TORONTO, October 11 – On an evening that celebrated some of Ontario’s most acclaimed athletes, horse racing was prominently featured alongside Olympians, media icons and professional athletes.
At a downtown Toronto Gala, harness racing legend John Campbell along with Paul Coffey (NHL), Marnie McBean (Canadian Olympic athlete), Bob Gainey (NHL) and John Hiller (MLB) were inducted to the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame on October 2. With more than 10,600 races won and over $286 million in earnings, Campbell is one of harness racing all-time greatest drivers and now joins Roger Attfield, Sandy Hawley, Avelino Gomez, Northern Dancer and E.P. Taylor in Ontario Sports Hall of Fame.
In addition to the 2017 inductees, the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Awards Gala recognized The Queen’s Plate with the Prentice Family Legacy Award. The Prentice Family Legacy Award is presented to an individual or group that has demonstrated remarkable, long-term contribution to sport in Ontario and the people involved. Previous winners of the award include Frank Selke Sr. and Frank Selke Jr. (2016) and Tim Horton (2015).
“Woodbine Entertainment would like to congratulate John Campbell, a true harness racing legend, as well as all of the 2017 inductees and award recipients,” said Jessica Buckley, President, Mohawk Park. “It is a great honour to be awarded the Prentice Family Legacy Award by the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in recognition of the tradition, innovation and special place reserved for The Queen’s Plate on the Canadian sport landscape.”
The Queen’s Plate was first celebrated in 1860, at the Carleton Racetrack in Toronto. The original Woodbine Racetrack previously located on the east end of Toronto near Lake Ontario, hosted the race in 1876 and 1881 and then continuously from 1883 to 1955. The Queen’s Plate has been running at the current Woodbine Racetrack in northwest Toronto since 1956.
The Ontario Sports Hall of Fame is a volunteer-based association dedicated to honouring athletes and personalities with outstanding achievement in sports in Ontario. Along with inductees to the Hall of Fame, the organization presents annual awards to individuals or groups that have excelled within their communities or specialized areas of sports. Along with the Queen’s Plate winning the Prentice Family Legacy Award, Trish Stratus received the Sandy Hawley Community Service Award, Howard Starkman won the Brian Williams Media Award and Penny Oleksiak took home the Syl Apps Award for Ontario Athlete of the Year.