Raisin River Canoe Race celebrates 50 years

RRCA canoe race

THE COUNTIES, Ontario - The Raisin Region Conservation Authority (RRCA) is anticipating a record-breaking number of paddlers during the upcoming 50th anniversary Raisin River Canoe Race being held on Saturday, April 15.  

“We already have 313 paddlers pre-registered so far,” said Canoe Race Coordinator, Lissa Deslandes. “If the trend continues, this could be our biggest race ever!” 

The first Raisin River Canoe Race was held in 1973 and has since become an immensely popular rite of spring for both residents and visitors to the area. One of the longest canoe races in eastern Ontario, the race attracts hundreds of participants, who paddle through a 30-km racecourse from St. Andrews West in South Stormont to Williamstown in South Glengarry while being cheered on by enthusiastic shoreline supporters. A notable change this year is that the race will be taking place on a Saturday, instead of the usual Sunday. 

“We’re expecting great weather conditions for the race,” said Deslandes, while also cautioning that conditions can sometimes change quickly. The racecourse’s final water level and flow conditions will be shared via the RRCA’s social media channels in the early morning on race day. 

“Thanks to our dedicated safety crew, volunteers, community partners, and local business sponsors, we should have a thrilling, safe and successful 50th anniversary race," said Deslandes. 

Prior to the race’s start at 10:30 a.m., paddlers and spectators can fuel up for the day with a hearty breakfast served by the Knights of Columbus from 7 to 11 a.m. at the St. Andrews Parish Hall, just across the street from the start line at St. Andrews Catholic School. A chili dinner will be served by volunteers from St. Mary’s Community Centre from 1 to 6 p.m. at the Char-Lan Recreation Centre near the race’s Williamstown finish line. The race’s awards ceremony will take place at 4:30 p.m. at the centre.   

For paddlers looking to participate in this year’s race, a pre-registration link is available until April 12 at 11:59 p.m. on the RRCA’s website at rrca.on.ca. In-person registration on race day may be available from 9 a.m. on a first-come first-served basis, cash only, at St. Andrews Catholic School near the start line. 

The public is encouraged to check the RRCA’s social media channels and website for additional event details and announcements. For more information visit rrca.on.ca or contact (613) 938-3611 or info@rrca.on.ca.