Ottawa, February  5, 2024 – For the second year in a row the BeaverTails Ottawa Ice Dragon Boat Festival has been forced to cancel the races that were planned for February 9 and 10 on the Rideau Canal Skateway at Dow’s Lake, due to poor ice conditions. This heartbreaking news comes as the festival was set to host the 2nd IIDBF World Club Crew Ice Dragon Boat Championships with competitors from Pakistan, Netherlands, United States and Canada. The races were scheduled to welcome over 1600 participants representing 80 teams, with 65% of participants traveling to Ottawa from around the world. These outdoor enthusiasts were set to brave the cold and travel an average distance of 440 km to Ottawa, for a total combined distance of 270,013 km, for this truly unique Canadian winter sport experience.

In what was meant to be the return to in-person competition following two years of cancellation (in 2021 and 2022) due to the COVID-19 global pandemic and a cancellation in 2023 when the canal did not open for the first time in its history. Organizers and participants were elated when the green flag was finally raised, opening the canal on January 21, only to have their collective excitement be replaced by nervous angst when the red flag signaled the closing of the canal just a few short days later on January 24. Since then organizers and participants alike have waited in anticipation of news that unfortunately would never come. As of Monday, February 5, the Rideau Canal Skateway remains closed with the red flag indicating ice conditions are poor and unsafe preventing the set up of the event and the races themselves. In spite of the best efforts of the team at the National Capital Commision (NCC), Mother Nature has other plans as the unseasonably warm weather has once again forced the event’s cancellation.

Organizers exhausted all efforts to hold the races at an alternate location or reschedule due to the unique size requirements of the race course combined with the weather forecast. Participants who registered for the BeaverTails Ottawa Ice Dragon Boat Festival races will receive a full refund.

The BeaverTails Ottawa Ice Dragon Boat Festival’s popular free indoor concert series “Live @ The Rainbow” presented by Scotiabank, which began with capacity crowds and spectacular performances by Aysanabee, JJ Wilde and OMBIGIIZI, will continue throughout the 46th Annual Winterlude with performances still to come from Born Ruffians, Dizzy, Elliot BROOD, Sloan’s Chris Murphy, Joel Plaskett and many more!

The Foundation will continue its ODBF Shiver ’N Giver Fundraising Drive in support of local partner charities, Lotus Centre for Special Music Education, Ottawa Therapy Dogs, and Tim Hortons Foundation Camps (Camp des Voyageurs). Donations can be made in support of the organization’s charitable efforts at ODBF.CA.