The Royal St. John's Regatta - Timeline
The Royal St. John's Regatta Banner The Royal St. John's Regatta BannerThe Royal St. John's Regatta BannerThe Royal St. John's Regatta Banner spacer
spacer curved corner spacer
Canada's Digital Collections Logo

St. John's historian Paul O'Neill states that rowing matches among the crews of ships in the Harbour of St. John's were held as early as the 1700's
Though unofficial, there is a notice in The Royal Gazette newspaper, August 16th stating that a boat race will take place between two boats, starting alongside the prison ship, Monday next in St. John's Harbour. This is the earliest known record of a rowing match in St. John's
Year of the first official Regatta on St. John's Harbour. Held to coincide with the anniversary of King George III's official coronation on September 22nd, 1761, 57 years earlier.
Death of King George III, probably no Regatta held.
First official Regatta Committee was formed. This committee was called the Amateurs of Boat Racing. Prior to this Regattas were organized "on the fly".
Local paper refers to "the St. John's Annual Regatta" indicating that there were Regattas held between 1818 and 1826, although no records have yet been found.
Last record of races being held on St. John's Harbour.
Death of King George IV, probably no Regatta held.
Death of King William IV, probably no Regatta held.
Death of William Fogarty. Mrs. Jane Flowers and Mr. Patrick Cowman are charged with manslaughter, later cleared of charges by testimony of Dr. Kielley and Dr. McKen. They testify that injuries sustained during a scuffle between Fogarty, Flowers and Cowman could not have caused death.
Fire in city in June. Possibly no Regatta held.
Challenge Race between fisherman from Quidi Vidi and a crew of men from St. John's. The Quidi Vidi crew in the Undine beat the St. John's crew in the Lady Darling. A few days later, a rematch was held and the Quidi Vidi crew beat the St. John's crew yet again, even though they rowed in the Lady Darling.
Novelty race consisting of women crews takes place. This is not on the official program, but was added as a novelty attraction. Women would not row again in the St.John's Regatta for another 93 years.
His Royal Highness Albert Edward, Prince of Wales arrives on the vessel HMS Hero and attends the Regatta. He offers one hundred pounds to the winners of the Fisherman's Race.
This is the first of three Royal visits that will take place during the history of the Regatta.
Political infighting causes much unrest and turmoil in Newfoundland. It is decided that having a public gathering as large as the Regatta may incite a riot among the people, so the Regatta is cancelled and will not return for 10 years.
After a 10 year hiatus, the Regatta is re-introduced into Newfoundland culture. The Regatta Committee takes on a more pro-active role, offering positions to people of influence.
It is believed the tradition of "the first Wednesday in August" is started around this time.
A sculling race takes place between a Nova Scotian named Ferguson and a local man named Richard Squires. Squires defeats Ferguson, and is paraded through town on the shoulders of his fans.
The Seven Placentia Giants consisting of Philip, Daniel, John, Patrick and Moses Morrissey, James Whalen and Coxswain Ed Sinnott make their way into St.John's after carrying their racing boat from Placentia. They win their race, sell their boat and walk back to Placentia. They impress the Governor of the time, Sir John Hawley Glover, and he adds a gold sovereign to their winnings.
An article appears in the Evening Telegram commenting on the low turnout of people at the Regatta, speculating that people no longer feel they can celebrate when they can hardly afford to live.
Amateur Crew in the Dora row the course in the "questionable" time of 9:21. Many felt the time should have been 10:21.
Tragedy grips Regatta as 3 young men - Samuel Gosse, John Martin and Mogue Power - are drowned while rowing in the Terra Nova. Every effort was made to rescue the three boys, but it was a futile attempt. Legend has it that one of the boys was found still seated in the rowing position. It is suspected they suffered heart attacks when hitting the very cold water of Quidi Vidi. The boat is later renamed the Myrtle.
Outer Cove wins the Fishermen's Race in the Myrtle in the time of 9:20, a record which lasts for sixteen years.
Queens Jubilee celebrations
There existed much controversy over the spending of the celebration funds, and the Regatta Committee became enraged when a donation of $30.00 was made from the Jubilee Celebrations Committee. They promptly sent the donation back.
Outer Cove wins the fifth of five consecutive Championships.
The Great Fire sweeps through St.John's leaving thousands homeless. It is decided not to hold the Regatta this year as the shores of Quidi Vidi Lake are filled with tents of families.
Dr. Herbert H. Rendell designs a new racing shell based on designs then in use in England. Using this design, Robert Sexton of the Lawrence Carriage Factory builds the Glance. This design is still the standard used for building shells today.
Governor Murray refuses to attend the Regatta stating that the "best" people will not be patronizing.

(continued on Page 2)
Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5