The following piece is one of several that appears in the special summer edition of our INSIGHT Magazine celebrating Cambridge’s 50th anniversary as we recognize just a few of the people, businesses and institutions that have made our community great.
Building was something Gord Renwick did very well.
While running his family-owned business Renwick Construction, which he took over in 1963 after his father, Don, suddenly died, the company was involved in the construction of many homes and industrial buildings in and around the newly amalgamated and growing city of Cambridge.
The knack he had for running a successful business was only magnified when he became an influencer in the sports world after becoming heavily involved in the international administration of hockey.
Although he was a big baseball fan, Renwick developed a passion for hockey and is recognized as one of the original ‘builders’ of the powerful Galt Hornets senior hockey organization – often described as the best outfit in senior hockey circles – where he served as president for nearly a decade.
Renwick gained accolades and respect in the Canadian hockey world when the Hornets won the Allan Cup in 1969 and again in 1971, which led to greater involvement in our national pastime, and he went on to become president of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) from 1979 to 1981.
“He brought more of a corporate model of governance, rather than just a kitchen table operation,” Murray Costello, the first president of the CAHA, was quoted saying in the Waterloo Record following Renwick’s death at 85 in 2021.
Later, Renwick became the Vice-President of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) in 1984 and would go on to diligently serve the organization for 20 years. He is credited with helping to transform that organization from using a ‘kitchen table’ approach to bookkeeping to a computerized operation.
Throughout his lengthy career in hockey, he played a key role in several high-profile initiatives, including the Royal Bank Wrigley International Tournament and the Wrigley Midget Tournament, and served as Chef de Mission for all visiting Russian team tours of Canada.
Renwick was also instrumental in getting international sponsors for the Canada Cup and World Cup tournaments and through his work with the IIHF travelled extensively worldwide for the organization, even handing out medals at the 1992 Winter Olympics in France.
He also spearheaded negotiations for the NHL to join the Olympic Games in Japan which finally occurred in 1998.
“I probably get a lot more credit than I deserve,” Renwick was once quoted as saying. “What stimulates me to do it is the love of the game and the success of marketing.”
Not surprisingly, Renwick was bestowed with many prestigious awards including being inducted three times into the Cambridge Sports Hall of Fame – which he helped get off the ground in the mid-1990s - and the Order of Hockey in Canada in 2012.
He was also made a lifetime member of Hockey Canada and is the namesake of the Renwick Cup which is awarded annually to the AAA senior ice hockey champion.
As well, the Cambridge Memorial Hospital Foundation unveiled in 2019 the Renwick family bridge, which connects the original hospital building to its refurbished Wing A.
When he wasn’t working hard building homes and businesses, or building connections in the hockey world, Renwick could often be found enjoying life with members of his large family and many friends at his Muskoka cottage on Lake Rosseau.
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