About Us

Lifesaving History

The Lifesaving Society – Canada’s lifeguarding experts. We work to prevent drownings and water-related injuries through training programs, Water Smart® public education initiatives and aquatic safety management services.

The Lifesaving Society has a long and proud history of teaching lifesaving to Canadians.

We trace our roots to the late 19th century in London, England where we began as The Swimmer’s Life Saving Society. In 1894, Arthur Lewis Cochrane brought to Canada the lifesaving skills he learned in his homeland, and he passed them along to students at Upper Canada College in Toronto, Ontario.

In June 1896, eighteen of his students were the first recipients of our distinguished Bronze Medallion award, the first award created by the Society. Under the patronage of King Edward VII in 1904, we became The Royal Life Saving Society.

In the 1950s, we were the first Canadian organization to adopt mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing as the method of choice over manual methods of artificial respiration. We started our first CPR training program in the 1960s. In the 1980s, we initiated a project to design an economical CPR training mannequin now known as ACTAR 911®.

Lifesaving Society Chronological Timelines

Lifesaving Society Presidents

2018—present, Heather Barnhouse
2016—18, Rob Campbell
2014—16, Yanick Graveline
2012—14, Craig Amundsen
2011—12, Paul Dawe
2009—11, Alain Rabeau
2007—09, Jeanie Hutton
2005—07, Lisa Pittet
2003—05, Len Manuel
2001—03, Max Chauvin
1999—01, Doreen Drysdale
1997—99, Brian Wynn
1994—97, Ruth Cruikshank
1991—94, Steve Beerman
1988—91, Judy Kent
1985—88, Kirk Wipper
1982—85, William Anderson
1979—82, Marlin Moore
1973—79, Bredin Stapells
1961—73, G.G. Simonds
1954—61, H.E. Herschorn
1947—54, Wills MacLachlan