First Name: Todd
Last Name: Hallett
Sport: Rowing
Inductee Type: Athlete
Year Inducted: 2021
Home Town: Shelburne
County: Shelburne

A chance invitation to attend the 1986 Dartmouth Natal Day regatta on Lake Banook led to a world-class rowing career for Todd Hallett.
He went to the regatta with a high school friend and his dad, who suggested to Hallett he come to the MicMac Rowing Club the next day and try it for himself.

“I was hooked,” said Hallett with still-avid enthusiasm. “It’s so hard to describe, but I just felt I was floating on the water.”

What also excited him was the opportunity to travel, to have fun and to win. He admits he wasn’t a high level hockey and basketball player as a young teen but found his niche in the boat.

A year later, in 1987, he was conquering the sport in single sculls and pairs and was invited to the national team development camp. A year later, he won junior men’s sculls singles and doubles at nationals and was named Junior Male Sculler of the Year for Rowing Canada.

By 1991, as a senior rower, Hallett was third at his event in the Pan American Games and qualified for Canada’s 1992 Olympic team.

“That was the first highlight of my career,” he recalled, mentioning he had finished first in double sculls (with Fredericton’s Don Dickinson) at the prestigious Henley Regatta on the Thames River in London earlier in the year. The pair set two course records in that race, for half and full course.

“That Henley win gave us confidence as we headed to the Olympics a couple of months later,” Hallett said.

He continued. “The Olympics in Barcelona were a thrill as Don and I finished 7th. But it was also a major disappointment as our boat was fourth in our semi-final (three boats advanced) in a time better than all but two times in the other semi. Had we been in that other semi, we would have qualified for the final and would have challenged for a medal.”

Hallett continued to improve, advance and win medals. The Canadian program was being recognized as one of the best in the world. Hallett said the team was training harder than most other countries, on the water in rain, snow and sleet. Almost all the team members had previously medaled at major events so if he made the team, Hallett knew he could medal too.

He rowed at Commonwealth and World Championships. At the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, he finished seventh with fellow Nova Scotian, and Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame inductee, Mike Forgeron of Main-a-Dieu.

More high performance and medal-winning regattas led to a third Olympic Games—2000 in Sydney, Australia, where he finished 13th in doubles.

As he reflects on a solid rowing career that ended at age 31 after the 2001 worlds, Hallett remembers seeing a girl classmate wearing a national kayak team jacket to Dartmouth High.

“In grade 6 or 7, I said I wanted to go to the Olympics and represent Canada in something, anything. Seeing her wear that jacket reinforced it and I became motivated. When I discovered rowing and the fun and travel and funding that we got locally and then nationally, I knew that would complete my goal.”

Today, Shelburne, NS-born Hallett is a high school teacher in Victoria BC where, for the fifth year, he also coaches rowing, starting when his daughter Claire, now 18, was in high school. She is now on a rowing scholarship at UBC. His other teenage children are high performance athletes, too—Liam in hockey and Lucy in swimming.

“As a coach, I make sure they have fun, first. I never tell them how much hard work there is or how much it hurts physically. Once they’re rowing, it becomes self-motivating for them. And I’m motivated to ensure they have a good time.”

Coaching at this level is fine for Hallett. Being at a higher level is not a goal for him. “I enjoy coaching high school and giving back to the sport which gave so much to me,” he concludes.

[Article by Joel Jacobson]

  • Olympian, 1992, 1996, 2000
  • Commonwealth Games silver-medallist, 1994, men’s eight with coxswain
  • Pan-American bronze-medallist, 1991
  • Junior Men’s National Champion in single and double sculls, 1988
  • 5 World Championship appearances
  • 3-time recipient of the Sport Nova Scotia Outstanding Achievement Award