Charles R. Crowe

Charles R. Crowe

Portrait by Robert Howson

Charles Robert Crowe, a Canadian Olympian, could shoot the pit out of a cherry from several hundred yards. Over his career he became one of the most decorated marksman in Canadian history.

Crowe was the epitome of the Edwardian gentleman with not only a strong military heritage but also deep roots in the Guelph community. Taking over his father’s Iron Works business in 1908, he grew the enterprise to be one of the largest employers in Guelph. As the Colonel of the local Wellington Rifles, he devoted time and effort at the town’s rifle range improving the marksmanship of the Guelph boys.

But on the competition range he was tough to beat. In 1896, he helped the Canadian team win the premier shooting trophy in the entire British Empire, the Rajah of Kolapore’s Challenge Cup in Bisley, England. Over the next 30 years Crowe would return to compete in the Kolapore a further 10 times, winning the Challenge Cup on two more occasions, leading the team in their 1926 victory.

Another visit to Bisley in 1908 saw Crowe compete at the 1908 London Summer Olympics as part of the first recognized “Team Canada”. There, along with the Canadian military rifle team, he brought home the bronze medal as well as shooting the nation’s second-highest individual score.

Crowe, who was also an accomplished musician, won many medals and cups during his career as a Dominion Bisley team member. In 1911 he won the Governor General’s Cup in rifle shooting. He won the Governor General’s Prize once and came second on one occasion. He was runner-up in the Grand Aggregate twice and was Champion of the Decade for the 1900’s and 1910’s. At Bisley, he made both the prestigious King’s Prize Final and the Grand Aggregate 50, seven times.

When not competing with his marksmanship, he would spend the summers golfing and the winters, curling. In 1918, he was vice-skip of a team from the Guelph Royal City Curling Club that won the Ontario Tankard. He was also inducted into the Dominion of Canada Rifle Association’s Hall of Fame.

Inducted into the Guelph Sports Hall of Fame – Veteran Athlete category – on May 16, 2018