The word is out and official, as the Raisin Region Conservation Authority announced tonight that the Martintown Dam will be closed to all participants in Sunday's canoe race, and paddlers will be required to portage.
The water level is exceptionally high and will create challenges in other areas of the course as well, with the starting point expected to be moved downstream from its usual spot at St. Andrew's Catholic School. Participants are asked to check in at the school before race time and will be advised where they will be starting.
Here's the official announcement from the RRCA:
We are confirming the Martintown dam will be closed to paddlers for tomorrow's race. Please don't let this keep you from cheering paddlers in the beautiful historic town of Martintown as paddlers will need your cheers to encourage them as they portage. The location of the start of the race will be announced in the morning after "Devil's Chute" downstream of Lefebvre Bridge is assessed. This area and McIntre Rapids are going to prove the most difficult for paddlers.
It's also worth noting that the river has spilled its banks in many locations, creating "lake-like situations" in along the river course, including upstream of the dam in Martintown, where canoes and kayaks will be portaging. Below Martintown there's another "lake."
Downstream of MacGillivray's Bridge (Summerstown Road) the river water has receded somewhat, after having spilled onto CR17 following rain this week. Nonetheless, the river remains fast and wide too.
In the finishing area in Williamstown, the river is turbulent and will likely create a challenge for some paddlers to beach their boats.