On February 5th, 1971, BC Wheelchair Sports (then called the BC Wheelchair Sports and Recreation Association) was incorporated as a non-profit organization. Though wheelchair sports had existed in the province since the 1950s, it wasn’t until this date that wheelchair sports in BC were officially recognized and could receive government funding.
BCWSA got its start in 1967 in the basement of amateur radio enthusiast Harry Beardsell, who was contacted over the radio by the Canadian Paraplegic Association in Winnipeg. They discussed organizing and training BC wheelchair athletes to compete at the upcoming Paraplegic Pan-Am Games in Winnipeg. Beardsell was so enthusiastic that he contacted the BC Division of the Canadian Paraplegic Association and with the help of CPA officials Doug Mowat, Doug Wilson, Stan Stronge, Merv Ovesen (of the Vancouver Parks Board), and Vic Cue (coach of the Vancouver Wheelchair Basketball club), he laid the foundation for the BC Wheelchair Sports and Recreation Association to be born.
Over the years, thousands of athletes, coaches, builders and volunteers have passed through our doors and the organization owes its success to the hard work of all these many talented, dedicated people. Over the next 40 days, we will provide a look at the top wheelchair sports stories around the province. We invite you to share in our celebration by commenting on these stories and sharing memories of your own. You can even enter our “Best of BCWSA” photo contest to win prizes.
Thank you for supporting BC Wheelchair Sports. We look forward to another great 40 years.