Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Paddles up: Victoria Dragon Boat Festival returns to the Inner Harbour this weekend


Thousands of people will be lining the Inner Harbour and gathering along the Johnson Street Bridge this weekend to witness the highly-anticipated Canada Dry Victoria Dragon Boat Festival. 

Sports and culture are colliding with the races, but there will also be a myriad of food vendors and live musical acts to add to the ambiance of the festival as well.  

Some of the performers will be the Wong Sheung Kung Fu Club, Bridal Party, the Lekwungan Traditional Dancers, the Victoria Chinese Opera, Actual Human People and a number of other diverse artists. 

The festival’s beginnings date back to 1994 and coincided with the Commonwealth Games held in Victoria. In celebration of Hong Kong Day, boats and padders came over from Vancouver and held exhibition races in the Inner Harbour.

The city was hooked on the sport following the display of athleticism and synchronicity and the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival Society was born in 1997.

Now, the Dragon Boat Festival has been happening every year for the past 26 years, with the exception of 2020 and 2021.

The non-profit society which organizes the festival has put a massive emphasis on fundraising through the event for the BC Cancer Foundation. To raise money, their partners at Fairway Market sell traditional Chinese paper lanterns. 

At night, the lanterns are lit up and placed upon the water which creates a powerful message of hope throughout the community. 

The 39 total races will take place on Saturday, August 12th and Sunday, August 13th in the waters of the Inner Harbour. 

Those wishing to see all the live music and performances or grab a bite from the food trucks that will be on-site can find anything and everything they need at Ship Point.

(Victoria Dragonboat Festival Society)

Canada Dry Victoria Dragon Boat Festival

  • Where: Ship Point at Victoria’s Inner Harbour
  • When: 
    • Saturday, August 12th, races start at 1 p.m. the lantern lighting ceremony begins
    • Sunday, August 13th, races start at 1 p.m. and go until around 6 p.m.
Curtis Blandy

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