Melville Marks Robinson was a native of Peterborough Ontario. Born in 1888 he was known to most everyone as M. M. or Bobby.
He left school at the age of 13 and took a job as office boy at the Toronto News. He loved the newspaper industry and in 1910 joined the Sports staff of the Hamilton Spectator, soon becoming the Sports Editor and eventually the City Editor for the Spec.
He deplored the fact that Canadian runners did not have the competition necessary to develop into world class runners. When he learned of the Empire Festival, a track and field event to be held in England in 1911, he began a campaign to establish the British Empire Games, which he want to hold in Hamilton.
Soon he moved to Burlington. In 1920 he bought a 23 acre farm on Maple avenue and became immersed in agriculture. All the while he pursued his dream of the Empire Games. He went to Amsterdam as Manager of the Canadian Olympic Track and Field Team in 1928 and vigorously attempted to sell his idea to anyone who would listen. He went overseas many times, and eventually convince Great Britain to get involved.
Returning to Canada he began to promote his goal locally while convincing authorities in Hamilton that with an adequate stadium and indoor pool they could host the Games. As a result, both Civic Stadium (Ivor Wynne Stadium today) and the Municipal Pool were built at a cost of $160,000. Finally, in 1930, the first ever British Empire Games were held in Hamilton and were the forerunner to what today are the Commonwealth Games.
For many years M.M. also served as Chairman of the Burlington High School Board and in 1959, with the amalgamation that formed the City of Burlington, he became the first Chair of the newly organized Board of Education. He also had a part to play in founding the Burlington Braves Football Team.
Bobby Robinson passed away in 1974 at the age of 86 but he continued to receive honours, including induction into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame the year he passed away. The first public high school north of the Queen Elizabeth Highway was named in his honour, a fitting tribute to one who taught us so much about living and about life.
Member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.