John Howe, builder

Induction year: 2013
Sport: Wrestling, goalball, judo, athletics

​John Howe has been a trailblazer for five decades for athletes with a visual impairment. He is a founding member of the Canadian Blind Sports Association and was involved in the development of numerous sports for athletes with a visual impairment.

Howe coached visually impaired athletes at three Paralympic Games, two World Championships, three U.S. Nationals, 10 Canadian Championships and Paralympic trials, and the Ontario Summer Games between 1975 and 2011. Many of his high school athletes were successful at the Paralympic level, including Jacques Pilon, Eric Lambier, Pier Morten, Bill Morgan and Jason Dunkerley.

"I have seen many coaches in my career, and John is one of the few who has the ability to be firm when needed, but always gives encouragement for the athletes to focus and achieve a higher standard," said Ted Beare, former sports editor for the Brantford Expositor. "He is well liked and respected by his athletes, and because of this they always strive to do their best."

After graduating from teachers college in 1966, Howe was hired as physical education teacher at the Ontario School for the Blind, now the W. Ross Macdonald School for Students who are Visually Impaired, Blind and Deafblind, in Brantford, Ont. In his first year, he introduced his students to wrestling and had them competing against local high schools. The second year he formed a high school cross country team where his athletes also competed with local schools. After observing the first World Games for the Physically Disabled in Stoke Mandeville, England in 1974, he introduced goalball at the first Canadian Games for the Physically Disabled in 1976, and promoted its development provincially and nationally.

Howe has served on numerous committees provincially and nationally to assist in the organization of sports for blind and visually impaired athletes, and has run workshops and written articles to promote sports for blind and visually impaired children and adults.

He has received several awards including the Certificate of Appreciation for the Development of Disabled Sport in 2005, the Outstanding Contribution Award from the Canadian Blind Sports Association in 1980, and the 25-year Award for Volunteer Service from the Ontario Blind Sports Association.