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Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival

The Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival is a yearly event that attracts 5,500 paddlers in dragon boat races 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 and enjoy festivities and attractions. 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 raise funds for local charities. The challenge has raised over $3.7 million benefiting 40 charities as of 2016.[1]

The 2018 edition of the Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival will take place June 21-24.

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 teamsEdit

The Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival offers a breast cancer survivor team category and holds an annual flower ceremony on the water honoring those affected by breast cancer. Dragon boat racing is popular among breast cancer survivors. This has became 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 honor survivors.

Opening ceremonyEdit

Teams preparing for the race.

The Opening Ceremony is presented on the Friday of each Festival weekend 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 Ottawa community. The Opening Ceremony also features ancient Asian cultural celebrations to pay respect to the cultural heritage of dragon boat racing. Past performers include The Success Lion Dance Troupe, which celebrates a 3000-year-old tradition that symbolizes prosperity, luck and happiness, and The Oto-Wa Taiko Japanese drummers.

Features & attractionsEdit

    Concert spectators at the 2016 festival
    Children's area

The children's area provides continuous children's programming during each day of the festival. 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 Mother Mother, A Tribe Called Red, and July Talk. Past performers on the beer garden stage include Kennedy Cult, The Lionyls, and DJ NOYPI.

  • 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.[2]


External linksEdit