Ice Canoe Racing…Only in Canada

ice canoeing montreal canoe
Image via Simon Lebrun

Hundreds of years ago when the trading of dead animal furs was kind of a big deal in the area surrounding the St. Lawrence Seaway, the second oldest Canadian sport (behind hockey) was invented… Ice Canoe Racing.

This purely Canadian competition traces back to the 17th century when the only means to cross the Saint Lawrence River during the winter months was via a specially-designed canoe capably of being hauled over icefloes and bumping into the icy filled waterway.  With the advent of steamships however, this type of boat was no longer needed for transportation, but hundreds of active canoers decided they would continue the tradition and began organizing races to keep the tradition alive.

120 years since the first race, ice canoes are still racing and are faster than ever. The 28’ foot boats are manned by five men or women depending on the class and make their way through fast moving ice and onto frozen banks to reach the finish line using techniques seen nowhere else. Over 40 teams battle for the honours of the Ice Cup over a season of races in different locations along the Saint Lawrence which makes it a sport followed by tens of thousands.

The following is a preview of the Bota Bota Montreal ice canoe challenge:

For the first time in the history of ice canoeing, the Montreal race organization will be broadcasting the event live on the internet. Five cameras will cover the race while one of the teams will be broadcasting from onboard one the boats. Fans and extreme sport enthusiasts will be able to watch the race live on February 22nd at 12:45 PM by following this link.