The 30th Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival (the Festival), organized by the Toronto Chinese Business Association, was held on the Centre Island in Toronto on June 16 and 17. The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Toronto (HKETO) is a special sponsor of the event.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Director of HKETO, Miss Kathy Chan, said that dragon boating as a sports competition originated from Hong Kong, and we are glad to see that dragon boat racing has developed roots in Canada. “Back in 1976, the Hong Kong Tourist Association at that time launched the first ever international dragon boat race in Hong Kong. Hong Kong introduced dragon boat sports competition to Canada at the 1986 World Expo held in Vancouver. Since then, dragon boat race festivals have become popular events in cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary and Montreal,” Miss Chan said.
Miss Chan noted that HKETO has been sponsoring dragon boat racing in different cities across Canada. “At the same time, we know many Canadian dragon boat teams have gone to Hong Kong to participate in our annual Dragon Boat Carnival. It shows the strong and close ties between Hong Kong and Canada,” Miss Chan added.
The Festival this year has attracted around 150 teams with over 5 000 athletes from all parts of the world to compete in the races. HKETO has set up a pavilion where visitors can learn more about the history of dragon boating and also take pictures against some beautiful images of Hong Kong. In addition, the Hong Kong Cup was presented to the winning team at the event.