High water levels and warm sunshine greeted the 195 entries in the Raisin River Canoe Race today. Among the changes for the 2017 race, the start line was moved 5 km downstream, and portaging was required in Martintown – both for safety reasons.
As always, your dedicated Glengarry county information source, The Glengarry News, was there covering the event, with two reporters/photographers. We will have photos, results, and more in the next edition of the newspaper.
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.
With rains this week, the water level is very high on the Raisin River, which on Sunday will feature the 45th annual canoe and kayak race.
Updating the story we have for you in The Glengarry News this week, Lissa Deslandes of the Raisin Region Conservation Authority (organizers of the race), confirms that the race is on.
The matter of allowing participants to shoot the dam in Martintown, however, is pending, as conditions are currently too dangerous to allow it. Should the water level be as high on Sunday, paddlers will be prevented from going over the dam and instead forced to portage around it. A final decision will be made by the safety crew on race morning. You can check out some photos of current conditions on the RRCA canoe race Facebook page here.
Online registration is closed. Entries are accepted on race day, however, starting at 8:30 a.m. If you are inclined to fill out the registration form out ahead of time, it can be accessed here. Waivers can be signed when you pick up your canoe race number at the registration table, at St. Andrew's Catholic School, which is also the race start point.
No further canoe rentals are available.
Paddlers and the general public might be interested in the pre-race breakfast, available for $6 at St. Andrew's Parish, available from 8 a.m. onwards.
The awards banquet will be held at the Char-Lan Rec. Centre in Williamstown, with entertainment and a spaghetti supper on tap.
Each finisher of the race receives a medal. Check out the special edition medals available this year:
The annual Raisin River Canoe Race is scheduled for Sunday, April 9, and we have some details in this Sports in the Glens post. We will have everything you need to know to participate in or take in the event as a spectator in our next edition of The Glengarry News.
Parts of the Raisin River still have ice cover, so it's probably a really good thing that the Raisin River Conservation Authority bumped the annual canoe race from today to April 9.
We will have the details to get you ready for this spring rite of passage in The Glengarry News this week.
If you can't wait, here's a link to the RRCA website, with online registration available until April 5.