An Almost Daily Commitment to Honouring the Past and Inspiring the Future


July 28th, 1962 – 60 years ago last Thursday — is one of the more eclectic days in British Columbia sport history. That’s the day on which Vancouver swimmer Mary (Stewart) McIlwaine broke the world record for the 100m and 110-yard butterly at Empire Pool in Vancouver. She smashed the world records in the afternoon. That night, she performed as she normally would at a BC Lions home game at Empire Stadium, dressed up as Leo the Lion – the CFL team’s now long-standing mascot. The visiting Toronto Argonauts spoiled the unique doubleheader by McIlwaine – winning the pre-season game 18-13 before a crowd of 20,166. Nonetheless, it is one of those moments that brings a smile to a sports fan’s face.

It honours the past; and Honoured Members of the BC Sports Hall of Fame such as McIlwaine. It inspires the future, both for young, up-and-coming swimmers and those young British Columbians who may have dreams of being a professional sport team mascot! It also brings together two sports (swimming and football) and two iconic BC sporting venues (Empire Pool and Empire Stadium) in one special moment.

Those are among the qualities that are held in common by many of the moments that our curator Jason Beck shares with us throughout the calendar year.

Not only is the BC Sports Hall of Fame now tracking special, historic moments that stand out and meet the test of time on at least 310 days each year, many of those days feature multiple highlights on the same day. That’s true of July 28th. Not only is there McIlwaine’s swimming-football mascot double whammy in 1962, there is a special lacrosse moment on July 28th, 1908 and a spectacular rowing memory on July 28th, 1996 at the Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympics.

The 1908 lacrosse milestone pertains to the Minto Cup – at the time the men’s senior national championship — won by the New Westminster Salmonbellies, playing on the road against the Montreal Shamrocks. The 1996 rowing accomplishment saw the late Kathleen Heddle of B.C. and her Ontario-based teammate Marnie McBean win gold in double sculls and bronze in quadruple sculls at the Centennial Atlanta Games. Combined with their two gold medals at Barcelona 1992, that made McBean and Heddle the most accomplished Canadian Olympians in history to that point in time.

We love what Jason and our curatorial team have done with these moments. Yet we’re inspired to take this storytelling to the next level. Our goal is to build on our research and curation to the point where we have a special moment on each day of the 365-day calendar year. Who knows, the current special milestones, estimated to be in the neighbourhood of 500 moments, could become 1,000 at some point in the future.

Either way, the campaign – entitled On This Day in BC Sport History – has become one of the most important things that our team at the BC Sports Hall of Fame does. Thanks to the efforts of our curator, it has become an almost daily feature on our social media accounts. It also has a companion radio feature – This Week in BC Sport History – in which Jason recounts these major milestones each week on AM 1150 Kelowna, Radio NL 610 AM Kamloops, CFAX 1070 Victoria and BNN Bloomberg Radio 1410 Vancouver and online around the world at

As we aim to build out and expand our capacity and resources coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is entirely possible that On This Day in BC Sport History and This Week in BC Sport History are eventually made available in additional podcast, social media and other multi-media formats. That would take our storytelling reach to the next level, with daily milestones, special features on our website at Curators Corner and, of course, our regular induction cycle each year. Add that to our Hero in You educational and community outreach programs – many of them featuring Honoured Members of the BC Sports Hall of Fame – and we would have the most robust roster of storytelling initiatives that we’ve ever had in the 56-year history of the BC Sports Hall of Fame. That’s where we like to think we’re headed.

If you have any ideas on special moments in BC sport history that aren’t currently reflected in our digital, social and radio features, please don’t hesitate to contact our curator Jason Beck at or our Chief Executive Nicholas Cartmell at We are serious in our ambitions to sometime soon be in the position to say that there isn’t a day in the year that doesn’t have a moment, milestone or memory that honours the past and inspires the future!

Tom Mayenknecht is the Chair of the BC Sports Hall of Fame. A principal at Emblematica Brand Builders in Vancouver and a nationally-recognized sport business commentator and founder and host of The Sport Market sport business radio show, he is a strong advocate for KidSport, Right To Play and other children’s charities. He is also a member of the Ringette Canada Hall of Fame as a builder and Chair of the Paul Carson Sports Broadcast & Media Awards.