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VANCOUVER ISLAND
INTERNATIONAL DRAGON BOAT
FESTIVAL ~ 500M
12-13 August 2023

Location: Fairway Gorge Paddling Club, 2940 Jutland Road, Victoria BC

Registration opening September 1, 2022


Location: Fairway Gorge Paddling Club, 2940 Jutland Road, Victoria BC

The Vancouver Island Dragon Boat Festival combines the best that Victoria has to offer – the best race venue, the most-experienced race management team on Vancouver Island, the largest fleet of dragon boats on the island, and a full line-up of entertainment, food, family activities and dragon boat cultural events.

The event’s  unique selection of race formats will challenge recreational and competitive teams alike: 100m knock-downs, traditional 500m heats and a 500-metre FLAG-RELAY CHAMPIONSHIP that will go down in island dragon boat lore as the race to remember. 

Bands? Yes! Food? Yes! Cultural displays? Yes. Plus dancing, shopping and much, much more.

Let’s keep the island’s 2023 momentum going. 

The 2023 VIDBF will entertain, challenge and delight local, regional and visiting teams across competitive and recreational divisions with a number of paddler-centered innovations, including:

  • Competitive and recreational 500m championships with medals for 1st, 2nd and 3rd-place finishes in women’s and mixed platinum, diamond and jade divisions
  • Inaugural medals and trophies
  • Racing on a true 500m race course in Vancouver Island-designed “Millennium” dragon boats, the same race course and the same boats that FGPC is providing for the BC 55+ Games in September
  • 100m Knock-out challenges for both women’s and mixed teams
  • A 500-meter “FLAG-RELAY CHAMPIONSHIP” race to test the mettle of steerspeople, stroke seats, drummers and entire crews as they navigate head-on relays between competing time-matched teams. Each team’s results will reflect their combined and individual performances.
  • Site-wide cultural, entertainment and amenities, including international foods, stage performances and family-oriented amusements
  • Enhanced festival amenities including paddlers’ village 10×10 tents for all teams (as well as paddles and PFDs for athletes without personal equipment) in addition to Canadian Springs water on tap and plenty of parking and washroom facilities
  • Registration Fees (including GST):
    • $1,200 Early Bird until April 15, 2023
    • $1,600 after April 15, 2023
  • Registration is opening soon

We can all win with FGPC’s ‘Make Every Second Count Campaign’ for BC Cancer

Through the Vancouver Island Dragon Boat Race Series’ “Make Every Second Count BC Cancer Campaign”, teams can “add speed” by shaving off one-second from their total time in special championship heats for every $1,000 raised. Click here for more information.


Race Course

Our race course is located on Victoria’s beautiful Gorge waterway, where each year – even through the COVID-19 pandemic – the club enables thousands of people to paddle, race, train and experience dragon boating, outrigger canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and more.

At the Fairway Gorge Paddling Club, we are dedicated to the growth and development of paddle sport races. We have hosted hundreds of events with thousands of individual race experiences over the last 15 years.

Our race management team is hosting five major dragon boat events on Vancouver Island in 2023, including the Vancouver Island Dragon Boat Festival.

Come join us!  We hope to see you soon.


Paddlers’ Village

Just moments away from our world-class race venue, our paddlers’ village features food, entertainment and a convenient area from which to marshall. Directly across from the race venue on Jutland Road (as per the map) we will have team tents set up and available as of 5 pm on Friday August 11, 2023. This is the perfect location to hold warm ups and get your crews race ready.

Our state-of-the art sound system keeps racers informed of the day’s progress, ensuring that staging and race starts are seamlessly smooth.

Food? Yes! Entertainment? Yes! It’s all here.


Race Management

FGPC has a team of more than 50 dedicated staff, coaches and fitness instructors who run programs, races, events and other services for the following operations:

  • Fairway Gorge Paddling Club
  • Selkirk Waterfront Fitness Centre
  • Waterfront Outfitters
  • Vancouver Island Dragon Boat Race Series, with races in Victoria, Nanaimo and Comox. 

