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Tim Horton’s Dragon Boat Festival – Ottawa June 2013

Tim Horton’s Dragon Boat Festival – Ottawa – Saturday June 22nd


I’m at Mooney’s Bay Park again today for the full course of dragon boat racing. The team that my wife is on, the CFUW – Ottawa Dragonauts, survived their participation in the special Friday night races and were all there in time for their photo session with their team-mate and photographer Lois Siegel. Since I got to park the car and just had to find the farthest away parking spot that I could, by the time that I arrived on the grounds the ladies were back at their tent discussing strategy, etc. for their Saturday heats. Lois, meanwhile was busy photographing the team next door – CBC Radio. Rain had been forecast but never came down hard enough to be disruptive. Its intermittent nature meant that umbrellas were in vogue among the spectators.

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With time to spare, I went off with my camera to see if I could find anything interesting to photograph before heading down to the beach to watch the races. Wasn’t hard :-).


With close to 200 boat teams, there was always something happening on the water so, similar to what I did for the Friday night blog, what follows is a series of snapshots of some of the teams that passed by my point on the beach (not necessarily in order of race heats).  There were two sets of boats in use, so it wasn’t always easy to tell which team was which especially if their t-shirts happened to be blue or black.


RON_3783-DragonboatAs was the case the night before, some of the crew were taking a more leisurely approach to get to the start line and, of course, while some stopped to look at the race, others took a moment to look at the gathering throngs on the shoreline.





The rain began to fall in earnest at one point and that meant that umbrellas had to be opened.  For obvious reasons, the folks in the dragon boats in the midst of full-out racing didn’t get to have umbrellas though some might have been concerned about the effect of the rain on their hairdos. :-).





In addition to what was going on out on the water, there was always something of interest happening on the docks or along the beach.  Whenever the media/VIP boat came up to the dock, I would watch to see how much photo equipment was going aboard and, of course, whenever the rains started, and the boat returned to the dock with dampened passengers, I felt a bit smug as I stood on dry land under the protection of a nice poncho.



For those photographers who stayed onshore, the problem was a bit different.  How does one hold up a large camera with a telephoto lens while keeping dry on the end of a dock under a large umbrella?

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I just hoped that the weather seals on my Nikon would keep the innards dry during the short periods of showers but others chose to bring out the full camera rain gear – usually if I try that, the rain stops before I get the camera covered :-).


I really have no idea what this boat’s drummer might have been saying at this point in time but “Now class, …” does enter my mind.


In a similar light-hearted vein, I can only guess what the drummer of this other boat might have been thinking when an unattended paddle handle came across her line of sight.


The organizers did an admirable job of keeping the heats on schedule even though, from time to time, they had to worry about various other waterway traffic causing a wake or wandering into the race area.

RON_3834-Fancy-boatAs I was taking shots of the various boats and crew passing my spot, some children were playing in my area.  Then I heard, “Look, there’s your mother, now –  the one in pink.” Definitely easier to spot someone wearing a different color of life jacket.



The one person on shore who seemed to take no notice of the weather conditions was the individual calling out the information of the upcoming heats. Dressed in his town crier outfit, he seemed to never miss a beat.

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After all of that waiting, I heard him announce the 11AM race with the CFUW- Dragonauts in lane 1.   A fellow beside me was happy, too.  I think that he said that he was cheering for someone on the lime green team in Lane 2 in the same heat. Of course, that led to a bit of friendly banter about which boat would be quickest :-).

RON_3854-Dragon-boatThe CFUW-Ottawa Dragonauts had one of the larger spectator contingents for their first heat and they were cheered vigorously as they passed by on their way to the starting line. They get a few more photos in my blog because I’m a bit biased :-).






A bit of a rest as they watch the boats in the heat ahead of them race by in the opposite direction.


Once the boats reached the start line, they all got into position without too much trouble and the start was fine. The pirate boat might have caused a distraction but didn’t have anything to do with what would happen about a minute or so later!!!


Up ahead, boats in lanes 2 & 3 swerved to avoid each other and ended up encroaching on Lane 1. Happily, the Dragonauts had room to maneuver past the congestion and, in the last 100 meters, they were able to keep their pace up and came in ahead of another boat – not a first place finish but ….



Beat them by a dragon head whisker!!!


Plenty of things to do and watch while waiting for the next CFUW-Ottawa heat to commence later in the afternoon so, with the heat completed, off I went again to photograph some of the other activities that were taking place.

Volunteers were doing a great job everywhere from directing traffic, to helping folks into and out of the boats, selling raffle tickets and giving directions to the lost or weary. Plenty of volunteers needed to make an event like this a smooth running success and great to have plenty of options for food and entertainment for the competitors and spectators between the heats. Food was on my mind and the sound of music from the main tent was reaching my ears.

