John O’Neill was born in 1877 in Ketch Harbour, Nova Scotia. He began his sculling career when he was in his late twenties, and he quickly rose to fame as one of Nova Scotia’s best. O’Neill held several individual and team championship titles throughout his career. He was the Halifax Harbour Single Scull Champion in 1904, and a member of the St. Mary’s Maritime Provinces Champion Senior Crew in 1905. In 1908, John became the National United States Singles Scull Champion in a competition that was held in Springfield, Massachusetts.
In 1909, John O’Neill became the North American Single Scull Champion in Detroit. This was quite an accomplishment, considering that he was the first Canadian ever to hold this title. That same year, he won the Middle States Regatta Championship in Philadelphia. O’Neill joined up with the St. Mary’s Senior Crew again in 1910, and they repeated as Champions of the Maritime Provinces. In 1924, he joined forces with three of his former club-mates and they formed a senior four-oared crew that could not be beaten for over a year and a half.
As well as being an original Hall of Famer, John O’Neill is also a member of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, recognized as one of the world’s top oarsmen of his era.
• 1 of Nova Scotia’s best scullers
• Halifax Harbour Single Scull Champion in 1904
• Member of St. Mary’s Maritime Champ. crew, 1905
• National US singles scull champion in 1908
• North American singles scull champion, 1909
• Member of St. Mary’s 1910 Prov. Championship team
• Member of Canadian Sport Hall of Fame
• 1 of the world’s top oarsmen of his era