If you missing the excitement of the Raisin River Canoe Race this year, following its cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers have created a virtual experience and invite you to participate in the county tradition.
The challenge is to be creative and take a photo of yourself in a canoe or kayak somewhere within the Raisin River watershed. The image file can then be submitted to the Raisin Region Conservation Authority via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
A special medal, which features a built-in bottle opener, is available to the first 300 entrants.
Your medal can be picked up in person Monday to Friday at Gray’s Creek Marina (marina store), where you will need to show your canoe race photo to the attendant using your own device. Alternately, for $4, the RRCA will mail it you.
The conservation authority reminds you to exercise safety in the creativity of your photo. “We do not condone or encourage dangerous or careless behaviour.”
As well, submitted images imply permission for “the Raisin Region Conservation Authority to repost or reuse the canoe race photo for promotional purposes.”
Trails on Raisin Region Conservation Authority properties remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic, as users are reminded to follow physical distancing protocols outlined by health officials.
Locations include the Charlottenburg Park, the Cooper Marsh Conservation Area, and the Gray’s Creek Conservation Area. Only nature trails are open to the public; all other facilities are closed. In addition to maintaining physical distancing, people are reminded to avoid touching any common surfaces as they are not sanitized.
COVID-19 concerns have already had an impact upon the RRCA, including the cancellation of the 2020 Raisin River Canoe Race, a staple of the spring sports calendar. As well, all RRCA buildings have been closed to the public. Committee meetings and workshops through March have been cancelled, as was the planned March Break nature camp for kids. The conservation authority is continuing with its flood forecasting work and is hoping that the Gray’s Creek Marina will open as scheduled on April 27, followed by the Charlottenburg Park opening for camping on May 15.
For only the second time since 1973, the Raisin River Canoe Race has been cancelled. The 2020 edition was nixed due to COVID-19 precautions, following the recommendations of health officials.
The annual rite of spring, hosted by the Raisin Region Conservation Authority, typically takes place in April each year, when the spring water flow in the river is at its peak. This year, it had been slated for April 19. The 30 km run from St. Andrews West downstream to Williamstown traditionally sees well over 100 canoes and kayaks involved, with participants coming from across the region. Some paddlers come for the competition, striving for fast times and medals, while the majority are looking to complete the course without getting too wet and cold. Spills are common, especially at points where there are challenging rocks in the river and rapids. As well, the dam in Martintown is a special part of the race, with many paddlers opting to attempt to shoot it successfully, much to the delight of throngs of spectators who gather there to take in the action.
The last (and only other) cancellation, in 2010, was due to very low water conditions.
As of this posting, the RRCA website had not been updated with details, but more information should be available soon, along with online registration.
The race, which is open to canoes and kayaks, traditionally starts in St. Andrew’s West, on the grounds of St. Andrew’s School, running downstream through Martintown to Williamstown, a distance of approximately 30 km.