In Memoriam: Walter Patrick Shanly (1959–2017)

Posted by By at 24 October, at 13 : 11 PM Print

 In Memoriam: Walter Patrick Shanly (1959–2017)

Ottawa, ON, Oct. 17, 2017 – Equestrian Canada (EC) extends heartfelt condolences to the friends and family of the late Walter Patrick Shanly, who passed away on Sept. 28, 2017 at the age of 58.

At the age of 20, Shanly founded Sunnybrook Stables Ltd. in Toronto, ON’s historic Sunnybrook Park. Under his careful supervision, Sunnybrook’s riding school quickly became – and remains – a prestigious destination for equestrians of all levels in the Greater Toronto Area. In fact, it is the largest public riding facility in the nation.

In addition to housing a riding school, Sunnybrook Stables also came to be a renowned competition site. Top competitors from across Canada flocked to the grounds to participate in the Loblaws Classic, an innovative show jumping competition that Shanly established in the 1980s.

Shanly’s influence also extended to the international stage, and he was a key supporting member of the Canadian Dressage Team for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

In 2003 Shanly expanded his operations with addition of The Riding Academy at The Horse Palace, a unique Art Deco facility located in Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto. Shanly’s caring and entrepreneurial nature led him to expand the use of both Sunnybrook Stables and The Horse Palace to offer equestrian programs accessible to everyone, regardless of background or ability.

Shanly founded the Exhibition Therapeutic Riding Academy (EXTRA), a volunteer-run program for children and adults with cognitive and/or physical impairment. He also identified an opportunity to help Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) by founding a therapeutic riding program called Saddle Up. The program was initially launched with the Metropolitan Toronto Mounted Unit, and continues to offer equestrian opportunities in partnership with the CAF program Soldier On.

“Walter Patrick Shanly was a pioneer in the advancement of equestrian sport in Canada.” said Christine Peters, EC Manager of Dressage. “He is a role model not only because of his dedication to the national equestrian community, but more so because of his strength of character. His legacy of giving will be well-remembered as the charitable initiatives he established continue to touch numerous lives with the healing power of horses.”

Shanly is survived by his wife, Jacquelynn, and son, Muredach. He was predeceased by his brothers, Charles Coote Shanly and John James Shanly, and his parents, Nonie (Mary, née Fitzpatrick) and Coote Nesbitt Shanly. He will be remembered and greatly missed by many.

A celebration of Shanly’s life will be announced at a later date.


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