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The rain had more or less stopped but it was nice to find a nice dry seat in the main tent where I could watch the world go by while listening to wonderful music and enjoying the other activities on stage. Here are three short iPad video clips of what that was like.

The clowns video clip


Bosco Samuel video clip



Tai Chi sword form video clip

(website: Ottawa Taichie)

Ottawa Tai Chi members demonstrated the Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan form and then the Sword form (video clip above) and then led audience participants through the motions.

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While I was under the canvas of the main tent, the weather outside had improved quite a bit and the various heats continued almost non-stop. Between heats, there was lots of movement along the various viewing locations as spectators cheering on friends and families in one heat would move out and make way for those coming in to do the cheering for the participants of  the next heat. Didn’t take long before I could move to a less obstructed vantage point to watch a few of the heats leading up to the next appearance of the CFUW-Ottawa entry.


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While I was checking out the on-going heats, some of the CFUW-Ottawa Dragonauts had gone over to the tattoo tent and got some decorative work done in preparation for their next heat.


While the ladies were getting all lined up with other competitors in their heat, I was faced with fielding applications for positions on the team :-).

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The CFUW ladies would be in lane 6 for this heat and, although they didn’t get their lucky boat from the first heat, it looks like they had a fierce one nontheless. Even the ducks feared this boat :-).




This heat would  be watched carefully from the VIP boat, and it wasn’t too long before the teams were ready at the start line and on their way again trying to beat their previous times.





The ladies maintained their form right to the end of the race and, although they wouldn’t be beating anyone in this heat, they did look like they might be a potential challenger in years to come.


Hi-5’s all around.

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Time to start planning for the next race weekend!


This weekend there were about 200 teams competing in the various heats and the top finishers got to come back on the Sunday to complete for the big prizes.

This is the third of three of our publicly visible blog posts relating to the 2013 version of the Tim Horton’s Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival. Please feel free to leave a comment or pass the links along to others who might be in the pictures or might be interested in seeing what the event was all about.

CFUW- Ottawa – Preparation – Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Opening night – Friday, June 21, 2013

Saturday activities – Saturday, June 20, 2013

Home and About

Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival – Friday night

Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival – Friday night
We were at the Friday night event because my wife was a member of the CFUW-Ottawa team that was one of the top sixteen pledge ($) raisers and as a result they had an opportunity to be part of the Opening Ceremonies and a bonus “race” on the Friday night. After parking my car at the Post Office parking lot and walking over to the Mooney’s Bay Park, the next step was to find their tent location #56. When I got there, they were completing the last minute discussion about paddling positions so I spent a bit of time watching the kids at the adjacent Tim Horton’s Kids Fun Zone.


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The boats themselves were ready for the evening’s challenge and had been newly decked out with their polished dragon heads and the drummer’s drums were safely secured in the bow of the boat.

RON_3765-Dragonboat   RON_3766-Dragonboat-drum

Although I was interested in the CFUW boat and crew, I decided to take a few shots of the other top fund raisers as well. I wasn’t sure who was who out on the water but it was interesting to see how some of the teams dug right in and headed for the start line under a good head of steam while some of the other teams were much more laid back. A couple of the boats even looked like they intended to race each other to the starting line 500 meters away. Here, in no particular order, are some of the “competitors” for this evening’s honorary “race” (two heats of 8 boats in each heat – distance 500 meters).













As the CFUW-Ottawa team headed out they slowed their speed and found time for a wave to the many family members and spectators gathered along the shore line. These ladies were enjoying the moment. The real racing would begin on Saturday :-).


The heat that the CFUW women were in was pretty quick and the fastest boat of the evening was in their heat. Some of those all-male crews were really moving their boats along at a pretty good clip even if this was billed as just an honorary warm up race for the top fund raisers!


As the CFUW-Ottawa team crossed the finish line, drummer Sue gave them the sign to rest and they did just that.



The big races would be on Saturday. Friday was just for fun :-).


Canada Explorer Home and About Ontario Ottawa

CFUW, Ottawa – Dragon Boat Race Preparations

CFUW-Ottawa – Dragonboat Race Preparations


My wife is a member of this year’s entry into the Ottawa Dragonboat Festival weekend events and Wednesday was their last practice day on the water at the Rideau Canoe Club. Since the weather was beautiful and it is unlikely that I will be able to get very close to the actual boats on the day of the races (June 21 -23rd, 2013), I decided to head down to the docks of the canoe club and enjoy the weather, the activity and opportunity to take some relaxed photos of the CFUW-Ottawa group at their final practice session. (Online donations form)


RON_3659-Paddles-and-jacket  RON_3658-Dragonboats

After a short discussion and review of some seating arrangements, the group headed off into the open waters of Mooney’s Bay (Location).  No one got wet during this practice session but, on the day of the races, I expect that more than one of the many participating boats will run afoul of bad steering or rough waters. The weather forecast looks good for the morning races but thundershowers are forecast for later in the day so the afternoon racers might encounter some swirling winds and choppy waters. I’m sure that all of the participants hope that they stay dry!



