The Early Years
Disc BC (formerly the BCDSS) was preceded by a number of disc sport organizations, some of which had a provincial focus, while others concentrated their efforts locally and/or on specific disc sport disciplines.
Hosted by Ken Westerfield and Jim Kenner (part of the touring group the Canadian Frisbee Champions), the first Vancouver Frisbee Championships were held in 1974-75 on Kitsilano Beach and in Stanley Park. In 1976-77, a group of players calling themselves the Royal Canadian Frisbee Association were involved with the formation of the first Disc Golf course in Canada at Winskill Park in Tsawassen. Also, at about this time and through the late 1970’s, a group of freestylers called the Kitsilano Kostal Kats, centered at Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver, organized tournaments, taught skills and went to competitions. Players from the Kitsilano Kostal Kats became some of the best freestylers in the world including Jim Brown, John Anthony, and Bill King, who placed second in the world in 1977. The Kats produced a magazine called PAW (Paddidlers/Partiers of the World) for a year and a half.
In 1979, the first disc golf course on Pender Island was constructed. This was followed, in 1981, by the present course at Magic Lake build by a group of players calling themselves PIDS (Pender Island Disc Society). Golf courses were also built at about this time in Alert Bay and Kimberly, but with no known formal organization maintaining them. Significantly, no trace remains today of some of these courses, highlighting the importance of having a supportive organization to help maintain them.
In 1980, the BC Flying Disc Association (BCFDA) was founded in Vancouver. This organization concentrated on Disc Golf and oversaw the 1983 installation of the Little Mountain Disc Golf Course in Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Park. The BCFDA held a wildly successful Western Canadian Overall Championships in the early 1980’s with lots of participation, competition, and sponsor support. Also in the early 1980’s, the Flying Islanders, a group of players at the University of Victoria formed a university club. They concentrated on all-round play and formed one of the first Ultimate teams in the Province.
Back in Vancouver, in 1985-86, the BC Flying Disc Association joined an organization called Westwind and concentrated efforts on overall disc sport development. Then, in 1986, the Westwind group decided to focus their efforts on promoting disc sports in Vancouver and they formed the Vancouver Disc Sports Society. Also in 1986, the Vancouver Ultimate League was formed and the first Vancouver touring team attended the Solstice Celebration Ultimate tournament in Eugene, Oregon. Additionally, the first intraprovincial Ultimate Tournament occurred in Vancouver in 1986 between the host, Aerial Express, Victoria and the Calgary Cynics.
In 1988-89, disc sports were expanding rapidly provincially, nationally, and internationally. Lasqueti Island started hosting regular tournaments in 1988. Victoria and Prince George were forming Ultimate teams and regular groups of golfers. Golf on Pender Island was growing. The first Canadian Ultimate Championships were held in 1987, and the World Disc Golf Championships were held in Toronto that same year. Internationally, the World Flying Disc Federation had been formed and was hosting world championships in Ultimate, Guts and individual events. Locally, the Vancouver Disc Sports Society (VDSS) saw provincial incorporation as an opportunity to further Disc Sports with provincial coordination and the ability to access provincial grants/lottery revenue which were only available to provincially incorporated societies. Therefore, the Vancouver Disc Sports Society sought provincial incorporation and received provincial society status on April 26, 1989. On that date, the VDSS officially became the British Columbia Disc Sports Society.
The BCDSS was initially organized as two branches, one focused on Ultimate and another on Disc Golf, with the “big board” as it was known managing the broad multi-sport activities of the organization. In 2012, the Ultimate Branch decided to start an independent organization, BC Ultimate (BCU), and the remaining membership consolidated all branches and programs into one Disc BC Board. Final revisions to the bylaws were submitted in 2015 and the BCDSS was formalized in its current format.
You can find other and more detailed sources of disc sports history and information in books, videos, and back copies of newsletters in the Society’s resource library, files and archives. The Vancouver Public Library also has material on Disc Golf, Frisbee, Ultimate and alternative games.