Hall of Fame Grows By Three

By John Swartz

The Orillia Sport Hall of Fame announced the 2020 class of inductees today at a press conference at the Orillia Waterfront Centre.

An author and chiropractor, Town was nominated by Rob Town for his accomplishments as a swimmer. Dave Town has 60 Canadian and 4 world records. He won 7 Canadian Interuniversity Athletics Union gold medals between 1979 and 1984 while at the University of Toronto and gold at the Canada Games in 1981.

Dave Town
Dave Town

“This is premature,” said Town. “I knew I had credentials to be considered, I didn’t know if I’d ever make the cut. I have a list at home I’ve researched of Orillia’s Canadian champion athletes. There’s 61 of them and I’m number 58 on my list of rankings, so I know they’ve got 13 people in there, there’s another 38 people who should be in there ahead of me as far as I’m concerned.”

Bill Watters needs little introduction to many. As the former assistant G.M. of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and veteran Toronto radio personality, Watters is probably the most recognized living Orillian after Gordon Lightfoot. He was an outstanding athlete while at ODCVI and the University of Toronto. He became a player agent after graduating and went on to run the Orr Walton Hockey camp here, and was co-founder and part owner of the Toronto Rock professional Lacrosse team. He also was a key figure in establishing the CFL’s Ottawa Renegades.

“He’s honoured,” said Brad Watters, Bill’s son. “I think at the end of the day, he’s an Orillia guy that has tremendous pride in this city and to be honoured, it’s something he doesn’t take lightly.”

Watters is inducted as a builder of sports in Orillia, as is Wayne Dowswell.

Dowswell came to Orillia in 1969 to teach at Park Street Collegiate and set out to build a championship wrestling program and weightlifting club. Park Street won 19 straight city wrestling championships. Many of the school’s wrestlers went on to win provincial and national championships.

“He had tears welling up in his eyes and said, “isn’t that something,”” said daughter Alison Sittek, representing (along with sister, Lynn Dowswell) her vacationing father.

““I was so proud of him. I really was. My mom was out doing something and I was with him when the call came and it was really nice to share that moment with him.”

“I had to explain to him and make it clear what this was all about because unfortunately his memory on certain things is failing in these last few years,” said Sittek.

“I think it’s a wonderful honour for my father. He dedicated a lot to generations of youth in Orillia in a variety of sports,” said Lynne Dowswell.

This is the 5th group to be named to the Hall of Fame. The annual induction dinner is April 18, at Hawk Ridge Golf Club. Tickets will be available online soon at the Sport Hall of Fame website.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia)



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