Saturday, February 25, 2017

At My Signal, Unleash The Dragon Boats

The Dragon Boat Festival is a yearly event here in Ottawa, held each summer at Mooney's Bay. I haven't photographed it before- I seem to have so much photographic material already that there are events I often pass up during the summer- but this year I'll have to take in some of the events. The organization that runs it has an office downtown; it might last a few days, but the event requires work through the year. I passed by that office late last year and noticed that they were doing something in addition during Winterlude: ice dragon boat racing. This event has been done in China, but never before in North America, until a week ago today, which was the last day the ice on the Canal was open for skating. The event was held at Dow's Lake, where I first came across these red lanterns.

One of the dragon boats was on display, while the others were in competition. They were outfitted with skating apparatus beneath the boats for going over the ice. Instead of paddles, the crews used sticks that appeared to have specialized ends to drive themselves across the ice. A lot of people were in attendance to watch, primarily on the east side of the course, where race heats were held, one going south, the next one going north, with crews waiting for their respective heats. I even came across a dog in the crowd.

Here's one of the heats, with the boats coming up from the south end of the course, a two hundred metre race. It looks much harder than conventional dragon boat rowing in the summer, with the crews driving those sticks against the ice to propel themselves forward. It would also be slower than summer time rowing, but it was a lot of fun to watch. Tomorrow I'll show you a different event that was held here a week earlier.


  1. It is curious to see them rowing without water.


  2. Have never seen something like this, a competition with boats over ice!

  3. Seems a bit weird at first sight.

  4. It does look a lot of fun William but I bet it's an exhausting endeavour!

  5. Must be hard to find fun stuff to do in Ottawa during the winter! :) I've never seen such a thing but I love the dragon boats and I can imagine the races were quite exciting. Nice photos, too, William.

  6. I saw this on the news and was amazed at the strength it must take to pull these dragon boats across the ice. Great pics!

  7. @Tomas: very curious!

    @Marianne: it was such a delight to watch. I hope it happens again next year.

    @Marleen: I wondered if they'd pull it off. That day the temperatures were above freezing, and that was having an effect on the ice.

    @Grace: I imagine a lot of people participating had sore muscles afterwards.

    @Lowell: thanks!

    @Cloudia: very cool!

    @Pamela: thank you!

  8. Well, this a new one for me! How very interesting. I had never heard of Dragon Boats on skis before.

  9. Now this is amazing! What a novel event! the colorful boats really add to a spectacular event.

  10. Cool! Fun to watch. Something unusual.

  11. Oh, I love the dragon boats. I wouldn't want to be that fellow in the rear, though, who stands while the boat is moving.

  12. so cool. i have never seen this before. love the boat. creative!! happy weekend!! ( ;

  13. That just seems so hard but fun to watch !

    cheers, parsnip

  14. Never heard of this before but it does look like some interesting winter fun. Cool shots William!

  15. What a fun way to celebrate winter!


  16. @Sharon: it was a first for me!

    @Red: they really stood out.

    @Nancy: it was unusual!

    @Norma: it was!

    @Catalyst: you have to keep your balance!

    @Gunn: it definitely was!

    @Beth: I'm definitely going to have to see some of the summer festival this year.

    @Parsnip: it looked very tough on the crews. Apparently they came from all over.

    @Bill: it was a blast!

    @RedPat: it was a treat to see.

    @Janis: definitely!

  17. Incredible event on snow. It would be exciting to watch. Love the second photo of the dragon's head.

  18. Lovely photos of this event, William, and the dog is cute. :)

  19. That is amazing! I had no idea they did it on ice.

  20. Now that's a new one on me! Really interesting.

  21. Amazing! I never would have expected that...and why would I since Ottawa was a first. That must have been fun to watch. Lucky you!

  22. That would have been so much fun to watch William, pretty exhausting for the 'rowers' ☺ love seeing your winter shots, it was 40C here yesterday!

  23. Vauu.. you have a lot of fun there. This race is very good idea.

  24. It's neat! I like the cute dog too!

  25. Dragon boats on ice? This is a new one to me.

  26. It looked really difficult! But it keeps the riff raff off the streets! Sad it was such a mushy day.

  27. @Gemma: thank you!

    @Linda: it was a cute pup.

    @Mari: it was a creative idea.

    @Joan: first time in North America, but it has been done in China in the winter.

    @Furry Gnome: it was a blast to watch.

    @Kay: I was glad they pulled it off.

    @Grace: it looked a lot harder this time than watching the summer rowing a few days ago.

    @Orvokki: getting through the winter means having fun!

    @Linda: thank you!

    @Jack: it was to me too.

    @Jennifer: I imagine lots of muscles were sore!