Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival

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File:BinaryRhyme Dragon Boats Competition.jpg
Intense competition at the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival

The Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival is a yearly event that attracts 5,500 paddlers and over 70,000 spectators in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Since its inception in 1993, thousands of participants have gathered at Mooney's Bay Park on Riverside Drive in Ottawa to race. Admission to the festival is free to spectators.

In 1998 the "Pledge Challenge" was added as a charitable component. The Ottawa Dragon Boat Foundation was founded in 2004 to help efforts with fundraising for local charities. The challenge has raised over $3 million.

The 2016 edition of the Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival will take place June 23-25, 2016.

The event is held in Mooney's Bay, where the Rideau River and Rideau Canal split. Many of the Ottawa-based boats train at Mooney's Bay out of the Rideau Canoe Club.

Breast cancer survivor teams

The Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival offers a breast cancer survivor team category and holds an annual flower ceremony on the water. This has become an integral part of the festival and has encouraged many breast cancer survivor teams to participate. Many accompanying family and friends also make the trip to show their support and honour survivors.[1]

Opening ceremony

Teams preparing for the race.

The Opening Ceremony is presented on Friday with cultural tourist attractions like the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Pipe and Drum band. The Parade of Champions is similar in concept to the Olympics' Parade of Nations. Numerous dignitaries attend including the Mayor of Ottawa. Other special guests include CTV Ottawa media personalities and other prominent members of the broader community. The Opening ceremony also features some ancient Asian cultural celebrations to pay respect to the roots of the festival heritage. Past performers include The Success Lion Dance Troupe, who celebrate a 3000-year-old tradition that symbolizes prosperity, luck and happiness; and The Oto-Wa Taiko Japanese drummers.

Features & attractions

  • Children's area
Mooney's Bay during the 2006 edition of the race

The children's area provides continuous children's programming during the festival from 10:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. each day. Past performers include Spartacat and Riley the Raccoon from the Ottawa 67's.

  • Onsite entertainment

The festival has multiple stages. The main stage has late night concerts on each evening of the festival. Past performers include Sam Roberts Band, The Sheepdogs and Arkells.

Past performers on the beer garden stage include Jim Bryson and Amanda Rheaume.[2]

  • Vendors, artisans, concessionaires, and exhibitors

Festival attendees can choose from over 50 vendors, artisans, concessionaires and exhibitors. Past vendors include Wilderness Tours, Creative Minds, Creations of the Heart, Lemon Heaven, Stone Soup, and Ottawa Belgian Waffle.[3]


External links