, in conjunction with the Athlete of the Year Awards Banquet, “Celebrating Excellence in Athletics”.

The banquet, in addition to the presentation of awards to Hall of Fame Inductees, will also include the presentations of Athlete of the Year Awards for athletes in most age-groups and event groups.  More details will be available in the coming weeks.

The following athletes and builders will be inducted into the Athletics Ontario Hall of Fame on September 30:

George Walters, Builder (1929-)

George has been a volunteer in sports, particularly in athletics in the Thunder Bay area, for over 50 years.  He has been involved in a major way in the development of athletes through the Legion Camp Program.

As a meet director and official, George has organized hundreds of competitions, even competitions in Manitoba.

George represented North Western Region on the OTFA Board of Directors and was the key contact for OTFA in the region throughout his time in Thunder Bay. He played leading roles in organization of 1981 Canada Summer Games (Chairman of Officials) and OFSAA Championships in Thunder Bay.

Additionally, George officiated in many local, regional, provincial, national, international meets 1983 World University Games (Edmonton) & 1993 World Indoors in Toronto.

Bob Vigars, Builder (1944-)

Bob has been an incredible builder of the sport of track and field at several levels.  He started the Western International Invitational Cross Country meet in 1977 on a cross country course that ran behind Brescia College.

In 1986 Bob designed a Cross Country Course on Thames Valley Golf Course.  That course has been used for 27 years and has hosted the Western International Meet 27 times, the Ontario University championship meet once and the Canadian University championship meet 6 times “The Valley” course is regarded as the best university cross country course in the country.

He has been meet director for all of these events and that brings the number of events that he has directed in his career, including Track & Field, Cross Country and Gymnastics to an amazing 350.

Bob is the longest serving head coach among all coaches in all sports in the Western Mustangs history. Additionally, he holds the Western Mustang all-time record among all coaches for the most team’s coaches as head coach, with a total of 6. He holds the record among all coaches in all sports in Western Mustang history for the most championships won with a total of 43.

He has been an incredible builder of the sport of track and field, at several levels. He was the Founder of the London-Western Track and Field Club, the Don Wright Team Challenge, the Season’s Opener and the Western Open. He is the author of both the inaugural OUA and CIA T&F Championships Playing Regs as well as the Founder of both the CIS Cross Country Coaches Association and CIS Track and Field Coaches Association. He has written and published a book, by the name of “Track & Field Curriculum for Physical Education.”

He was named the Head Coach of Team Canada for the 2010 FISU World University Championships in Cross Country, leading Canada to its best results in World University Cross Country history.

All of these outstanding contributions have led to his induction into the Western Cross Country/Track and Field Hall of Fame, Western’s All Sports Hall of Fame, and the London Sports Hall of Fame. Congratulations Bob, on adding the Athletics Ontario Hall of Fame to that list.

Mike Illingworth, Builder (1954-2015)

Mike was the expert that so many sought out whenever there were questions on rules or procedures.  Mike was a long time official in Ontario.  He was a throws official and reached the National Level.  He was also one of the pioneers in Ontario as Photo Finish official and Technical Manager.  His passion and dedication brought him to be the guru of technical services in Ontario and Canada.

While a Director on the OTFA Board, he worked at many committees like the Policies and By Law Committee and chair for the Technical Committee.

He officiated various major competitions including, but not limited to:

  • The 1993 IAAF World Indoor and many others
  • The 2001 IAAF World Outdoor Championships
  • The 2009 Canada Games
  • The 2010 IAAF World Juniors

Vital Shank, Builder (1948-)

For over 40 years Vital Shank has been the leading force behind the Timmins-Porcupine Track & Field Club and also of the North Central Region during the OTFA’s regional period.

Vital operates an athletics club that caters to athletes of all ages and levels of performance.  This means not only the organization of local and regional competitions but also the arrangement of numerous, lengthy and costly trips to southern Ontario and other places where a higher level of competition is available.  Vital and the club coaches under his watchful eye have produced hundreds of Canadian and Ontario Champions.  Some of these athletes have gone on to representing Canada internationally.

Vital has always been interested in the level of the sport provincially, having served as the Region’s President for many years as well as sitting as a member of Athletics Ontario’s Technical Committee.

Vital has been a strong supporter and promoter of his own community by successfully lobbying for a high level athletics facility.  The city was rewarded by being given hosting rights for 3 Royal Canadian Provincial Championships (including one this summer) and an Athletics Ontario Bantam-Midget-Youth Championship meet.

Denis Landry, Builder (1948-2008)

Denis Landry’s contributions to the sport began in his native northern Ontario as a member of a winning OFSAA cross-country team.  After high school in Iroquois Falls, he graduated from the University of Windsor (BA – 74). He returned to North Bay to teach; it was there that his lifelong career in coaching and administration began and moved from strength to strength.

His high school distance program in North Bay developed athletes who went on to compete with distinction nationally and internationally. The great University of Ottawa cross-country teams of the 1980’s were built on a core of those same athletes: they won national university championships as individuals for six consecutive years (1985-1990) and as a team – with Denis as Coach of the Year – on three occasions (1986, 1987 and 1990).

