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Wilfrid Laurier University Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing
December 8, 2016
Canadian Excellence


Ruth Zinck, Alumna

Ruth Zinck (BA ’52) took a tumble while fly-fishing on the remote Castle River in southwestern Alberta three years ago. She was 78 at the time and had a trout on her line. Her right boot caught a rock and down she went, breaking both arms above the wrists. But, she proudly recalls that she “didn’t lose the fish, didn’t break the rod and didn’t damage the reel.”

Zinck has spent a lifetime challenging herself and the people around her. A 1952 graduate of what was then Waterloo College, she later became the first woman to sit on the university’s board of governors. She went on to notch a number of other firsts, including the first woman to crack the top circle of fly-tiers, and the first woman to be admitted to Calgary’s Hook and Hackle fly-fishing club.

“These were just things I was interested in and I could see no reason why a woman should be omitted,” she says.

Zinck has developed an international reputation for her fly-tying skills and produces award-winning flies such as her signature Zinck Mink.

She hopes her next first will be to fulfill a personal dream — to fly to Awesome Lake in a remote part of Newfoundland and Labrador to fish for trophy Brook trout.

“It’s always good to have something to look forward to,” she says.