Rae Grinnell presents a trophy to Anne Heggtveit.
H. Rae Grinnell
Born: April 24, 1921
Died: May 8, 2014 (Manotick, Ontario)
Member: Canadian Ski Hall of Fame (1987)
Rae Grinnell spent a half-century promoting skiing as a competitor, an organizer and a builder. He was the first Canadian representative on the Federation Internationale de Ski (FIS) council, the sport’s global governing body.
Grinnell is credited with launching the sport of biathlon in Canada. As well, he made three unsuccessful bid presentations (in 1963, ’65 and ’69) for Canada to host the Winter Olympics in 1968, ’72 and ’76.
Through Grinnell’s efforts, the creation of a Canadian Ski Museum led to the opening of a modest display in 1971 in Ottawa. He served as museum chairman from its opening until his retirement in 1987, the year in which he was inducted into the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame.
In 1939, he won the Ontario downhill interscholastic championship. He also competed that year at one of the early Quebec Kandahar races at Mont Tremblant, hitchhiking to Montreal, where he caught a train north and stayed at a $2.50 per night pension in the ski village.
He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War, serving overseas as a radar operator. He won both slalom and downhill events while serving as captain of the RCAF’s ski team at an international military meet in 1943.
In 1949, he graduated from the University of New Brunswick with a forestry degree. He went on to work in forestry and natural development for the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests and the federal environment ministry. He also worked for the James Bay Development Corporation in Quebec.
He built his own home in Manotick on the Rideau River in 1959. He died there, aged 93. He leaves his wife Betty (née Heron), two sons, two daughters, seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. He also leaves a sister.