Ned Hanlan, 1887
12 July 1855
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Died||4 January 1908
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Cause of death
|Necropolis Cemetery, Toronto
|Other names||Edward Hanlan (Hanlon)|
|Height||5 feet 8.75 inches (1.7 m)|
|Weight||150 pounds (68.0 kg)|
|Title||World champion sculler|
|Spouse(s)||Margaret Gordon Sutherland|
|Parents||John Hanlon and Mary Gibbs|
Hanlan was born to Irish parents; one of two sons and two daughters. His mother was Mary Gibbs, his father, John, was first a fisherman and later a hotel keeper on the Toronto Islands. The Hanlan family originally lived at the east end of Toronto Island, but a severe storm in 1865 pushed their house into the harbour. It washed ashore near the north end of Gibraltar Point, at the island's west end. A few years later, Hanlan's father built a small hotel there, and the area started becoming known as Hanlan's Point, long before Hanlan became famous. Young Hanlan used to row several kilometres across the harbour to go to and from George Street public school, Toronto every day. He developed speed and strength by rowing his boat with freshly-caught fish to sell at market before other fishermen arrived to compete. By the time Hanlan was a teenager, he was competing in rowing events and he gained his first important success at the age of eighteen, when he became amateur champion of Toronto Bay.
He turned professional in c. 1874 / 5 and soon afterwards he beat all comers at the Centennial International Exhibition at Philadelphia in 1876. In 1877 he became champion sculler of Canada, followed by Champion sculler of the United States in 1878. After further success in North America he decided to test his mettle against Europe and travelled to England in 1879 where, on 16 June 1879 he defeated the English champion, W. Elliott of Blyth, rowing the course from the Mansion House in Newcastle upon Tyne to the Scotswood Bridge on the River Tyne in the record time of 21 minutes 2 seconds. Ultimately he lost only six of his 300 races during his rowing career. He was the world sculling champion for five consecutive years from 1880-1884. Unlike his English professional rivals, he used the slide simultaneously with the swing, kept his body well back, and held his arms straight long past the perpendicular before bending them, added strength being given by the skilful use of his great leg power.
Hanlan was involved in twelve championship races with seven wins and five losses. Strangely, none of these races were in Canada. For further details of the World Title races that Hanlan was involved in see World Sculling Championship.
Diminutive compared to his competition at the height of 5 feet 8.75 inches (1.7 m) and normal race weight of 150 pounds (68.0 kg) and familiar blue shirt, Hanlan was called "the boy in blue". Actor Nicolas Cage portrayed Hanlan in the 1986 film The Boy in Blue. He married on 19 December 1877 Margaret Gordon Sutherland of Pictou, Nova Scotia; they had two sons and six daughters. His elder son, Edward Gordon Hanlan, served as a Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps and died in a flying accident in England in 1917.
Following his career as an athlete, Hanlan became a hotelier like his father, and eventually became involved in municipal politics as an alderman of Toronto. He was the first head coach of the University of Toronto Rowing Club in 1897. In 1900, he decided to leave and coach the crew of Columbia University, New York for some years. Hanlan died of pneumonia at age 52. Ten thousand Torontonians thronged to pay their final respects at the church where his body lay in state.
Toronto, New South Wales, Australia was named after Toronto, Ontario, in honour of Edward Hanlan. Hanlan's visit to Australia in 1884 coincided with the opening of the new subdivision. The area's subdividers, the Excelsior Company, named the land in honour of Hanlan's visit.
In 1926, a larger-than-life bronze statue of a mustachioed, muscular, shirtless Hanlan, shown clad in his rowing trunks, was unveiled on the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition. This monument was relocated to a site near the ferry dock at Hanlan's Point in 2004. In 1980, a postage stamp was issued in his honour commemorating the centenary of his first world championship. In addition, the Ned Hanlan Steamboat is named after him.
A road in Vaughan, Ontario, Hanlan Road, is named after him. Gaudaur Road, named after a fellow World Champion, runs off Hanlan Road.
|Date (DMY)||Event||Place or Course||Length||Opposition||Stake||Win/Lose||Comments|
|1874||Local Championship||Burlington Bay||-||Thomas Louden||-||w||First professional race|
|1875||-||Toronto Bay||-||Thomas Louden||$100 a side||w||in summer|
|1875||Governor General’s Medal||Toronto||2 miles||Louden & Douglas||-||w|
|1876||-||-||-||James Douglas||w||in spring|
|1876||-||-||-||William McKay||-||w||in spring|
|12/8/1876||Championship of Ontario||-||-||McKen||-||w|
|1876||International Centennial Regatta||Philadelphia||3 miles||Many top men||-||w||Won several heats also|
|13/6/1876||match||Silver Lake, Boston||-||Fred Plaisted||-||l|
|26/6/1877||Silver Lake, Boston||-||Johnston & Driscoll||-||w|
|4/7/1877||Regatta||Charles River, Boston||-||Fred Plaisted||-||l||Fouled opponent|
