Ottawa Voyageurs Walking Club (CVF # 003)


by Benoît Pinsonneault

(History of a walking club, of the first steps of Volkssporting in Canada, still active. The Ottawa Voyageurs Walking Club draws its origin from the former Canadian Forces Base Rockcliffe in Ottawa, Ontario and of the merger of the Rockcliffe Rovers Volksmarch Club and Club Volkssport Orléans.)


On September 7, 1985, a first International Volksmarch took place at Park Viscount Alexander on Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Ottawa-North. It was organized by Volksmarchers in Ottawa-Carleton in cooperation with the Carleton Board of Education and the Viscount Alexander Park Community Council of CFB Ottawa-North, previously known as CFB Rockcliffe. It offered to fellow walkers two routes: a 10 and 20 km along picturesque parkways and the Ottawa River.

On September 6, 1986, a second International Volksmarch took place, once again organized by the Viscount Alexander Park Community Council of CFB Ottawa-North and Volksmarchers in Ottawa-Carleton.

On April 4, 1987, the Canadian Volkssport Federation (CVF) held its first Organizational Convention in Kanata, Ontario.

May 15, 1987 is the date on which the Canadian Volkssport Federation membership certificate of the Rockcliffe Rovers Volksmarch Club (RRVC), carrying number 003, was issued.

On July 1, 1987, the Canadian Volkssport Federation became officially a federally incorporated not-for-profit organization.

On September 7, 1987, the first RRVC constitution was approved.

On September 12, 1987, a third International Volksmarch took place, always organized by the Viscount Alexander Park Community Council of CFB Ottawa-North and Volksmarchers in Ottawa-Carleton. The fourth International Volksmarch took place on September 10, 1988, which was the first one to bear the name of and be organized by the RRVC but this time in cooperation with the Viscount Alexander Park Community Council of CFB Ottawa-North.

In September 1987, Ole Olson became the first President of the RRVC, position that he occupied until February 9, 2000 when he was replaced by Benoît Pinsonneault, in order to carry out, with his wife Hélène Viel, the walk of their dreams, that is to say, a walk across Canada; from Tuktoyatuk on the Arctic Ocean to Prince Rupert on the Pacific Ocean and then crossing Canada from the west to the east, and this, onto St John' s, Newfoundland-Labrador, on the Atlantic Ocean, a journey of 10,088 km over a 229-day period with 212 days of walking for an average of 47.5 km per day. The walk went through two territories and all 10 Canadian provinces. The walk started on March 30, 2000 and finished on November 13, 2000. Benoît Pinsonneault was the second and last President of the RRVC, position that he occupied until February 12, 2002, date on which the RRVC changed its name to become the Ottawa Voyageurs Walking Club.

Ole Olson organized and held, in August 1996, the first More Days Walk in Canada walking from Kingston, Ontario to Ottawa on the Rideau Trail, i.e. 300 km in 21 days. In 2002, Ole Olson and Graham Fawcett organized and assembled all the instructions of the first Round and Long Distance Walk in Canada, entitled “In the steps of Champlain”, i.e. a complete tour of the National Capital area on both sides of the Ottawa River, initially in 17 stages, which was increased, a few years later, to 20 stages, totaling 200 km.


After three organizational meetings (i.e. on September 2, 1986, on September 25, 1986 and on March 26, 1987) the Club Voyageur - Orléans was founded, which will soon change its name to Club Volkssport Orléans (CVO).

On February 11, 1987, Club Voyageur - Orléans made an application to join the CVF/IVV and to sanction its first International Volksmarch.

On September 26, 1987, the first International Volksmarch of the Club Voyageur - Orléans took place in Orléans, Ontario, starting from the Cairine Wilson Secondary School in cooperation with the Orléans Recreation Association.

On January 25, 1988, a notice for a name change was sent by Mike Hawkes, President of Club Voyageur- Orléans to Ron Colpitts, interim President of the CVF, asking that the CVF Membership Certificate should bear the name of Club Volkssport Orléans.

April 7, 1988, is the date on which the Canadian Volkssport Federation (CVF) membership certificate of Club Volkssport Orléans,(CVO), carrying number 017, was issued.

These two Ottawa East walking clubs operated side by side until September 30, 2001, date on which CVO put an end to its operations to join the RRVC.

The following people succeeded to the presidency of the CVO since its foundation in 1986: Micheal Hawkes (1986 - 1988), John Virag (1989 - 1990), Christiane Cloutier (1991), Louise Malloy (1992), Roméo Messier (1993 - 1994), Pat Cobb (1995 - 1996), Bill Martin (1997), Jim McConkey (1998 - 2000) and finally Steve McPhee (2001).

On October 1, 2001, the merger of the RRVC and CVO officially took place and the members of CVO became members of the RRVC, and this, until the end of the year in progress.

On October 31, 2001, a special general meeting of the RRVC took place where the following subjects were discussed and/or approved: draft of a new constitution, a short list of new names for the club, colors of the club, the P.0. Box, appointment to positions remaining to be filled and recommendation to establish a social committee.


February 12, 2002 is the day of the last Annual General Meeting of the RRVC. A new constitution was adopted unanimously. A new name for the club is adopted by the majority: Ottawa Voyageurs Walking Club, commonly known as Ottawa Voyageurs d’Ottawa (OVO). The members elected as new and first executive committee of the Ottawa Voyageurs Walking Club were the following:

- President: Benoît Pinsonneault
- Vice-President: Kathy Luten
- Secretary: Fanny Landry
- Treasurer: Steve McPhee
- Membership Coordinator: Jim McConkey
- Publicity Coordinator: Vacant
- Trail Director: Doug Chase

The following people succeeded to the presidency of club OVO since 2002: Benoit Pinsonneault (Feb. 2002 to Feb. 2005), Kathy Luten (Feb. 2005 to Feb. 2009) and Donna Sullivan (Feb. 2009 to date).

Club OVO produced three Presidents of the Canadian Volkssport Federation: Ole Olson (May 1995 to May 1999), Graham Fawcett (May 2004 to May 2008) and Benoît Pinsonneault (May 2008 to date).

Club OVO celebrated its 25th Anniversary on September 11, 2010