Ottawa hosts World Ice Dragon Boat championship

Alberta’s Coulee Classic Ice Dragons claim 3rd

OTTAWA – BeaverTails Ottawa Ice Dragon Boat Festival hosted the 2nd IIDBF World Ice Dragon Boat Championships on the Rideau Canal Skateway.

More than 100 teams with 1,200 competitors representing England, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, China, United States and Canada brave the cold to use their spiked ice-picks to propel dragon boats equipped with skate-like blades along the frozen 200-meter racecourse using spiked ice-picks in pursuit of championship gold.

The official opening ceremony, which took place Friday evening, included the centuries-old tradition of the mythological eye-dotting ritual which breathes fire into the ice dragon boat festival, to awaken the spirit of the dragon.

Highlights also included performances from Success Lion Dancers, Chinese Canadian Children’s Choir of Canada, Indigenous Experiences: Drum and First Nation Dancers, and Canadian artists Old Man Grant and Dwayne Gretzky, who performed to a packed crowd.

Despite winter bringing its full fury upon the Nation’s capital, spirits and competition were high culminating in the festivities of the annual ODBF Shiver and Giver fundraising races.

Held under the night sky the racecourse is lit with LED lights. Races were decided with hometown teams Fleet of Foote Lightning and Chinatown Snowboat claiming 1st and 3rd in the Mixed Division, and the predominantly B.C.-based Dragon Zone Fire Dragons claiming 2nd in the division. This hometown dominance would not carry through into the Woman’s Division though as Vermont Fire and Vermont’s Lucky Iceholes took 1st and 2nd respectively with Alberta’s Coulee Classic Ice Dragons claiming 3rd.

As the competition heats up and the temperatures drop audiences and athletes will enjoy a presentation by 100th Regiment of Foot and performances by Sébastien Lemay, Royal Princesses. World Champions will be crowned in a closing awards ceremony held tonight followed by free indoor concerts from headliner Kira Isabella. Kira will lead an all Canadian lineup that includes performances from Silent Winters, Boyhood, and DJ Noypi hosted inside the pavilion.

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