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For today’s preparations, the participants spent an hour on the water working on timing and final tweaking of technique and making sure that instructions from the bow were fully audible and understood.  In the hectic moments of actual race day, with numerous commands from various boats intermingling with plenty of splashing, there is always the possibility of some misunderstandings 🙂 but on this last day of preparations for the CFUW – Ottawa team everyone arrived back at the dock in good spirits.

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Parking a dragon boat can sometimes be a bit tricky, but as video clip shows, it can be done :-).
Parking a dragon boat

About the festival:

Admission for spectators is FREE to the Tim Horton’s Dragon Boat Festival – Ottawa so the beach of Mooney’s Bay is guaranteed to be well-populated with spectators over the three days of the event. For anyone, who might tire of watching the on-water racing, the organizers have plenty of on-land activities to fill in any spaces in the on-water activities.

CFUW and the race day events (FRIDAY images) (SATURDAY images)

Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival Location

Dragon Boat Festival website

Online donations form

CFUW – Ottawa Website

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Awaiting the unwary. Paddlers beware 🙂

Canada Explorer Ontario Ottawa

Ottawa Race Weekend – Marathon – Sunday May 27th, 2012

Ottawa Race Weekend – Marathon – Sunday May 27th, 2012

It looked like a nice day for a marathon.  Temperature not too hot, light breeze and some cloud cover.  I had decided that I would photograph the participants near to the end of the race so parked near the 35 km mark and began walking against the direction that the runners would be coming. Did a similar thing for the images that I posted of the Rideau Lakes Cycling Tour at the end of the 2011 RLCT event (see 2011 RLCT photos here).


To fill in the time until the first runners arrived, I photographed a few things along my walking route.



I had only walked about a km when the motorcycle arrived to announce that the frontrunners were not far behind. I’m not sure how these runners placed at the finish line since they still had about 8km left to run when they passed my point in the route.

After the first two competitors had passed by with the entourage of support vehicles, there was a short gap before the arrival of the next two runners. I continued to walk along the street against the flow so that the time I needed to wait between shots was lessened.





New York State Ogdensburg USA

Land Battle Re-enactment of French and Indian War at Ogdensburg, NY July 24th, 2011

July 24th, 2011: Land Battle Re-enactment of French and Indian War at Ogdensburg, NY

For this event I have broken the activity into two sections. This post covers the land battle portion. If interested in our other postings of the July 24th, 2011 Ogdensburg water battle re-enactment, please see:

Water Battle Re-enactment of French and Indian War at Ogdensburg, NY July 24th, 2011

This is the third year that Graeme and I have traveled to Ogdensburg, NY to photograph the various re-enactments. Our Previous postings of these events can be found at:
July 2009 – Plains of Abraham re-enactment
July 2010 – 250th anniversary of the French and Indian Wars. (WATER BATTLE)
July 2010 – 250th anniversary of the French and Indian Wars. (LAND BATTLE)

Last year’s event marked the 250th anniversary and was very well attended both by participants and by attendants. This year’s, attendance was somewhat lower but, as the re-enactment began, a good number of spectators found comfortable viewing positions to watch the events unfolding before them.


Saturday night – Gatineau, Quebec Balloon Festival/Festival de Montgolfières de Gatineau 2011

When I left home Saturday, it looked like it might be a perfect night for a balloon launch at the Gatineau Balloon Festival (See my previous post for more Festival details) but, as it turned out, I guess that the organizers had concerns about the weather that I, as a spectator, couldn’t see, so, in the end, I photographed a few things but no balloons lifted off.
There were quite a few people lined up along the Rockliffe Parkway on the Ottawa side of the river and at least one individual had brought along his tripod and heavy artillery LOL.

The scheduled lift-off time was 6PM and as the large dinosaur was inflated and towered over the site, we were hopeful that a launch would take place but, as the sun got ever closer to the horizon and the Gatineau Hills in the background, those hopes diminished.

Europe Italy

Rome – The Colosseum (Amphitheatrum Flavium)

Rome – The Colosseum (Amphitheatrum Flavium)
After the visit to the Vatican, we hopped back into the tour bus, traveled along some ancient Roman roads past old bridges, past many ruins and monuments and arrived safely at the site of the Roman Colosseum. Because of the manner in which modern day Romans park and drive, any trip of almost any distance is exciting if you like that type of excitement 🙂


Canada Explorer Home and About Ontario Ottawa

Sloan – Canada Day in Kanata 2011

Sloan – Canada Day in Kanata
After surviving my trip downtown into the ‘sea of red’, I returned home, had a short rest, enjoyed a nice BBQ meal with friends and then headed over to Walter Baker Park in Kanata where Sloan was performing on the main stage.

