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Thomas Ryder
John Mullen
Elizabeth Glover
Thomas Ryder
Emily Mullen
Augustus Joseph "Gus" Ryder


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Phylis Ethel Hamilton

Augustus Joseph "Gus" Ryder 1,4,22

  • Born: 11 Jan 1899, York, Ontario, Canada 1,4,22
  • Marriage: Phylis Ethel Hamilton
  • Died: 23 May 1991, Toronto, Ontario, Canada aged 92

bullet  General Notes:

Gus Ryder was a man of many talents -philosopher, gold prospector, customs broker, blood donor, swimming coach, champion handball player and a one-time first round draft choice of the short-lived hockey Pittsburgh Yellow-Jackets. He won wide-spread fame and recognition as the man who coached Marilyn Bell on her historic swim across Lake Ontario in 1954, but Augustus Joseph (or simply Gus to his army of friends and admirers) Ryder preferred to be remembered as a man who, over the years, has taught thousands of youngsters the skills of swimming and life saving and has brought new hope to the handicapped. Gus Ryder had every reason to be proud of his achievements. Yet he was prouder of the achievements of teaching physically disabled youngsters to swim at his Lakeshore Swimming Club which he founded in 1930, watching a crippled boy wheel his chair to the poolside, jump into the water and swim across, or a blind boy outrace much older boys who had their sight. "I'd rather work with crippled kids than coach an Olympic Champion," he once said. Ryder had bouquets of recognition tossed at his feet, the walls of his recreation room in his Port Credit home plastered with trophies and tributes. They made him Canada's Man of the Year in 1955. He beat out Lester B. Pearson in nominations to win the title. In 1978 he received the highest civilian award possible, the Order of Canada. He's also an honoured member of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. At home, he was inducted into the Mississauga Sports Hall of Fame for 1978. "It is an honour to belong to the Mississauga Sports Hall of Fame," he said when informed of his induction. "Local athletes should be encouraged to aim for that honour." Gus Ryder was pure Canadiana. Born in Toronto in the spring of 1899, the husky youth excelled at a half-a-dozen sports and always seemed to play alongside some of the immortals of the game: semi-pro hockey with Con Smythe, rowing with Joe Wright Jr. at the Argonaut Club, baseball at Christie Pitts with Cannonball Scott. He might have developed into a great all-round athlete, had it not been for an incident when he was 18. He was playing hockey one cold winter day on Granadier Pond in Toronto when the ice gave way and two of his friends fell through. In rescuing the boys, Gus himself was trapped under the ice. He made a vow at that moment that he would learn all about swimming and life saving, and to teach it. Gus was also an avid handball player \endash and good at it, having represented Canada four times internationally. At the age of 78, he won a gold medal in the 70-80 year age bracket in the Seniors Olympics Event in Los Angeles. He played handball for half a century at Toronto's West End YMCA and often at Mississauga's Huron Park Recreation Centre. It was here at Huron Park where his playing days came to an end. "My last game of handball at the age of 89 was with Jerry Love, Ed Langley and Martin O'Shawnessey," he wrote shortly before his death in 1991.


bullet  Noted events in his life were:

• Residence, 1901, Toronto (West/Ouest) (City/Cité) Ward/Quartier No 4, Toronto (West/Ouest) (City/Cité), Ontario. 1

• Residence, 1911, 180 Dowling Ave, Toronto South, Ontario, Canada. 4


Augustus married Phylis Ethel Hamilton, daughter of Joseph Hamilton and Ethel See. (Phylis Ethel Hamilton was born on 14 Mar 1901 in Frontenac, Ontario, Canada 22 and died in 1996 in Ontario, Canada.)

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