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Ready, set, Restart the Gorge! Saanich paddling club hosts first race in a year

Sunday, Aug. 15 club event open to paddlers of all small boats and boards
Paddlers race in the Gorge Waterway during a previous competition. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Canoe and Kayak Club)

Inspired by Canada’s phenomenal Olympic rowers and paddlers? Why not enter to race on the Gorge Waterway this Sunday with the Victoria Canoe and Kayak Club.

On Aug. 15 the club is hosting a day of races from the clubhouse to the Craigflower Bridge to celebrate being back on the water. Paddlers in kayaks, marathon canoes, single or double outrigger canoes, on stand-up paddle boards or surf-skis are welcome.

Normally the club hosts a Wake Up the Gorge race in April, but it was deferred for obvious (pandemic) reasons. They saw their window of opportunity with Phase 3 of B.C.’s Restart Plan and named the race accordingly.

There are two 9.5-kilometre competitive races, one for singles and one for doubles, and a recreational 3.5-km race.

All proceeds – the club is charging $20 for the competitive races and $10 for the recreational race – will benefit the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, a non-profit organization that serves as a meeting place and community connection for Indigenous people on the South Island.

“We really believe in what they’re doing, and because we live on Indigenous lands, it is appropriate for us to do something that benefits Indigenous people broadly,” said Peter Elson, who directs the club’s marathon canoe program.

The Victoria Canoe and Kayak Club is based at 355 Gorge Rd. W. Races are at noon, 2 and 3:30 p.m. Register online and find more information at

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