Below are brief histories of different Canadian shooting organizations.
History of the Canadian Shooting Sports Associations
The Canadian Shooting Sports Association was created in 2000 by the union of the Ontario Smallbore Federation and the Ontario Handgun Association. The leaders of these two organizations realized the necessity of creating a large representative body in order to better promote and protect the shooting sports IN Canada.
The launch of the new organization, along with new printed material, magazine and philosophy, has been a great success. The membership is rising and the Association has the potential to unite the recreational firearms community across the country.
Most firearms owners have recognized the principle of safety in numbers but are unable or unwilling to apply those principles. There are approximately 1.25 million firearms owners in Ontario and approximately 3 – 7 million in Canada. Given these numbers, it is obvious that firearms owners have not found alternatives by joining other organizations. Statistically, very few firearms owners belong to ANY organization at all.
A huge potential exists within the firearms community for a large, powerful organization with established credibility, analogous with the largest organizations present in the United States. Such a move, taken on behalf of the firearms community, would help ensure the protection of the shooting sports for generations to come and could wield the necessary wherewithal to change Canadian public opinion.
Early in the 1950’s, the Ontario Government tried to enact legislation that would have required the registration of all firearms. A few dedicated individuals rallied support to oppose this legislation. The majority of the letters that reached the government came from the farmers of Ontario, who objected to the registration of their rifles and shotguns. Without an organization to represent the shooters of Ontario, it was difficult to reach all those who might object to such repressive laws. This incident influenced men such as Dr. G. H. W. Lucas, Kip Hodgins, Dr. Kirk, Chuck Hebert and OPP Inspector William Boyd to do something about the situation. The result was the forming of the Ontario Revolver association with the issuing Letters of Patent on December 4, 1957. Subsequent amendments in 1974 changed the name to the Ontario Handgun Association.
Throughout the last 43 years, the Ontario Handgun Association has provided the highest quality representation on behalf of the provincial hand gunning community. However, since the inception of Bills C-17 and C-68, the OHA has become one of the most important members of the recreational firearms community of Canada.
The Ontario Handgun Association has been there with high quality information; both through the magazine (the only Canadian publication strictly devoted to firearms issues), club bulletins, reference books and helpful staff. The OHA has spearheaded such critically important projects as the Supreme Court Challenge and the formation of the Canadian Institute of Legislative Action (CILA). Many firearms owners looked to the OHA as the source of leadership and advice in dealing with the critical legislative and legal issues and the continuous erosion of Canada’s shooting sports.
The OHA was doing many things on behalf of the “greater” firearms community as many of the issues dealt with affected all the shooting sports and firearms ownership as a whole. For example, participation in the Supreme Court Challenge, a legal action dealing with the registration of long guns, has been deemed by the members as a necessary and desirable deed despite the fact that handguns have been registered for many years and the registration of long guns will not affect the handgun sports directly.
With the OHA already doing a huge amount of work in the general firearms field, the knowledge and expertise required to make this change already existed within the present structure. Hence, the overtures to the OSF and the eventual formation of the Canadian Shooting Sports Association.
A Brief History of the Ontario Smallbore Federation
By Lou Anderson (assisted by Clare Maitland and Rudy Schulze)
Back in the 1950s shooting associations were mainly local – like the Metropolitan Sporting Rifle Association, Twin City Rifle Association, Niagara District Sporting Rifle League, etc.. The Canadian Civilian Association of Marksmen (CCAM) was the national governing body, but the associations operated pretty much independently.
In the winter of 1958-59 four shooters (John Hope, Ted Harrison, Jim O’Connor, Rudy Schulze) met with a view to creating a provincial organization. Sadly, Rudy is the only one left. Then in 1959 at a match at Norwich the Ontario Sporting Rifle Association (OSRA) was created to organize Sporting Rifle shooting in Ontario. The OSRA then began coordinating matches, establishing consistent rules, and the like. It also established the John Hope trophies. International style shooting, then known simply as Match Rifle, was quite separate and operated mainly under the CCAM.
The OSRA operated successfully and as time passed it seemed reasonable to have a provincial body for both Sporting and Match Rifle shooting. The OSRA discussed this through 1964 and 1965; and in September of 1965 the restructuring of the OSRA was approved. The Ontario Smallbore Federation (OSF) was formed with John Troulitakis as its first president. By this time the CCAM had become the Shooting Federation of Canada (SFC). It was definitely a time of change.
Since that time the OSF has worked to supervise and encourage smallbore rifle shooting in Ontario. Only a few highlights of its activities are:
- operating coaching, officials, and Junior programs,
- operating annual Indoor and Outdoor Championships,
- working with the Province on grants,
- working with the Province operating the rifle disciplines in the Ontario Summer and Winter Games,
- operated trials for the teams competing at the Canada Games,
- participated in operating the Crosman Airgun Championships.
In 1983 the OSF was incorporated as a non-profit organization.
The last OSRA president was Herman Weber; OSF presidents have included John Troulitakis (3 years) Bruce Wilkins (1), Bob Moon (5?*), Al Cordy (5?*), Sue Esseltine (1), Fred Binding (7), Bonnie Gauthier (7), Bill Szulga (1), Clare Maitland (2), Norm Botts (1), Josie Pascoe (3). *(My records are uncertain about 1973 to 1975.)
A History of the Police Revolver Clubs of Ontario
(Established approx. 1962)
The P.R.C.O. started out many years ago as a result of a combined effort of a number of police officers from different parts of the Province of Ontario, Canada. They were all interested in target shooting (the old bullseye targets) with their issue revolvers (usually a .38spl Smith and Wesson or a Colt with a 6″ barrel and fixed sights). One of the first Police Departments to host competitions was the City of Guelph Police.
In the early 1960’s, a new shooting discipline came upon the scene from the U.S.A. It was known as the Police Pistol Combat. This style of shooting was a direct descendant of the shooting training given to the officers of that era. The sport of P.P.C. grew rapidly throughout the United States. The Canadian contingent was no different and many P.P.C. matches were held by various Police Agencies throughout the country.
A large number of police competitors
As the years progressed, they realized that there was a need to have a governing body to make sure the rules of conduct and sportsmanship were being observed (by this time, the N.R.A. had formulated a complete set of rules that is still in use today). That need prompted the formation of the Ontario Police Revolver Clubs. That was done in approximately 1960-1963. This is an estimate at this time because some of the original minutes of the first meetings have been lost or misplaced. Memory is the only factor giving us the year of its inception. It was in 1970, that the name of the organization was changed to its current status.
The P.R.C.O. logo was designed in the early 1970’s by Murray Milson of the University of Guelph Police (If you look close, his initials are on the grip of the revolver).
During the years, the P.R.C.O. has had a close affiliation with the Ontario Handgun Association (now the Canadian Shooting Sports Association). Together, the P.P.C. style of shooting was introduced to the civilian population of revolver shooters. Training was done and subsequently others taught this style and rules of the competition. A large number of clubs got the P.P.C. bug.
By the time the new millennium arrived the sport has continued to survive but with the numbers of shooters slowly dwindling. This may be attributed to the recent changes in our Firearms Act. Also, a few other shooting disciplines have come upon the scene. I.P.S.C. was introduced in the 1990’s and lately, the western style of shooting has also seen an increase. This style is loosely based on I.P.S.C. but uses six shot revolvers reminiscent of the old cowboy days.
PPC Certification Courses are conducted by the Canadian Shooting Sports Association. All civilians who wish to compete at sanctioned matches must pass this course. Peace officers are not required to take the course, although it is highly recommended that they do.