We have produced hundreds of festivals since our inception in 2014 with more than 100,000 race starts. If you’ve seen a dragon boat festival anywhere on Vancouver Island, it’s likely we’ve produced it. 


Carnation Ceremony

There will be a carnation ceremony during the break on Saturday, as listed in the event schedule on the event page. 

There will be carnations (donated by a 3rd party, so we have no specific control over the colour of the flowers beyond our request) distributed at the info tent by donation (funds will go to the BC Cancer Foundation) along with remarks and music from the main stage followed by attendees throwing their carnations into the water over the promenade after a moment of silence. Coordinators will also attempt to invite participants to form a paddlers arch immediately after the moment of silence as cancer survivor paddlers make their way under the arch first to launch their carnations over the promenade. 


Waterfront Outfitters

Looking for a competitive advantage, either in racing or training? You’ll probably want to visit our retail store, Waterfront Outfitters. All of our gear – and we have hundreds of items – are staff-tested and club approved. Our store, located at 2940 Jutland Road, is full of paddling gear, life jackets, paddles, lights, clothing and other goods for those who love being on the water.

We also have gifts, jewelry and other products for sale – perfect for anyone looking for an ocean-themed gift. Our gear is used by our coaches and paddlers, and ready for the rigors of our sport.


Amenities

Although we think dragon boat racing at our race venue is the ultimate spectator sport, there are plenty of activities your family and friends may want to consider while you’re ripping up the race course.

The Fairway Gorge Paddling Club is located right next to the Selkirk Trestle, which is part of the gorgeous Galloping Goose cycling/pedestrian network. Trail-goers can walk or ride a little over two kilometres from our race site to the heart of downtown Victoria, to enjoy all it has to offer, from stunning scenery, amazing food, to whale watching tours and much, much more.

Greater Victoria’s Galloping Goose and Lochside Regional Trails are an excellent option for enjoying the great outdoors. This well maintained network of trails, which is part of the Trans-Canada Trail system, extends from Swartz Bay at the top of the Saanich Peninsula just north of Sidney through downtown Victoria and then east out to Sooke, together covering 88 kilometres (54.6 miles), mostly running through beautiful west coast scenery.

Friends and supporters may also consider hopping aboard Victoria’s amazing harbour ferry network (Victoria Harbour Ferries is a sponsor of our events!), to travel in style and cormfort to downtown, historic Chinatown, Fishermen’s wharf or elsewhere in the harbour network. https://map.victoriaharbourferry.com/


Sponsors and Community

The Fairway Gorge Paddling Club is dedicated to safety, quality and the highest standards of professionalism. We are dedicated to supporting dragon boating and supporting paddlers throughout Vancouver Island, our province, our country and beyond. That’s why we’re so happy to introduce in 2023 the new Vancouver Island Dragon Boat Festival. 

FGPC has a deep commitment to the paddling community throughout Canada, with paddlers and paddling teams visiting the club from not only Greater Victoria, but British Columbia, Alberta, elsewhere in Canada, the USA and further abroad. The organization has raised thousands of dollars for cancer treatment and research, and has hosted online COVID-compliant outrigger paddling events in 2021 that attracted participants from across Canada, the U.S., the UK, Australia and New Zealand. 

Dragon boating is an inclusive sport, and FGPC is proud to have coached and supported youth and senior teams, and teams associated with cancer survivors, multiple sclerosis and vision impairment. FGPC also adapted many of its programs to be safe and relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic, improving the quality of life through access to sport for many athletes. 

FGPC’s race management division has hosted hundreds of regattas involving thousands of paddlers since 2014, with dozens of annual local events in our local waters, as well as regattas in Nanaimo, Victoria, Cowichan, Comox and elsewhere.

We gratefully acknowledge our many club sponsors, who are as committed as we are to enhancing our communities.

Please click here for a complete listing of our sponsors and community supports.