Bill Schenck, Former Grape Growers of Ontario Grape King Co-Chair of Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games Rowing Event

July 3, 2015

Bill Schenck shows excellence in both viticulture and sport; the 4th generation Ontario grape grower and 2009 Grape King Alumni is co-chair for the summer  Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Para-Pan Am Games rowing events being held in St. Catharines July 11th-15th.

First setting a rowing shell in the Henley waters in 1971, Bill has many memories both on and off the course. The most memorable will come this July, during the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games when 14 men’s and women’s rowing competitions will be held at the Royal Canadian Henley Rowing course in St. Catharines.

As Co-Chair of the event, Bill has dedicated countless hours over the past six years preparing for all aspects of the Pan Am Games from meeting fire and security regulations, to volunteer recruitment, and logistics for the event that brings together 41 countries. He also had the honour of being one of the 3,000 torch bearers in the days leading up to the event.
photo by: Julie Jocsak, St Catharines Standard

This is not the Grape King’s first time being involved with large rowing events. Bill has been Commissioner for the annual Royal Canadian Henley Regatta for the past 14 years, as well as being involved with the 1999 World Rowing Championships held on the same course.

When he is not on the Henley course, Bill can be found tending the vineyards of Schenck Farms and Greenhouses. Bill was crowned Grape King and served as an ambassador for the Ontario Grape and Wine industry during 2009/2010.

Like so many of Ontario’s grape growers, Bill believes it’s important to give back to the community where his family lives and the family business has grown.  Reflecting on family, grape growing and volunteering, Schenck says, "It's always a balancing act, I thank my wife Kathleen and kids Jennifer, Colleen, Amanda and Brian for being so supportive."  Bill’s outreach to the community extends to Co-Chair of the Niagara Region’s Agricultural Policy and Action Committee, the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce, and the Neighbourhood Thursday Night Watch Group. Although recognized with several awards for his community involvement, a down-to-earth Bill Schenck jokingly says,                                                                                                                  photo by: Denis Cahill

"I try not to think about the hours that I put in… I'll put in whatever is required. It's very rewarding to call a lot of these people friends."