|15/10/1877||Match||St John, N.B.||5 miles||Wallace Ross||$1000 a side||w||Championship of British Provinces (i.e. Canada)|
|15/5/1878||Match||Toronto Bay||2 miles||Fred Plaisted||$2000||w||Canadian Championship|
|20/6/1878||Championship of USA||Hulton Course, Pittsberg||5 miles with turn||Evan Morris||-||w||American Champion|
|1/7/1878||Regatta||Brockville||4 miles with turn||7 others||-||w|
|31/7/1878||Kennebecasis||St John N.B.||5 miles with turn||Wallace Ross||$2000||w||Canadian Championship. Ross fell out of his boat|
|12/8/1878||Barrie Regatta||-||-||9 others||-||w|
|3/10/1878||Lachine||Canada||5 miles||Charles E. Courtney||$8000||w||won easily. US Championship|
|8/5/1879||Match||Tyne UK||3m, 760yds||John Hawdon||£400||w|
|16/6/1879||Championship of England||Tyne||3m, 760yds||William Elliott (rower)||£200 a side||w||Plus Sportsman’s Challenge Cup|
|18/8/1879||Barrie Regatta||-||-||Various||-||l||Said to be out of condition|
|October 1879||US Title||Chatauqua Lake||5 miles with turn||Charles E. Courtney||$6000||w||“The Fixed Match” US Championship. Stake Unpaid.|
|19/5/1880||-||Potomac River, Washington||-||Charles E. Courtney||-||w||US Championship|
|26/5/1880||-||Potomac River||-||James Riley||w||US Championship|
|17/6/1880||“Hop Bitters” Regatta||Rhode Island||4 miles with turn||Various||$5000||l||won some heats|
|15/11/1880||World Title||Thames UK||4.25 miles||Edward Trickett||£400||w||World Champion plus English Championship|
|14/2/1881||World Title||Thames||4.25 miles||Elias C. Laycock||£500 a side||w||And Championship of England also|
|3/4/1882||World Title||Tyne||3m, 760yds||Robert Boyd||w|
|1/5/1882||World Title||Thames||4.25 miles||Edward Trickett||w|
|30/5/1883||World Title||Boston||3 miles||John A Kennedy||w|
|18/7/1883||World Title||New York||4 miles||Wallace Ross||w|
|22/5/1884||World Title||Nepean, Aust||Elias C. Laycock||w|
|16/8/1884||World Title||Parramatta Sydney||3.25 miles||Bill Beach||£500 a side||l||Loss of World Title|
|7/2/1885||Match||Parramatta Sydney||3.25 miles||Tom Clifford||w|
|28/5/1885||World Title||Parramatta Sydney||3.25 miles||Bill Beach||£500 a side||l|
|23/7/1885||Match||Cazenovia Lake, Syracuse||2.5 miles||George Hosmer||-||w|
|7/9/1885||3 way match||Sheephead Bay||3 miles with turn||Ross and Lee||w|
|24/10/1885||US Title||Albany||3 miles with turn||John Teemer||l||Loss of US Championship|
|25/6/1886||Match||Lake St Joseph (Quebec)||3 miles with turn||George Hosmer||$1500||w|
|1/7/1886||Match||Richelien River (St Johns)||3 miles with turn||Wallace Ross||$3000||w||Won by about six inches.|
|9/8/1886||Regatta||Nantasket Beach||3 miles with turn||Hosmer, James A. Ten Eyck, J McKay||w||won easily.|
|1/9/1886||Match||Jamaica Bay||3 miles||Charles E. Courtney||w||record time claimed, but disputed.|
|30/05/1887||US Title||New York||-||Jacob Gaudaur||l|
|23/07/1887||US Title||New York||3 miles with turn||Jacob Gaudaur||$1000 a side||w||US Championship regained but farcial result as Gaudaur failed to race properly.|
|13/08/1887||US Title||Toronto||John Teemer||l||US Title lost (again)|
|26/11/1887||World Title||Parramatta Sydney||3.25 miles||Bill Beach||l|
|5/5/1888||World Title||Parramatta Sydney||3.25 miles||Peter Kemp (rower)||£500 a side||l|
|13/6/1888||Match||Rockhampton||3 miles||Edward Trickett||w|
|28/9/1888||World Title||Parramatta Sydney||3.25 miles||Peter Kemp (rower)||£500 a side||l|
|27/11/1888||Match||Parramatta Sydney||3.25 miles||Bill Beach||£500 a side||l|
|01/09/1892||Match||Toronto||2 miles||Charles Stephenson (rower)||-||w|
|24/7/1893||Match||Orillia, Ontario||3 miles||Jacob Gaudaur||l||about his major last race.|
Although Hanlan mainly raced in the single sculls he sometimes partnered another person to race double sculls. At least twice Hanlan became the joint holder of the Double Sculls World Championship title. The following are some of his double sculls races.
|Date (DMY)||Event||Partner||Place or Course||Length||Opposition||Stake||Win/Lose||Comments|
|5/6/1886||Hanlan Regatta||George Lee||Toronto||3 miles with turn||George Hosmer & John McKay||-||w||by 4 lengths, in 26m.18s.|
|8/8/1891||World Championship||William Joseph O'Connor||Hamilton, Ontario||3 miles with turn||Jacob Gaudaur & John McKay||$1000 a side||w||by 4+ lengths, in 18m.26.5s.|
|23/6/1892||World Championship||William Joseph O'Connor||Eire, Pennsylvania||3 miles with turn||George Hosmer & Jacob Gaudaur||$1500||w||won by two feet in 19m.55s.|
|5/9/1892||World Championship||William Joseph O'Connor||Ontario Beach||3 miles with 3 turns||George Hosmer & Jacob Gaudaur||$1500||l||loss of Chjampionship|
- Kidd, Bruce. "HANLAN, EDWARD (Ned)". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved 2007-12-05.
- Sward, Robert (1983). The Toronto Islands. Dreadnaught. pp. 31–38. ISBN 0919567223.
- Gibson, Sally (1984). More Than an Island: A History of the Toronto Island. Irwin. pp. 82–84. ISBN 0772014469.
- The Times, June 17, 1879
- Lieut. Edward Gordon Hanlan, RFC
- New International Encyclopedia
- "History of Toronto". Retrieved 21 December 2011.
- Collections Canada
- T. C. Mendenhall, A short history of American rowing, Boston, 1980
- S. Crowther and A. Ruhl, Rowing and track athletics, 1905
- W. B. Woodgate, Boating, 1888
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