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War canoe races highlight weekend Canada 150 festivities in Victoria

First Nations traditions spotlighted on a sunny Sunday
Members of the Geronimo team from the Tsartlip Nation paddle to the start/finish line in the Inner Harbour before a traditional war canoe race Sunday. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Tourists, locals and supporters got a glimpse of a traditional First Nations competition Sunday, as war canoe teams from various local nations did battle on the water in the Inner Harbour and Gorge Waterway.

As part of Victoria’s Canada 150 celebrations, teams from the Songhees and Esquimalt nations, Tsartlip, Tsawout and Cowichan Tribes paddled in the Buckskins 11, women’s and men’s races, the last of which saw the boats head four kilometres up the waterway and back again. The boats finished to a throng of cheers from onlookers gathered high atop the Ship Point pier.

Also on Sunday, First Nations singers, drummers and dancers performed on stage nearby, while the evening’s featured entertainment was a series of head-to-head electronic music showdowns.

For a full schedule of Canada 150 events and activities leading up to and including Canada Day July 1, visit