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    (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    15-year-old Logan Findlay was on the water for the 13-km race. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    The river was filled with kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards - the 13-km race had more than 70 participants. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    Brian Jones, one of about 30 participants in the 1st Annual Upper Ottawa River Kayak Fishing Derby, was the lucky grand prize winner of this 12-foot kayak. Johnston & Mackie Limited Representatives Donna Roggie and Kelly Simon helped present it to him. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)



More than 200 take part in Upper Ottawa River Race and Paddle Festival

Community News

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday, August 18, 2016

More than 200 people hit the water for the 2nd Annual Upper Ottawa River Race and Paddle Festival, far exceeding organizers’ expectations.

“For a second year event, I am blown away by how fast the growth was,” said Petawawa Program Coordinator Colin Coyle.

The three-day event began on Aug. 5 with the Reel Paddling Film Festival at Riverside Park in Pembroke, inspired by the sport of paddling and the world’s waterways. Festivities continued with a Paddle Camp Jam and campfire. Over the next two days, there was the 1st Annual Upper Ottawa River Kayak Fishing Derby at the Petawawa Point, kids’ races, relays, bouncy castles, live music, vendors, Stand Up Paddle Yoga, Aerial Yoga and Yoga on the Beach, demonstrations and classes. Sunday also featured the popular 3rd Annual Stand Up for CHEO Fundraiser and a newly added Heritage Paddle, which showcased the most interesting spots on the Ottawa and Dumoine Rivers.

“It’s actually easier to say what is not happening,” said Coyle. “... There is a lot of people participating.”

He added the weekend was planned so that even non-paddlers could enjoy some of the activities.

Saturday’s 4-km and 13-km races, however, were the event’s crowning attraction.

Avid paddler Logan Findlay, 15, competed in the 13 km paddle, but was just as excited to see all the additional activities.

“With the film festival and the race today, it is super fun, a really good activity,” the Fitzroy Harbour resident said.

As it was a competition, there were several prizes awarded for the fastest paddle, but most people preferred to compete against themselves, working to beat their own personal best. As such, there was a huge sense of togetherness amongst the competitors.

That aspect was Julie Carmalt’s favourite part. She travelled from Ithaca, NY to attend.

“It is a zen-like experience, full of camaraderie,” said Carmalt. “There is that solo component when you are by yourself just trying to find your cadence in paddling and there is a social component as well. You are trying to beat the ones beside you, but at the same time you are saying hello, and making sure everybody is ok.”

Once more the family-friendly festival was a joint venture between the Town of Petawawa and the City of Pembroke, with staff and volunteers from both municipalities working to turn their shared waterway into a paddler’s dream.

“We can’t ask for anything better,” Coyle added. “We have a river with the wind on your back as you paddle. It is a beautiful, scenic paddle as you go along if you can take your eye off the prize.”

All those who participated at the Aug. 6 races received a carved Maori Fishhook created by carver Brent Beck - a symbol of safe passage on the water.

“He did them all by hand,” said Coyle. “He was so great to work with.”

Full details and more information can be found on the event website at www.upperottawariverrace.ca.