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Ken Grant, key player in creation of SC, dies

April 04, 2019

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Ontario’s Ken Grant, 87, who was recognized with the Chris VanBussel Award in 2010 in recognition of his work in the formation of Standardbred Canada, died March 16 at St. Joseph's Health Care Centre, Hamilton, Ont.


Writing for the Hamilton Spectator, racing journalist Harold Howe noted that in 1998 Mr. Grant was “pivotal in finally uniting the Canadian Trotting Association and the Canadian Standardbred Horse Society into a single administrative body.”


Howe contacted a person who was involved in the negotiations to merge the two organizations and was given this insight: “Ken was a voice of reason. He stayed on course and gradually with the help of one or two others pieced the thing together. Come on—he was a skilled administrator and negotiator so this was his playing field. It may have taken awhile but he never wavered.”


Howe said that in 1967 Mr. Grant emigrated from his native Wales and put his accounting acumen to work in Quebec before relocating to Burlington, Ont., and becoming the chief financial officer for Consumer Packaging of Toronto. He retired in 1990.


In 1986, with his son David, a veterinarian, Mr. Grant created Oaklea Farms, a Standardbred breeding operation just north of Simcoe. The farm was named after a road in Cheshire, England, where Mr. Grant’s wife, Eileen, was born. From its small broodmare band Oaklea Farms bred the notable Oaklea Count, Oaklea Julien, Oaklea Odessa, Oaklea Omega and Oaklea Bluejay.


Mr. Grant loved horses and was very proud of the ones he bred. He was also an avid breeder of Labrador Retrievers, judging dogs both in Canada and the U.S.


He is survived by his wife, Eileen and their children, Dr. David Grant (Ann), Dr. Ian Grant and Kathryn Ann Grant; grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and a sister, Wendy Ellis.


A memorial service will be held at Trinity Anglican Church, 80 Colborne St., S., Simcoe, Ont., on Friday April 5, at 11 a.m.


Memorial donations may be made to The Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society, 9685 First Line, R.R.#1, Moffat, Ontario L0P 1J0.


In his column for the Hamilton Spectator, Howe concluded, “There will be no Ken Grant Award in harness racing nor will a statue be erected. It’s highly unlikely in the Standardbred Canada headquarters in Mississauga there will be much notice given. But there should be because his contribution to the game was real and long lasting.”

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