Living on Toronto Island, boats and sailing were an instructive part of Paul Henderson’s early life.
Henderson became a very active competitive sailor. He won medals at National, North American and World Championships. He holds the record for competing in all the Canadian Olympic Sailing Trials from 1948 to 1984.
Henderson represented Canada at three Olympic Games. In the 1964 Tokyo games, Henderson competed in the Flying Dutchman class. In Mexico City’s 1968 games, Henderson sailed in the Finn class. At the 1972 Munich games, Henderson coached the Canadian team. He also qualified for the 1980 Olympics, but could not participate when the games were boycotted.
Henderson was instrumental in assisting with the founding of the Water Rat Sailing Club in 1969 and the Outer Harbour Sailing Community, the Mooredale Sailing Club, the St. Jamestown Sailing Club and the Hanlan Boat Club.
He was a member of the founding group that set up CORK (Canadian Olympic Regatta Kingston). Henderson first represented Canada at the International Yacht Racing Union in 1970 to advise on the sailing venue for the 1976 Montreal Olympics. He stayed active for ISAF for over 30 years.
Henderson dedicated five years as a volunteer in his leadership of the Toronto Olympic Bid, hoping to host the 1996 Olympic Games. He was also consulted on the 2008 Olympic bid and for his insight to the 2010 Vancouver bid.
Henderson was elected President of the International Sailing Federation in 1994. He is the first non-European to ever hold this position.