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William Bill Irvine Of York Barbell Passes Away
By Roger Lockridge
William Irvine, the Canadian bodybuilder and owner of York Barbell, passed away in Toronto, Ontario on July 3rd at the age of 84. His family shared the news of his passing, but no official cause of death was announced.
Irvine was best known for his work with the legendary weight production company, but his ties to fitness and weight training go far beyond that. Born in 1937 and raised in Toronto, Irvine developed a passion for strength training and bodybuilding at a young age. At the age of 20, Irvine won the prestigious Mr. Canada Junior title in 1957 for both bodybuilding and strength. In that era, competitors had to showcase their physiques and perform feats of strength. There is no current record on what weights he lifted in that competition.
This victory is what is believed to inspire Irvine to move forward with York Barbell. He started his business in a small town called York outside of Toronto. There had already been a York Barbell established in York, Pennsylvania by longtime bodybuilding and fitness businessman Bob Hoffman, but the two men agreed to not attempt to take customers from each other’s countries. This agreement remained in place until 2004 when Irvine and his business partner, Peter Hallford, purchased the US based “York Barbell” in 2004. With both versions merged under their ownership, York’s products had reached gyms and health clubs in more than 50 countries around the world. Even with current companies such as Rogue Fitness and Elite FTS selling weightlifting equipment, York is still considered a leader in the industry. The company would produce many pieces of equipment for weight training, cardiovascular fitness, and even boxing under the name “BBE.” He was active with his company all the way up to his death, with customers and associates saying they would see him on the floor of the York Barbell shop in Toronto regularly. As of this writing, York Barbell had yet to release a formal statement about Irvine’s passing.
Another Canadian fitness legend, John Robert Cardillo, posted about Irvine’s death on his Instagram page.
“Bill manufactured and sold more Olympic bars and plates than anyone in history during his ownership of York Barbell. Bill was a friend and a great human being. He will be missed. Rest in Peace, Bill.”
Irvine was also passionate about antique cars, which he was a passionate collector of throughout most of his life. Irvine is survived by his wife of 61 years, Mary, and his brother, Dr. Ian Irvine. Everyone at Muscle Insider extends their condolence to Mr. Irvine’s family for their loss.