Byron Richard Brown was a man who devoted several decades of his life to Island sport. A member of the legendary Charlottetown Abbies athletics clubs prior to the Great War, he became involved mainly at the organizational and administrative level in later years.
Born August 13, 1882 in Charlottetown, young Byron was already part of a unique family tradition in sport. His father, Picton S. Brown, had decided against a law career, and left his Ontario home with a string of racehorses bound for competition on the Maritime circuit. As fate would have it, he eventually married a Charlottetown girl, becoming a respected city businessman and, eventually, its Mayor. Byron Brown’s achievements in sport, however, were to eclipse those of his illustrious father.
Only fifteen years old when he competed in his first Maritime Cycling Championship in 1897, young Byron would win his first major title the following year, for the Saint Dunstan’s Sports in city competition, with victories in the mile and quarter-mile events. In that same year, at the Maritime Championships held in Moncton, N.B., Byron would win most of the events. It was perhaps fitting that Byron’s victory in the one mile boy’s bicycle race of July 1, 1899, held at Charlottetown’s Athletics Grounds, would win him the gold medal donated by his father, Picton Brown.
Young Byron’s cycling prowess achieved national attention in August, 1899 when he appeared in a world cycling championship held at Montreal. Brown would be awarded a silver medal for his first place finish in the one mile novice bicycle race. Eventually the holder of provincial titles in all events from the quarter-mile to the five mile, Byron Brown would also attain Maritime titles in the quarter-mile and mile.
Following his cycling career, Byron’s speed and stamina were evident in his role as captain and quarterback for several championship Abbies rugby teams, for which he played until 1910. He would also be a member of the Abegweit hockey team of 1910. Upon the close of his years as a competitor, Byron began working as administrator for numerous athletic teams. His administrative efforts culminated in his association with Hall of Fame inductees the Charlottetown Abbies hockey team of 1921, 1922 and 1923. All told, Byron Brown would manage the team to an amazing record of thirty wins, one loss, and one draw on their way to three Maritime Championships.
In later years, harness racing dominated Brown’s sporting interests. The only individual in Eastern Canada licensed as a presiding judge, Brown’s name became a familiar one on the Maritime circuit. His family recalls his sorrow when health problems forced him to retire from judging races at the Charlottetown Driving Park in 1958. Brown was also active as a sports timer at the CDP, and at local boxing venues, in association with Ed Acorn, from 1932 until 1954. The Revere Hotel, which Byron took over upon his father’s death in 1925, established itself as the headquarters for horsemen throughout the Atlantic seaboard during the city’s annual Old Home Week.
Byron Brown passed away March 5, 1962, of a heart attack at the age of 69. He was remembered as a perfectionist by nature, who retained the respect and admiration of others thanks to his dedication and resolution. The name Byron Richard Brown, athlete and sport builder, was fittingly accorded posthumous induction into the P.E.I. Sports Hall of Fame on June 24, 1990.
Updated: June 2018
File Contains: Biography by Ron A. Peterson, essay, CD-ROM, photocopied articles, trophies, and newspaper clippings.