Monday, March 2, 2020

You Have To Be Slightly Crazy To Get Into This

Returning to Winterlude today, and to the Rideau Canal at Dow's Lake. The Dragon Boat Festival has been happening in Ottawa for years each summer at Mooney's Bay, south of this location. Some years ago, the festival organizers inaugurated a winter edition as part of Winterlude, the first time that ice dragon boat racing was held in North America. It's been part of Winterlude ever since. It seems harder to do than the summer version. Teams head down a 200 metre course on the ice, with the boats resting on an apparatus outfitted with blades to skate across the ice. The rowers aren't using oars, but sticks with spikes to drive into the ice and propel themselves forward. This all takes place on the Friday and Saturday of the second week of Winterlude, with many teams competing. I came down on the Saturday morning, a bitterly cold day, and photographed a couple of the heats. Here we have teams just about ready to go. The spectators were lined down the ice, almost all of them on the same side of the ice I was on.

And the call was made: the race got started, boats starting to glide down the ice.

I turned to photograph behind me. The Arboretum stands on the shore of the lake.

While waiting for the next heat to come back down the ice, I took some perspective shots.

And so it was that the next race was underway, coming back. I have more of this over the next couple of days.


  1. ...these look like the long canoes that I see paddling each morning, but it's a whole lot warmer here!

  2. Looks like (icy cold) fun!
    Alice Springs has boat races like that on the dry river. You need to laugh and go on, no matter how the weather is!

  3. My muscles ache just thinking about it!

  4. Hello, it would be fun to watch this Dragonboat race. Great photos. Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy new week!

  5. That certainly is an interesting competition. I look forward to learning more about it. :-)

  6. Thanx For Capturing This Event - Way Cool


  7. I had fun doing summer dragon boating, back in the day. We practiced for weeks!
    I'm not about winter, though!!!

  8. That looks like really hard work.

  9. I love the internet, where crazy Canadians can be freezing their neither regions while sliding in a dragon-canoe over the ice, and I can read about it over my coffee! I imagine the fans are also shouting quite loudly some encouragements.

  10. I have to agree with you about the "crazy" part. But, I bet it's fun to watch.

  11. Winter festival activities can be lots of fun like this ideas of the boats. It would be fun for participants and crowds.

  12. Great photos ~ worth being cold, I guess ~????

    Happy Moments to You,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  13. Great Canadian variation of the dragon boat.

  14. The festival looks lots of fun and those are great photos!

  15. This does look like fun, but so cold!

  16. Freezing fun! Great photos, William

  17. @Tom: and colder here!

    @Iris: this is quite an event.

    @Francisco: thank you.

    @David: it's quite a workout.

    @Jan: it's quite something to see in person.

    @Anvilcloud: it's a lot of fun, but was so cold.

    @Eileen: thank you!

    @DJan: it was a blast.

  18. @Padre: thank you!

    @Jennifer: the summer version seems slightly daft too!

    @RedPat: it is a lot of hard work.

    @Barbara: emphasis on crazy Canadians.

    @Sharon: it was fun and cold.

    @Red: it's a good addition to Winterlude.

    @Carol: and it was such a cold day.

    @Marie: that it is.

    @Tamago: thank you!

    @Michelle: it was.

    @Bill: thank you!

  19. I think your title says it all.

  20. I think I'd like to give it a try. Looks like fun.

  21. Amazing sport. Seeing it for the 1st time. Must be fun!

  22. A great and fun sport is something to look forward to or to participate in the winter.

  23. That is scary!
    All I can think about is how the vibrations might be scoring/perforating the ice.

  24. Crazy but a lot of fun 😊 super shots William.

  25. That looks totally crazy but I'd love to see it in person!

  26. @Revrunner: by way of China.

    @Kay: it felt fitting.

    @Happyone: the participants certainly seemed to enjoy it.

    @Joanne: I think the only person who can be described as a passenger is the person with the drum, and even they're working.

    @Magiceye: it is a hell of a thing to see in person.

    @MB: very much so.

    @Nancy: that's true.

    @Maywyn: the ice, fortunately, is thick.

    @Grace: thank you!

    @Jeanie: I enjoyed it.

  27. Interesting! I have never seen this, I did take part in a dragon boat race on the water once!