The toboggan hill was packed with spectators enjoying the beautiful weather and this year there appeared to be fewer mosquitoes than I remember from other years.

Canada Explorer Home and About Ontario Osgoode

Mediæval Fair at Osgoode, Ontario – 2010

2010 – Another year has passed by and once again Graeme and I find ourselves visiting Osgoode, Ontario to enjoy the jousting, the archery, the dancing and the costumed folks taking a step back in time to the mediæval days of the Kingdom of Osgoode. For more information about the performers visit their respective websites:
The Kingdom of Osgoode:
The Archery:
The King and his entourage:
The knights and their shining armor:
The Musicians:


As in the previous year, there were plenty of different clothing styles and colours to see if you keep your eyes open.

The knights in shining armor are not just there as decorations and participate in some pretty heavy duty and dangerous jousting competitions over the course of the Osgoode event.

For the spectators, there is plenty to see again this year. Music is supplied by the Celtic Sea and dance displays are scheduled throughout the day. Unlike 2009, this year, all of the events are in one locations so walking from one event to the other is much easier.

While the knights in shining armor were preparing for the next jousting contest, I continued to wander around the fair grounds photographing the many scenes.

Back at the jousting grounds, the saddles were still empty but spectators and photographers were beginning to claim their peace of real estate in preparation for the action that was soon to come.

Soon it was time to just sit back and enjoy the action as announcements were made, maidens were honored, some preliminary competitions showing speed, horsemanship and dexterity were out of the way, and then it was on to some heavy duty jousting action.

The jousting poles (lances) were ready. What were we waiting for?

Ah yes, before they lose their heads, each knight must select a young maiden to cheer them on and, of course, it is important to protect that head before trying not to lose it!


When contact is made, the modern day lance is designed to break in a safer manner. Still makes a great sound when lance hits armor and the splinters and parts fly into the air. Maximum points are scored when the opponent is unseated from his horse. This particular day, both riders scored points for serious contact on their opponent’s chest plate but both riders managed to stay aloft.

It was a hot day, and both knights wasted no time getting out of thier armor at the end of th ematch.

Jousting matches were enjoyed by the spectators who soon turned their attention to the other sport – shopping.

Every good Kingdom and just as in the past year, the Kingdom of Osgoode is no different. Always surrounded by beautiful women. Boy, what a royally tough job 🙂

Lots of good times. Hopefully, my travel plans for 2011 will allow me to visit the Kingdom of Osgoode again.

UPDATE: Another two year have passed by and now we have posted our shots from Kingdom of Osgoode 2012.

Canada Explorer Home and About Ontario Osgoode

Mediæval Fair at Osgoode, Ontario – 2009

July 12th, 2009 – My son, Graeme, called me to tell me about the Mediæval Fair at Osgoode, Ontario. Weather was great so out I went. A really good experience. One group were shooting at targets with their long bows and some long pointy things :-).

To learn more about the archery group, check out the website of the Society for Creative Anachronism in Eastern Ontario.

Then there was the location where I met some very interesting people, especially a few who like to get on horses and charge at each other with actual jousting poles called lances :-). Nothing to lose your heads over but definitely a lot less safe than my normal sports.

The spectators were assembled and looking for a bit of action.

Well, there are exceptions to every rule so this young maiden was catching a bit of shut eye and plotting a bit of a murder instead of worrying about a knight or two.

Meanwhile, all of the assistants were gathering around to help out with the mounting while others were planning a rather rough dismounting or two.

Of course, every good jousting event requires an equally talented young maiden to show what she can do and this event was no exception.

And every event needs a bit of banter and this knight was quite capable of announcing the rules, ensuring that the spectators had picked a favourite, and contributing to the overall enjoyment of the day.

The spectators have chosen sides so let the jousting begin. Jousting = two knights with long lances riding at each other mounted upon well trained horses and hoping to be able to dismount their opponent. At this point in the performance the activities became much more serious as these knights were serious about dismounting their opponent.


To the winner the spoils and the applause of the crowd.

Meanwhile, the king and his entourage were out plotting something. They were acting peaceful but one look in their eyes 🙂 and you knew that they were up to no good.
More info about the King and his entourage here:

I won’t give away the end result of all of this Osgoode activity but did enjoy the music of the Celtic Sea.
More info about the group Celtic Sea here:

UPDATE: Years have now passed by and now we have posted our shots from Kingdom of Osgoode 2012.