The Beaton Connection page on Facebook is a gathering place for the Beaton. Other information can be found on the Sudbury Rocks webpage at sudburyrocks.ca.
The Beaton Classic takes place Aug. 7 on the shores of Ramsey Lake at Moonlight Beach. Since 1983, it has been held in honour of William (Bill) Beaton, the mayor of Sudbury from 1941 to 1951. He was a canoe champion and a sports enthusiast.
Terry McKinty, Beaton’s grandson, founded the Beaton Classic Quadrathlon, which is the jewel in the crown of the seven-event Sudbury Fitness Challenge.
Competitors race in teams or solo in a one-kilometre swim, 25-kilometre cycle, an eight-kilometre bush/trail run and a four-kilometre solo paddle.
The solo paddle makes the Beaton unique in Ontario endurance races. No one dares forget the paddling prowess of Isla, Beaton’s wife and canoe partner who paddled with him to nine consecutive Ontario canoeing victories.
Beaton championed a healthy lifestyle and sport as a passion. Sudbury Arena (at a cost of $700,000) was constructed during his time. Beaton was a founding member of the Northern Ontario Hockey Association and directed the revitalizing of the Sudbury Canoe Club.
In 1926, with Gib McCubbin, Beaton won the tandem canoe event at the Canadian National Exhibition.
“He did everything in life the way he paddled – all out from start to finish,” said the minister in his eulogy at Beaton’s funeral in 1956, according to the obituary in the newspaper.
As clichéd as it may be, Beaton did not do it alone.
While the mayor was serving the city, it was his wife, Isla Robertson Beaton who was the steady hand, the office secretary, at Beaton’s insurance office. Indefatigable, she was “Bill’s Woman Friday,” according to her obituary in 1954.
She was “one of the first superwomen,” says her granddaughter JoAnn Heale. Isla was also the secretary of the hockey and canoe clubs and was an “incredible volunteer with hospital auxiliaries.”
Although Heale didn’t get to know her grandfather – she was four when he died – there were many stories circulating about how tough he was on his children in sports and during physical activity.
Every year at the cottage, the children had to swim in Lake Ramsey, before breakfast, even in May. They all learned to paddle and race their canoes.
The Beatons’ “zest for life and enthusiasm for sports were traits that filtered down through the generations,” Heale says.
As Heale’s sister, Maureen McKinty, recalls, the family’s love of sport and participation really took root in their brother Terry. He made sport his livelihood. After founding the Beaton Classic and the Sudbury Fitness Challenge, Terry, who died earlier this year, helped to bring the World Junior Championships to Sudbury in 1988.
Eventually he moved to Ottawa where he started the Somersault Events Series. The series includes triathlons, swim-bike events, try a tri, various runs designed to encourage fitness, participation and recreation for people of all “ages and stages,” according to Somersault’s website.
Last summer Kelly Hotta, Beaton’s great-granddaughter, swam on a team as arguably the first Beaton offspring in a number of years to compete in the event. In 2016, she will return on a team that includes her mother, Maureen. Her brother Jordan plans to compete on another team this summer.