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Born in Toronto, Bowden won championships in every division of Canadian figure skating. He was national men's champion as a junior and senior (1947), national pairs (junior and senior), dance (1952), waltz, and 10-step champion with Frances Dafoe, and national fours champion.
Bowden and Dafoe captured four Canadian titles (1952, 1953, 1954, 1955) and two world championships (1954, 1955). They won the silver medal at the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. Norris and his partner were the first pair skaters to do the twist lift, throw jump, ‘leap of faith’ and overhead lasso. It was because of these two that some of the rules in pairs skating were changed.1
Outside of skating, Bowden graduated with an MBA and worked in the life insurance industry. He was founding president of the Centennial Nursery School for Retarded Children (now the Centennial Infant and Child Centre) in Toronto.