• ../../../images/Article_pics/August2017/august24/paddlefestival/images/donsheppard.jpg

    The races invited all sorts of watercrafts from canoes to Stand Up Paddle Boards. Don Sheppard used a kayak. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    $10,000 has been raised the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario through Paddle for CHEO and the Celebrity Paddle for CHEO. Both events were held on Aug. 13. It is the first year that the Upper Ottawa River Race and Paddle Festival has taken this event under its wing as it was formally part of a series of three events called Stand Up For CHEO that took place in Ottawa, Kingston and Petawawa. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    Several hundreds of people came out to watch or participate in the Upper Ottawa River Race and Paddle Festival. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

  • ../../../images/Article_pics/August2017/august24/paddlefestival/images/kidspaddle.jpg

    Kids, as well as adults, were invited to partake in the Upper Ottawa River Race and Paddle Festival. Leif Coyle hits the water on the Stand Up Paddle Board. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    Bevin Schmidt gets ready for his paddle down to Riverside Beach in Pembroke. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    On Aug. 12, the Upper Ottawa River Race and Paddle Festival launched from Petawawa Point. Participants had the choice between a 13km race and a 4 km circuit. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

  • ../../../images/Article_pics/August2017/august24/paddlefestival/images/races02.jpg

    On Aug. 12, the Upper Ottawa River Race and Paddle Festival launched from Petawawa Point. Participants had the choice between a 13km race and a 4 km circuit. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    Reel, Kayaks and Real Heroes is the newest addition to the Upper Ottawa River Race and Paddle Festival on Aug. 11. Dave Fowler comes back to shore after several hours on the water. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    The Celebrity Paddle for CHEO had five teams compete to see who could navigate the best. Winning by a scant foot or two was the SRB Technologies team. It was composed of Courtney Sinclair, Mary-Ann Demers and Christina Kutschke. They also raised the most in donations at $2,500. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)


 

 


Another successful year for Upper Ottawa River Race and Paddle Festival

By: Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday August 24, 2017


Hundreds of participants made a splash at the Upper Ottawa River Race and Paddle Festival.

Now in its third year, the festival has grown, with more events and more people taking to the water than ever before.

There were several last minute registrations, despite the threat of storms, for a total of about 300 paddlers. Many of them were not only return participants, but some travelled from the United States and all over the province to attend.

“We are about 20 per cent more (people) than last year,” said Kelly Williams, Town of Petawawa Manager of Parks and Recreation.

Though there were a variety of different activities during the three-day festival, the bulk of the activity occurred on Aug. 12. In fact, the 4 km and 13 km races brought in most of the paddlers. The Paddle for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), a Film Festival, fishing derby, heritage paddle, clinics, demonstrations, and children’s activities also attracted their share of people, however.

Notably, paddling for children was free as this was a way of introducing them to the sport.

“Part of this is showcasing the beautiful river that we have in Pembroke and Petawawa and the other part is getting people into the sport of paddling,” said Heather McConnell, Economic Development Officer for the City of Pembroke.

The number of participants has grown year to year and so has the sponsorship from local businesses.

According to McConnell, people are becoming more aware of the river and what it can offer, which is a good thing for the region.

The Reel, Kayaks and Real Heroes was also a new event this year. It introduced ill and injured military members and veterans to the sport of kayak fishing.

It was an idea that came up last year when organizers were talking about ways to help out those in the area.

“We recognize that we are a military community and we saw the festival as a way to give back,” said Williams.

It was an activity made possible through Petawawa, Pembroke Soldier On, Kayak Anglers Association of the Outaouais and the Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre (PMFRC).

“Kayak fishing, by its very essence, provides a lot of therapeutic benefits,” said Williams.

As always, the festival had a philanthropic side to it.

$10,000 was raised from Sunday’s Paddle for CHEO and Celebrity Paddle for CHEO. Both events saw people descend on Petawawa Point with their SUPs, donations at the ready. With 50 paddlers in total, that amounted to an average of $200 per paddler raised for an amazing cause. It is the first year that Petawawa has organized the event, as it was previously a series of paddles in Ottawa, Kingston, as well as locally. After raising about $113,000 over seven years, the founders stepped down and allowed Petawawa to take over.

“Petawawa was always the crown jewel of our event,” said original co-founder Duncan Keith.

The sentiment was shared by many attendees as well as the organizers, who wanted to shine the spotlight on the beauty of the area. The event itself really serves two purposes, said Williams; it’s an opportunity for local residents to have a festival that centres around outdoor recreation, and it is an event that is designed to bring people into Renfrew County.

“And who knows?” he said. “Maybe they’ll come again.”

For results on the races, please visit upperottawariverrace.ca.