Canoe and kayak race to return for first time since 2017

Paddlers take to the Sydenham River for the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority canoe and kayak race. Submitted photo.

The Sydenham River Canoe and Kayak Race is set to make a long awaited comeback this Sunday.

St. Clair Region Conservation Authority Manager of Communications Donna Blue said it’s the first time they’ve hosted the event since 2017.

“Obviously in 2020 and 2021 it was cancelled due to the pandemic,” said Blue. “But, prior to that in 2018 and 2019, we had to cancel it because of elevated water levels, as well as flooding at the start and end locations.”

Blue said the race has been pretty popular in the past.

“Typically it can range between 60 and 100 participants. Weather, obviously, plays a big part in that. But, we have some participants who are already registered for the race who are coming from as far as the Toronto area. So, it does draw in people from outside of our direct area.”

Participants are asked to bring their own canoe or kayak and other gear.

“Life jackets are required on the water, as well as other safety gear; bailer, whistle, and rope.”

The race features 11 classes and three different race lengths to appeal to both competitive and recreational paddlers.

“We have trophies for all of the first place participants in each of the classes and the second and third place winners receive a ribbon. We also have an award for the top fundraiser, because this is a fundraiser for our conservation education program.”

While online registration has ended, Blue said residents can still participate.

“Knowing people like to register the day of, we still are definitely accepting registrations on Sunday morning. That will occur between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. at the starting location.”

The cost is $10 to participate.

The race starts at Mosside Road, just west of Country Road 79.

A shuttle service will be available from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. between the start and finish line at the Shetland Conservation Area, located on Lambton County Road 2.

More details can be found here.