Race Day at Jean Drapeau! Dragon Boat Races 2014

Dragon Boat Races at Jean Drapeau July 2014. Photo by Annie Shreeve Dragon Boat Races at Jean Drapeau July 2014. Photo by Annie Shreeve

This weekend there was all kinds of excitement at the Olympic Basin at Parc Jean Drapeau as teams from across the United States and Canada came together to compete in the annual Dragon Boat Races! An event hosted by 22Dragons and H2O Playground, this event is considered the ‘nascar race of Quebec!’

With 140 teams competing, either to qualify for higher positions or just for an enjoyable weekend, each team at the races seemed to be having a great time. I certainly enjoyed watching the event and learning more about the sport. Very much a team spirited environment, I was fortunate enough to meet some great people who were happy to speak to me about Dragon Boat Racing and it’s history.

Preparing for the race! Photo by Annie Shreeve

Preparing for the race! Photo by Annie Shreeve

You are probably wondering what Dragon Boat Racing actually is? Well, good question! It is a sport similar to rowing with teams of 18 to 20 paddlers per boat. The boats are painted with the scales of the dragons and the paddles are representative of the dragons claws. Very significant in Chinese culture, the dragon boat was originally used for religious purposes. Today, however, it is a popular and international sport. The sport of Dragon Boat racing became popular after Hong Kong decided to host an international dragon boat festival. Since then, the sport has grown immensely!

The races can vary anywhere between 200 and 2000 metres. However this weekend in Montreal the races were either 500 or 2000 metres. With different divisions – community and sports – there is a huge range in the competition which makes it even more enjoyable and accessible to all abilities and ages.

Spectators watching the race. Photo by Annie Shreeve

Spectators watching the race. Photo by Annie Shreeve

Later this year, in September, Italy will host the International Dragon Boat Festival where many Canadians hope they have the opportunity to participate. And next year, Canada is fortunate enough to have the opportunity to host the event! So next summer Ontario will be proudly host the International Dragon Boat Festival. A great opportunity for both Dragon Boat enthusiasts and those with no experience alike! Check it out!

also of interest