Dragon Boat Racing at TsaiChuan.com

Dragon Boat Racing

In 1986, six boats were donated to the city of Vancouver, Canada for use at Expo 86, the world exposition on transportation, during Hong Kong Day celebrations on central False Creek. The Chinese Cultural Centre Dragon Boat Association (DBA, but initially a committee of the CCC) was therefore formed to put on the first races in Canada to use authentic dragon boats as the Chinese community's centennial project.

Mason Hung of the HKTA and currently IDBF Senior Vice President (2008) travelled to Vancouver in 1985 to advise the CCC race committee on organizing the inaugural competition, as he had been instrumental in developing the HK International DB Races (IDBR) throughout the 1980s.

In 1996 the first IDBF Club Crew World Championships was convened in Vancouver, on the 10th anniversary of the introduction of dragon boat racing to Canada. Ten years later in 2006, Toronto hosted the 5th IDBF Club Crew World Championships on the 20th anniversary year of dragon boating in Canada. Some of Vancouver's and Toronto's dragon boat volunteers were instrumental in helping to establish the 'first generation' of Canadian festivals that had the support of the local Chinese business communities: in Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria, Kelowna, Ottawa, Montreal, London and Kingston.

But even as early as 1945, Canada was "infected" with a mild case of "dragon fever". The Vancouver Sun newspaper dated 10 October 1945 (10th day of the 10th month) contains a story and picture of a dragon-adorned silver plaque presented to the Mayor of Vancouver by representatives of the republican government of China immediately following cessation of hostilities of World War II in the Pacific. The news story explains that because Vancouver was the North American gateway to Asia, it could be considered as the ideal city to host the first dragon boat race outside of Asia. The proposed post war dragon boat festival was compared to the Mardi Gras of New Orleans. Since 1946 was to be the Diamond Jubilee (60th Anniversary) of the city, it was suggested that a dragon boat festival be convened to mark this occasion. However, this would have to wait until the city's 100th anniversary in 1986 and the world transportation exposition.

In 1992, the (final) British Governor of Hong Kong, Christopher Patton, presented a teak dragon boat to the Canadian Prime Minister of the day, Brian Mulroney, to mark the close cultural, social and business ties between Hong Kong and Canada. This craft is now part of the permanent collection of the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull Quebec. Canada reciprocated by presenting a carved cedar totem pole crafted by British Columbia First Nations (aboriginal) members. This symbol of friendship is displayed in a park in Hong Kong.

Several of the larger dragon boat events outside Asia include the Vancouver International Dragon Boat Festival (a.k.a. Rio Tinto and Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival), British Columbia province; Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival, Ontario province; and the National Capital Dragon Boat Race Festival Ottawa, Ontario province. These three Canadian festivals each feature some 200 crews and all are held on weekends close to the June Summer Solstice, in keeping with traditional Chinese dragon boat traditions.