Robert Foster

At one time Foster, affectionately nicknamed "Tulip" or "the Professor" was a prizefighter of some repute and he trained Canada's world heavyweight boxing champion, Tommy Burns. However, his greatest sporting impact was through the guidance of young men in Victoria during the final years of his life. He had virtually given up boxing when he arrived from Tenby, Wales in B.C.'s capital in 1888. Foster - or Robert Hill, as he was born - found his calling coaching local sports. Foster was hired as resident caretaker of Caledonia Park on Niagara St. and he soon assumed a leadership role in sporting circles and was an important mentor to many young athletes. Foster was acknowledged as the "dean of Canadian trainers" through his involvement with championship teams amongst which were the 1894 Victoria Field Lacrosse team, Island and B.C. champion Victoria Wanderers soccer team of 1896 and the Provincial champion Victoria Crimson Tide rugby side of 1899. Bob's headstone at Ross Bay Cemetery says it all: "AN ATHLETE WHO DEVOTED A RESIDENCE OF 20 YEARS TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE YOUNG MEN OF VICTORIA IN THE FORM OF MANLY EXERCISE"


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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