The Ottawa Ice Dragon Boat Festival will look a little different this year without the usual frenzy of activity coming from the Rideau Canal.
Because of the ongoing pandemic, the dragon boat races have been cancelled, but its companion events will continue. Presented by BeaverTails, its programming will be available for free viewing on its website and YouTube channel from now through Feb. 21. A festival representative told Samaritan that sports challenge Shiver 'n Giver is the main charitable event in this year's festival, while most of their other funding comes through individual donations.
The Ottawa Ice Dragon Boat Festival is a part of the city’s annual Winterlude event which celebrates winter. Winterlude was started in 1979, but only added the Ottawa Ice Dragon Boat Festival in recent years.
According to the Ottawa Dragon Boat Foundation (ODBF) — whose mission is “to help build, strengthen and enhance community life in Ottawa by raising, managing and distributing funds to charitable organizations” — they have raised over $4 million dollars in support of 58 local initiatives.
In 2021, ODBF will be supporting a raft of organizations including Plenty Canada, Helping With Furniture, Ottawa Riverkeeper, The Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa, OrKidstra, The Caring & Sharing Exchange, The Hearing Foundation of Canada, Ottawa Gatineau Youth Foundation, Breast Cancer Action and Bruyere Foundation.
Shiver ‘n Giver presents an online sports challenge where participants skate, snowshoe, walk or run from anywhere in the world. The end goal is a distance travelled of 21km throughout the 16-day duration of the festival. There is a $50 dollar registration fee, then the participants help raise money by getting friends, family, colleagues and neighbours to sponsor them. Each contestant has their own donation page.
The festival will also continue to support local visual artists. Bill Geno of Pilot Projects Woodworking will show off his woodworking artistic techniques and creations. As well, the debut of the artistic collection “We’re All in the Same Boat” features work from Corrine Blouin, Emilie Darlington, Jimmy Baptise, and Nick Glynn.