Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival June 19 - 22, 2014
Recognized as North America's largest dragon boat festival, the Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival is a four day celebration of the arts, sports, culture and heritage. Each year the festival draws thousands of spectators and participants to Rideau River in Mooney's Bay Park. This year, over 200 paddle teams will compete in corporate, community and competitive categories. All boats have 20 rowers, one drummer and a helmsman to steer. Most of the teams are out to have fun and express their enthusiasm by wearing colourful costumes, war paint or even traditional Chinese attire. The festival also offers free admission to multiple stages with world class entertainment, amusement attractions, extreme sports demonstrations, a variety of artisans, exhibitors, delicious culinary treats, beach side bar, children’s area and non-stop racing.
- The Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival began in 1994 with the assistance of the Hong Kong Canada Business Association. The first event only lasted half a day as there were only 25 teams participating.
- The Ottawa Dragon Boat Foundation raises money through the paddlers' registration fees, and attendees can donate even though the event is free. To-date, over $3 million has been raised, benefitting 29 Ottawa area charities.
- Athletes come from all over the country as well as the United States, to gear up for an event that attracts thousands.
- The Sheepdogs will headline a free concert on Friday, June 20, as well as roots rockers Cuff The Duke and indie folk band Harlan Pepper. ARKELLS will headline a free concert June 21st, as well as Hey Ocean, Northcote and Amos The Transparent.
- The festival is part of a larger Chinese cultural tradition that goes back 2,400 years. It began on the life-sustaining riverbanks in the valleys of southern China as a fertility rite performed to ensure bountiful crops. The first participants held their celebration on the fifth day of the lunar month of the Chinese calendar. The race was held to avert misfortune and encourage the rains needed for prosperity. The object of their worship was the dragon.