Peter Wylie’s name was in the newspaper, and it was a problem. It was the late 1960s, and he had taken part in an amateur boxing competition in Toronto. Wylie, a rookie police officer, hadn’t realized that cops weren’t allowed to participate in boxing, as the force feared officers might sustain injuries that would interfere with police work. He was given a warning: quit boxing or risk a firing.
“So I kind of left boxing for about four or five years, and I really missed it,” Wylie says. “And my wife told me – to her chagrin to this day, she probably should have never told me – she said, ‘if you can’t box then maybe you should start coaching.’”
Soon after that conversation, a friend of Wylie’s approached him about starting a boxing club in the Cabbagetown area. “That’s how I got involved. I thought it was a great idea for this area, but I had no idea that it would expand the way it did,” Wylie says. The friend, though, hadn’t anticipated how many unpaid hours of work it actually took to run the club. “When we realized what was involved, he left pretty quickly. And I just continued on from there.” Wylie has since run Cabbagetown Boxing Club as a volunteer for over forty years. He is now assisted by a staff of eight experienced volunteers, who train and counsel members of the club.
“Once people get involved in boxing…they are fans for life.”- Peter Wylie