Marjorie Naysmith

In the 1940s to 1960s it was hard to find many swimmers around Victoria who did not have some connection to Marjorie Naysmith. Margie, who never took formal swimming lessons, picked up some teaching techniques while watching her own children take swimming lessons. A natural teacher, who was great with kids, first volunteered by helping Archie McKinnon at the old YMCA pool and later took on some classes herself. That led to her teaching individual and small group lessons to children at the original Crystal Garden pool well into the 1960's. Meanwhile, the Daily Colonist approached her with the idea of her giving children free summer lessons at Elk Lake sponsored by the newspaper. Margie enthusiastically took on the challenge and in the summer of 1953 began the first of what would be 18 straight years of Colonist Free Swim Lessons to Greater Victoria's youth. By the time the program had run its course, after the opening of municipal pools, it was estimated that 17,000 youngsters had been taught the basics of swimming by Margie and her young assistants. She continued to work as a volunteer with visually impaired and handicapped at CFB Naden pool. Margie was honoured in 1966 as Victoria's Good Citizen of the Year and in 1971 the Municipality of Saanich recognized her for her years of Community Service.


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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