History of OANS
In 1969, Dick James was a board member of the Nova Scotia Hostelling Association where one
day he picked up a magazine and read about the sport of orienteering. It immediately struck his
interest so he shared it with his fellow board members. After a lengthy discussion Dick gained
approval to apply for a grant from what is now known as Nova Scotia Department of Health and
Wellness. Before applying for this grant Dick travelled to Quebec and met with their board of
directors who offered to send over a professional mapper to make a course in Nova Scotia. With
this opportunity at their disposal Dick and his friends from the Hostelling Association were
successful in obtaining the grant and had Point Pleasant Park in Halifax mapped. That same
year OANS hosted its first event at Point Pleasant Park which turned out to be a great success.
The association formed in 1969 and at the first board meeting in Truro, Ron Day from Onslow
was elected President. The following year 9 events were held at Point Pleasant Park and it
rained at all but two of them. People still came out seemingly unbothered by the weather and
the Association began to grow.
After a few years had passed a man named Arne Naess moved to Nova Scotia from Norway
and began mapping areas for orienteering all over the province. Arne did this for approximately
8 years giving OANS a large variety of locations to hold events which allowed them to grow the
sport in Halifax and the rural areas of the province.
During the 1970’s Nova Scotia formed a team that competed in the United States (New York
State) and all across Canada at major competitions. The board of directors in 1976 got this
team to wear on the back of there jerseys “Follow us to Nova Scotia” at the National
Championships to signify that they were hosting the event the following year. In 1977 Nova
Scotia went ahead with the championship and ended up crowning their first national champion.
A young girl named Pam James (daughter of Dick and Margie James) competing at one of her
first events, won the junior category. Pam then went on over her career to win 26 National
Championships, and amazingly competed on Canada’s National Team until 2007. Pam’s best
World Championship finish was 20th (she attended 10 world championships over her career),
marking one of the greatest feats by a Canadian Orienteer. What makes Pam’s feat even more
incredible is the amount of travel she had to undertake in order to find high level competition.
Bob Kaill joined the association in the mid-1970’s as the Executive Director and was
instrumental in organizing the 1977 Canadian Championships. He later continued on as a
volunteer of OANS up until 1982 when a volunteer of the year award was implemented with his
name being honored on the plaque. This award has been given out since that time in
recognition of his services to OANS.
Currently the board of directors is made up of up to 15 committed volunteers that are working
together to ensure that orienteering is a kept alive in this province for many years to come.