Walter Oster caught his first fish with his godfather when he was 6-years-old in Grenadier Pond, in the west end of Toronto. He used to paint the lures his godfather carved and the 2 anglers would take public transit all over the city — and beyond — just to find a spot to drop their lines for the day.
Now the chairman and CEO of the Canadian National Sportsmen’s Shows, Oster has fished the world. But, he remains loyal to where he started in the sport and because of that, this lifelong angler and supporter of recreational fishing has another trophy to add to his wall.
On Jan. 21, 2014 Oster was presented with a 2013 Recreational Fisheries Award from Fisheries and Oceans Canada at a private dinner.
The ministry honoured him with this award for being a “tremendous contributor to, and advocate for, recreational fishing and conservation in Ontario, especially for the development of urban angling opportunities in the Greater Toronto Area.”
Oster’s passion for fishing has benefited many youth. He feels it’s important to introduce kids to angling, just as he was when he was a young boy. “Today’s youth are tomorrow’s fishermen and women,” he said.
“It is important that today’s youth experience fishing because it introduces them to the outdoors and leads to the appreciation of the environment and conservation,” Oster added. “It brings them outdoors and away from their computers and games and, in most cases, encourages interaction both physically and mentally with their parents or parent.”
In addition to his many other accomplishments and honours, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters named Oster the 2007 recipient of the R.G. Morgan Professional Conservation Award for his significant contribution to conservation.
Oster launched the Kids Fishing Day program in 2003 and to date his organization has given away approximately 50,000 rod and reel kits. He is also the man behind reinstating the Great Ontario Salmon Derby on Lake Ontario in 1997.
“Our government is proud to recognize dedicated volunteers for their outstanding commitment to conservation of resources and to recreational fishing. Their efforts to protect fish and fish habitat and to promote recreational angling help preserve our important resources for future generations to enjoy,” said Gail Shea, minister of Fisheries and Oceans. “I offer my sincere congratulations to Walter Oster for his outstanding contribution to recreational fishing in Canada.”