Cindy Nicholas

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Cindy Nicholas
Ontario MPP
In office
Preceded by William C. Davis
Succeeded by Steve Owens
Constituency Scarborough Centre
Personal details
Born (1957-08-20)August 20, 1957
Toronto, Ontario
Died May 19, 2016(2016-05-19) (aged 58)
Scarborough, Ontario
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Ray LeGrow[1]
Children Leahanne LeGrow[1]
Occupation Lawyer

Cynthia Maria "Cindy" Nicholas, CM (August 20, 1957 – May 19, 2016) was a long distance swimmer and a politician in Ontario, Canada. In 1977 she became the first woman to complete a two-way crossing of the English Channel. From 1987 to 1990 she was a Liberal member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.


Nicholas was educated at the University of Toronto and the University of Windsor. She worked as a lawyer in Scarborough, Ontario. She had a daughter. She died from liver cancer on May 19, 2016.[2]


At age 16 she attained provincial fame by swimming across Lake Ontario in 15 hours and 10 minutes. She later swam across the English Channel on 19 occasions, including the first two-way crossing by a woman. She completed a record five two-way crossings including two in one year, earning her the sobriquet Queen of the Channel. She was named top female athlete of the year in 1977 and given the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award.[3] In 1979 she was made a Member of the Order of Canada.[4] In 1993, she was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame[5] and into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2005.[6] She was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.[7]

Two Way Channel Swims[8]

1977 - 19 h 55 mins (First two-way crossing by a woman, breaking the previous men's record of Jon Erikson by 10h 05min)
1979 - 19 h 12 mins
1981 - 22 h 21 mins
1982 - 18 h 55 mins
1982 - 20 h 09 mins


She was elected to the Ontario legislature in the 1987 provincial election to represent the east Toronto riding of Scarborough Centre, defeating New Democratic Party candidate Menno Vorster by 3,396 votes.[9] For the next three years, Nicholas served as a backbench supporter of David Peterson's government. She was parliamentary assistant to the Solicitor General from 1989 to 1990.

The Liberals were defeated by the NDP in the 1990 provincial election and Nicholas lost her seat to NDP candidate Steve Owens by 3,068 votes.[10] She returned to her legal practice in Scarborough.


  1. ^ a b Cindy NICHOLAS Obituary
  2. ^ "'Queen of the Channel' Cindy Nicholas dead at 58". Toronto Star. May 21, 2016.
  3. ^ "Cindy Nicholas top female star". Montreal Gazette. December 22, 1977. p. 12.
  4. ^ "Swimmer who crossed Lake Ontario, English Channel has died at 58". The Globe and Mail. May 21, 2016. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  5. ^ "Four athletes inducted into Canadian Hall of Fame". The Ottawa Citizen. October 29, 1993. p. C6.
  6. ^ "Cindy Nicholas (CAN): Honor Open Water Swimmer". International Swimming Hall of Fame. 2005. Archived from the original on 2014-03-24.
  7. ^ "Cindy Nicholas". Ontario Sports Hall of Fame. 2003.
  8. ^ "Two Way Channel Swim Successes" (PDF). Channel Swimming Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 9, 2008.
  9. ^ "Results from individual ridings". The Windsor Star. September 11, 1987. p. F2.
  10. ^ "Ontario election: Riding-by-riding voting results". The Globe and Mail. September 7, 1990. p. A12.

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