Ross Quigley is a Past President of the Rotary Club of Cobourg and Northumberland United Way, a former business owner, a multi-sport athlete and present full-time volunteer. In 2016 he helped research and document for the Cobourg Museum Foundation (Sifton-Cook Heritage Centre) 67 sports, athletes, sporting events that were/who played in Cobourg in its history.
The following year Ross served on Cobourg’s Canada 150 committee and continued to work on researching the history of local sports. Through the two projects he wondered why so little was being done to recognize the achievements of local individuals who had attained distinction in sports. Ross saw an opportunity with the celebration of Cobourg’s 180th birthday and Canada’s 150th birthday and set out to do something about it.
Ross assembled a small group of volunteers from various backgrounds to discuss the opportunity, the actions required and where the resources might come from. They agreed there was a clear need. They set out to establish the Cobourg and District Sports Hall of Fame (CDSHF) with a mission to honour the history of sport in the area.
The group created a number of goals through a strategic plan. They reasoned that there was not at present a facility or group with such a mandate. If they did not take on this project there could be a whole generation of sports history that could be discarded when a younger generation cleaned out collections of their deceased parents.
The group met with the Town of Cobourg Mayor and CAO. Both were enthusiastic about the project. The Town offered space for storage of memorabilia and renovation of display cabinets. They also committed to discussing terms for locating the Cobourg and District Sports Hall of Fame in a high traffic area at the Cobourg Community Centre. The group then committed to incorporating the Cobourg and District Sports Hall of Fame (March 2017) and electing a Board of Directors.
The Peterborough Sports Hall of Fame was an excellent mentor. It had been founded in 1978 so had much experience and they wanted to share it with Cobourg. Several visits were made and valuable information exchanged. 40 years of experience was an unbelievable assistance to CDSHF in getting off to a smart start.
The CDSHF purposely started out slowly. With only a small amount of word of mouth, Town and area folk came forward to offer memorabilia. That permitted time for CDSHF volunteers to properly set up and test database software and photograph every item for display on an eventual website. Two companies provided us with the initial display cabinets. To ensure we were not overwhelmed CDSHF delayed the first induction of athletes and builders with a dinner and ceremony until at least the last quarter of 2018.
The next strategic planning exercise took place in January 2018. It was time to negotiate with the Town about a display area and then to start the induction process. Between the generosity of the Town of Cobourg, Frank Bouwmans Cabinetry, who donated 25 ft of cabinets, and sponsors for the cabinets, an unveiling of displays was held at the Cobourg Community Centre in March 2019. In September 2018 the induction process was started with a call for nominations. In March 2019 the names of 8 athletes and builders were announced. The first 8 were inducted into the Cobourg and District Sports Hall of Fame at a June 2019 dinner.
In early 2020 Frank Bouwmans Cabinetry offered to supply a 2nd set of 25 ft cabinets. At the unveiling of the new cabinets in early March 2020 the second group of 8 inductees to the Cobourg and District Sports Hall of Fame were announced with induction to follow.
Before the end of March, however, COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns closed the CCC and the displays.