Leaside’s rower supreme puts Canada on the map

Janet Bolton is not just a member of the Hanlan Boat Club but soon after joining the club six years ago, became its president.
Janet Bolton is not just a member of the Hanlan Boat Club but soon after joining the club six years ago, became its president.

Leasider Janet Bolton has definitely found her passion in life – and she’s got the awards to show for it.

The lawyer, mom, cyclist and former triathlete didn’t discover the world of rowing until age 50, but she is now beyond enthusiastic about, and highly successful, in the sport.

Bolton is not just a member of the Hanlan Boat Club but soon after joining the club six years ago, became its president. She helps oversee grant proposals, safety issues, coaching, equipment, and so much more.

Janet (centre) with Hanlan Director of Operations Paul Charuk and Head Adult Coach Kirsten Ryan.
Janet (centre) with Hanlan Director of Operations Paul Charuk and Head Adult Coach Kirsten Ryan.

Club member Avtar Dhanota comments that Bolton “will go out of her way to help others at the rowing club. She will often drive to the club to fill in for an absent crew member or safety boat driver when no one else is available.”

As past president of the Canadian Celiac Association, service to her community has clearly always been a part of Bolton’s life.

But beyond her dedication to the rowing club itself, Bolton has become exceedingly accomplished in the sport.

The Canadian sculling marathon in 2019. Photo Joanne McNeish.
The Canadian sculling marathon in 2019. Photo Joanne McNeish.

Bolton rows both on the water as a single and in team boats, and on land with an “erg” (ergometer rowing machine).

She loves “the feeling of being on the water, a feeling of flow and power – quiet power. If you catch a stroke without the boat even noticing, if you can be that smooth, then you’re much faster. It’s just a beautiful sport.”

While she’s a powerful rower in the water and has made great friends, including her “blister sisters,” Bolton has also had incredible success in the indoor rowing field.

In the World Indoor Rowing Championships in 2022, she finished fifth in the world for her category and first in Canada.

In 2023, Bolton improved her standings, placing fourth in the world and first in Canada.

And this past February, she finished third in the world and again, first in Canada.

Bolton’s goal is “to get much better at my technique so I can be more competitive in my singles. I have learned a lot in the past five years: you can always improve, you can always get better.”

About Susan Scandiffio 158 Articles
Susan Scandiffio was born in Scotland and raised in Toronto. While she holds a master’s degree in history, her main passion (besides her wonderful family) is sports. Susan can often be found at the A.C.C. or in a Leaside arena or playing field, scoping out stories for Leaside Life.