Tuesday, February 27, 2018

A Grey Day On The Lake

On the second Saturday in Winterlude, I made my way to Dow's Lake, where an event was underway. This view is where the Canal widens out into the lake. The Arboretum, part of the Experimental Farm, is the wooded parkland in the background.

There are options for a treat here if you're skating, including Beavertails, which has huts at various sites in addition to its permanent location. The company, based out of Ottawa, sells fried pastry treats in the shape of a beaver's tail.

Here is the junction in the skateway's path. Going to the left will take you to the end of the skateway at the Hartwell Locks. Going to the right takes you to the north end of Dow's Lake. It was off to the right for me.

There was a crowd up ahead, with a section of the skateway blocked off for races.

It was the second year of the Ice Dragon Boat Festival. The organizers have been doing a summer version of this event for years on end (have a look at last year's event in this post from my writer's blog). Last year was their first year doing so for Winterlude, and I posted about that here. It proved successful, and so it returned again this year.

I was just arriving as the last race of the morning was due to get started, with an hour's break for lunch before afternoon races would get underway. Teams use the same five dragon boats in these heats, which are then turned over to the next set of racers. An apparatus looking rather like skates are attached beneath the boat, and instead of oars, the rowers use sticks that look like they can spike into the ice surface, propelling the boats along. The rules allow that if a boat gets stuck, up to two rowers can get out to give it a push- but they can't get back in again. I chatted with a couple of participants, who had been in races in the morning and would be again in the afternoon. They confirmed that this is harder than the summer version. During the summer races, you're feeling the effort in your core, whereas with this, the effort really plays itself out in your arms. 

I just reached the starting line in time to catch the beginning of the race. It didn't take long before all five boats were off, working their way down the surface of the ice. I have more from this event tomorrow.


  1. ...sunshine is often lacking in winter.

  2. Those Dragon Boat races look like fun - for the spectators! :) I wonder how fast they go, in miles per hour?

  3. Superb, look forward to seeing more of the dragon boat race on ice

  4. Must be great to see the races of those dragon boats on skates.
    The only boats on ice I know are ice sailers.

  5. I'll bet many memories are being built for kids. I'd like to see a fried beavertail pastry up close.


  6. The dragon race does look hard. Maybe they ate a few beacertails before it started. Yum!

  7. @Tom: it was different from last year, when we had sunny weather for the event.

    @Lowell: they don't go nearly as fast as they do during the summer, though they outpace you if you're walking alongside them.

    @Francisco: thank you!

    @Bill: it is quite an event to see.

    @Jan: I think it was a wonderful idea. I expect now that they've done it two years in a row, it'll become a tradition for Winterlude.

    @Janis: I'll have to photograph the next beavertail I buy!

    @Marie: well, they are quick energy!

  8. Somebody had some great creativity to come up with the racing boats. That would be an interesting race to watch.

  9. What fun to watch William.. hard work to participate 😀 Recognized the dragon boats from your winter header shot!

  10. It must be fun to cheer on the teams!
    I remember enjoying a beavertail when we visited Grouse Mountain with my relatives who live in BC.

  11. William, I so respect you and your fellows for surviving the many grey months in such fine form! Just moving from Hawaii to the San Francisco area was HUGE. The days for facing ice and snow are behind me for sure.

  12. Wonderful way to enjoy Winter ~ lovely photos and especially like the Dragon Boats ~ ^_^

    Happy Week to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  13. I can only imagine the pain in their arms!

  14. Cool! I have done a dragon boat race on the water once...good to know ice is tougher..I'll stick to water if I ever decide to do it again lol!

  15. @Lady Fi: it is!

    @Red: I enjoyed it!

    @Grace: very hard work.

    @Sharon: it does!

    @Christine: there are outlets in various spots across the country, but they got their start here.

    @Cloudia: Winterlude is a great way to get through the winter.

    @Carol: thank you!

    @MB: it was a blast.

    @RedPat: they'd be tired by the end of the day.

    @Jenn: the summer races have been going on for years, but doing this is a new one!

  16. Row, Row, Row ... or do they say mush? any who ... very cool. ( ;

  17. Very cool those dragon races. I know I would enjoy watching them.

  18. Thanks for explaining that different teams used the same boats.

  19. I've always wanted to see the dragon boats -- they look terrific. Must be pretty exciting to see them doing their thing!

  20. So much snow and ice over there and too much sun over here!

  21. @Beth: it's fun to watch!

    @Bill: I certainly did.

    @Mari: you're welcome.

    @Linda: they do indeed.

    @Jeanie: it was.

    @Norma: cold's a good thing!

    @Nancy: we had no shortage of snow this year.