The name may not ring any bells. But if you live in this neighbourhood, if you go to Dovercourt, or if you or your kids like skateboarding, maybe it should.
Earlier this summer I became curious about why Dovercourt always hosts the Canadian Slalom Skateboarding Championships. I was also investigating Dovercourt's skateboard camps. When I asked about scheduling, I was told that it all depended on when "Claude" was available because all camps "were taught by Claude Regnier". So, who's Claude?
Claude at one time had an indoor skateboard park near the corner of Roosevelt and Richmond Road. At that time he met John Rapp, the Executive Director of Dovercourt and the two have been in partnership ever since. But Claude is more than just a camp organizer, he was the Canadian National Slalom Skateboard Champion and a champion of the sport of downhill skateboarding for years. Now in his 50's he still rides and rides well. He has more skateboarding titles and high level finishes then you would ever imagine.
Together with Mary-Beth Lavoie Claude's Executive Co-Chair of the World Slalom Skateboard Championships coming to Ottawa this weekend, August 19-21. He's a Master course setter and a past president of the International Slalom Skateboard Association. Not too shabby. And to top it all off, he is also one of three key figures in the documentary film "Highway Gospel" that premiered in Toronto this spring and that is showing this Friday night at the Ottawa International Film Festival http://www.oiff.ca/.
Claude is also a down to earth guy who's a pleasure to speak with. When I met him he was building stairs for the ramps outside Dovercourt for the next day's competition. He took time out to talk even though he was clearly busy. His passion for what he does and his belief in the sport - and the people who do it - was obvious.
Maybe it's time you met Claude......
The hill on Dovercourt Ave. at Denbury will be used for the tight slalom event on Friday, August 19th, 2011. Practice runs are scheduled to start at 9:30 and races at 11:00 am.
For information about the Championships see http://worldslalomskateboarding.com/
For Claude's official bio see http://worldslalomskateboarding.com/about/claude-regnier/
For his partner Mary-Beth Lavoie's bio see http://worldslalomskateboarding.com/about/mary-beth-lavoie/
Reviews of the film, as well as YouTube trailer from the Toronto HotDocs Festival can be found on the internet at, for example, http://torontoist.com/2011/04/hot_docs_highway_gospel.php