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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.

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