Doug Peden on the court

Doug Peden

Doug Peden is widely regarded as the best and greatest athlete to ever come out of British Columbia. By his own admission, versatility was his "strong suit" and he excelled in tennis, basketball, rugby, baseball and cycling. His career highlights date from 1936 when he became the first Canadian ever to score a try against the New Zealand All-Blacks. That same year he won silver at the 1936 Berlin Olympics playing for the Canadian basketball squad. The young Peden showed his prowess early and he was the under-14 B.C. champion and Island champion in tennis. As a 16 year old he played in the 1930's for the powerful Victoria Blue Ribbons and Dominoes basketball teams and helped them to the Canadian championships in 1934 - 1935 and again in 1945 - 1946. Peden won the Canadian cycling sprint championship in 1939 and was a winning, professional cyclist with his brother "Torchy" before joining the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball organization. Peden was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and he just missed, to Lionel Conacher, being named Canada's athlete-of-the-half century in 1950.

Torchy Peden's Madison Square Garden Show Card

Torchy with some of his many trophies.

"Torchy" Peden was one of the greatest cyclists of his era and in the 1930's CCM presented him with a gold-plated bicycle that he rode in special exhibitions. He was the world champion long-distance cyclist in 1934 and at the height of his career he earned as much as $50,000 a year - a huge sum during the depths of the great Depression. "Torchy" - so named by a 1927 columnist who described the red headed youngster as the "flame haired Victoria youth [who] led the pack like a torch" - was a tireless cyclist who missed winning at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics because of three tire punctures and food poisoning. He turned pro in 1930 and finished 145 of 148 races, winning 37 of them. As well, along with his brother Doug, he was a formidable force on the grueling six-day cycling circuit that the two dominated for years.

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Victoria enjoys a stellar sports history and we celebrate the many athletes, teams and builders who have contributed to that history.  Our displays are seen at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre (1925 Blanshard St.)  through Gate Three.


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