While still in North Bay, Denis played key roles in staging the numerous major competitions that northern Ontario attracted, from national cross-country to the inaugural Pan-American Junior Athletics Championships. He was a member of the OTFA (now AO) Board from 1974 to 1983, with the last four years as president.

Such accomplishment could not fail to be noticed elsewhere. In 1983, Denis became Coaching Development Manager for the CTFA (now Athletics Canada) and served in that role until 1988. This was at a time when Canadian sport had just recognized the need to move away from “kitchen table administration” if international success was to be achieved. The reforms were major, and required all of Denis’ clear vision as an educator and gentle skill as a facilitator in order to implement the coaching programs whose legacy the sport still benefits from today.

He then returned to education, earning an M. Ed (UO – 92) and serving in Ottawa schools as teacher, vice-principal and principal until 2006. He also rejoined the Athletics Ontario Board as vice-president.

Denis’ deep knowledge of the sport and its context were clear. But his greatest accomplishment perhaps lies in what he could inspire in others. As a great listener, his “way” was to wait until everyone had their say. He would then respond with insight and suggestions for action to which everyone felt they had contributed and of which they felt a part. It was the nature of the man that the results were often concerted, powerful and enduring.

Phil Edwards, Athlete (1907-1971)

In 1928, Edwards competed at the Canadian Olympic trials in Hamilton winning the 800m and qualifying for the Olympic Games.  At the Amsterdam Games he placed fourth in the 800m and won a bronze medal as a member of the 4x400m relay team.  He went on to win a total of five bronze medals at three Olympic Games, making him the most decorated Canadian Olympian in the sport of Athletics.  He ran out of the Hamilton Olympic Club during his training.

Jason Tunks, Athlete (1975-)

He was ranked as a top-ten discus thrower in the world for ten consecutive years and holds the Canadian National Record at 67.88m. In 2012, Tunks was inducted into the London (Ontario) Sports Hall of Fame, and in 2014, he was inducted into the Canadian Track and Field Hall of Fame.

Some of Jason’s accomplishments from throughout his career include:
– A 9th place finish at the 1997 World Championships in Athletics in Athens
– A third place finish in 1998, and a second-place finish in 2002, both at the Commonwealth Games
– A 6th place finish at the 2000 Olympic Games, with a throw of 65.80. This record remains the best throw of any Canadian Discus thrower to date
– An 11th place in the 2003 World Championships in Athletics in Paris, with 62.21m (204.10 ft.)
– And an 8th place finish at the 2005 World Championships in Athletics in Helsinki.

Additionally, he won the Gold medal at the 2003 Pan Am Games and a Bronze medal at the 1999 Pan Am Games.

Catherine Bond-Mills, Athlete & Builder (1967-)

As an athlete, Catherine won 11 Canadian championships from 1989 through 1999 establishing a national record three times.

Catherine competed in the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Summer Games, three Commonwealth Games (1990, 1994 and 1996 winning a bronze medal), and four World Championships (1993, 1995, 1998 and 1999)

As a coach, Bond-Mills has been on the coaching staff of the Canadian Junior track and field teams since 2005 and has coached in the world championships.  She was a coach of the Ontario team at the 2005 Canada Summer Games in Regina.

Some of her other awards and inductions include:

  • U of T Athlete of the year in 1990
  • Woodstock Hall of Fame in 1998
  • U of T Sports Hall of Fame in 2002
  • London Sports Hall of Fame in 2006

She has been an astounding role model, having given back so much to this fantastic sport which gave her so much, and she is more than deserving of this award.

Dana Ellis Buller, Athlete (1979-)

Dr. Dana Ellis Buller was Canada’s top female pole vaulter in the beginning of the 21st century, holding the Canadian record both indoors and outdoors between the years 2000 and 2008. Dana finished 6th at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, 5th at the 2003 Pan American Games and then she had a remarkable 6th place finish at both the 2004 Olympic Games and the 2005 World Championships.

Dana was ranked 8th in the world by Track & Field News in 2005 and set the Canadian record of 4.52 m in 2007.

George Puce, Athlete (1940-)

George Puce was the third best discus thrower in the world in 1968. He was a member of Canada’s Olympic team and competed in Mexico City where he placed 13th in the discus. George won 3 Commonwealth Games medals, including a bronze in the shot put in 1966 to go along with a silver in the discus.  His third was a gold in the discus in 1970. George was awarded a bronze medal in the discus at the 1963 FISU Games and the 1967 Pan Am Games.

George was the Canadian Champion in the discus in 1966, 1968, 1969 and held the Canadian Record of 211-3 (64.39) set in 1968 (formerly 172-6 (52.58m) in 1962). This record stood until 1976.

Ed Archibald, Athlete (1884-1965)

Ed Archibald was a member of Canada’s 1908 Olympic Team in London, where he was awarded the bronze medal, along with 2 others, in the pole vault with a 3.58m result.  Ed also competed at the 1906 Intercalated Games (Olympic Games) in Athens, Greece, where he placed 7th in the Pentathlon.

Ed held the Canadian and Commonwealth records in the pole vault for a 3.78m result that same year.

To go along with a 1908 Canadian Championship title in the pole vault, he won the hammer with a throw of 39.34m, and set the Canadian record in the javelin with a throw of 40.14m.