Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival 101

The Canadian International Dragon Boat is a festival held during June each year on the waters and shores of False Creek in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

More than 250 crews from around the world gather to compete. This festival began as a tradition of Expo 86, where the Chinese Canadian community in Vancouver celebrated the annual Chinese Duanwu festival, which is the summer solstice.

The Dragon Boat Festival intends to instigate Chinese sport and culture. At the same time, to become a meeting place and promote culture, respect, and diversity among people from different parts of the world.

International Gastronomy

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Since 1988, the gastronomy that can be enjoyed during this festival is very varied and delicious. This festival has managed to position itself and become one of the favourites of the families in Vancouver. You can also enjoy competitions and dragon boat races. Exhibitions and cultural displays are present to support accessible activities and programs.

The Beginnings of the Festival

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In 1986 the first festival was held. But since 1984, the committee organizers travelled to Hong Kong several times to find out how they could import the dragon boats. Several companies in Hong Kong were encouraged by the idea and decided to finance the festival. They managed to import six boats that were exhibited in the Marine Plaza Zone.

This was the first major Chinese festival held in North America, so several community leaders sponsored it.

First Races

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The first races were held on the Cambie Street Bridge. At first, about 18 boats competed. By 1990, the number increased to 100. By 2000, more than 160 boats were competing. Today, more than 200 boats are competing. The racing circuit depends on the tidal currents. 

There is no doubt that this festival, from the beginning, has not stopped growing. Every year more and more people from different parts of the world get together to compete, taste varied cuisines, and make new friends.

Vancouver is the perfect setting for festivals that support cultural diversity and differences to take place. If you are a lover of Chinese culture or simply want to expand your horizons, this festival is perfect for you.