Anthony (Tony) Hall is responsible for many excellent Nova Scotian canoers and kayakers. The personal coach of Olympian and World Champion paddler Steve Giles for twenty years, Hall has worked tirelessly to put Nova Scotia on the map when it comes to international recognition for paddling. In addition to Giles, Olympic team members Leslie-Anne Young, Glen Girard, Dan Howe, Corrinna Kennedy, Marie-Josée Gibeau-Ouimet, and Peter Giles have all spent time under Hall’s capable tutelage.
Hailing from Dartmouth, Hall paddled at the Senobe club as a kid before becoming involved with coaching day programs. Following his graduation from Dalhousie’s Physical Education program (during which time he also played club soccer at Dalhousie), Hall started off coaching volleyball and then landed a position coaching paddlers in British Columbia.
After spending a few years in BC, Hall returned to Nova Scotia at a time when very few people were professional paddling coaches. When Ron Comeau asked Tony if he would coach the Orenda Canoe Club, Hall insisted that paddlers needed to train year-round, and he was soon hired on as one of Canada’s first full-time year-round paddling coaches. Within three years, Orenda went from a fledgling club to national champions, becoming only the second Nova Scotia club to ever claim the national title in 1987. Orenda soon became the model for clubs in Atlantic Canada, and Hall’s athletes went on to a long string of success stories.
Hall was known for his technical knowledge and his knack for communicating with almost any athlete. Among the Orenda kids coached by Hall are many Olympians, international competitors such as Matt Patterson, Dustin Whalen, Brian Burns, Graham Cobb, Cathy Breckenridge, and Bernie Irvin and athletes who are now coaches including Troy Comeau, Trevor Marshall, Corey Firth, Rob Baert, and Albert McDonald.
Hall encouraged active fundraising and aimed to include every club member, making training as fun as possible.
Hall watched coaches in every sport in order to learn new techniques, applying pacing methods he learned from track coaches to paddling training. After coaching roles with the province and the women’s national kayak team, Hall coached kids in Gainesville, Florida, but still kept in contact with Giles, volunteering as his personal coach.
• Head coach of the Orenda Canoe Club (1984-87)
• Overall national championship for Orenda, 1987
• NS provincial canoe and kayak coach (1988-94)
• NS Canada Games head coach (1981, ’89, ’93)
• 2 NS team overall victories at Can Games, 1981, 89
• Head canoe coach at the Pan Am Games (1991, 1995)
• National & Olympic team coach, women’s kayak 93-97
• Overall womens points at World Championships 1995
• Womens kayak coach at the 1996 Olympics
• Personal coach of Steve Giles for 20 years