Les was a consistent winner in singles and doubles canoe events all his life.
Les won the 3 mile race at the Stoney Lake Regatta in 1951, and despite strong competition from much younger rivals, he was a winner through the province well into the 1960s. When tryouts were held for the Centennial Trans-Canada Portage, he teamed with Peter Clark to place second in a 62-mile race and third in the 120-mile Ville Marie to Temiskaming race against 60 other canoeists.
In the 1970s, he paired with his niece Gail McLaren to win a gruelling 15 mile Huntsville to Port Sydney race. He duplicated that feat the following year paired with another niece, MaryAnne Irwin. Paddling with Wellington Williams, they won the 40 mile Nottawasaga River Race in the record time of 5 hours and 18 minutes.
In the 1980s Les was part of a team that won the 10 km North Canoe event at the Ontario Marathon Canoe and Kayak Championships; was second in doubles and fifth in singles — all at age 64.
A participant, coach, builder and organizer, Les competed in his first race at age 16 on Stoney Lake, and has continued paddling every year up to the present.
Les Crowe is known as the ‘Granddaddy’ of Ontario canoeists.