The Welland Recreational Canal Corporation, in partnership with Dragon Boat Canada (DBC) and the South Niagara Canoe Club (SNCC), received funding to purchase dragon boats for permanent use at the Welland International Flatwater Centre (WIFC) from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario. The $123,800 grant provides the necessary base funding to acquire both large (20 person) and small (10 person) international standard dragon boats.
“I commend the hard work of the WRCC in obtaining Trillium funding for its investment in new Dragon Boats in cooperation with the South Niagara Canoe Club and Dragon Boat Canada. This is a welcome addition to the Flat Water Centre, a Pan Am Games Venue. Dragon Boat racing is growing in popularity and helping many groups in fundraising efforts in our community," said Cindy Forster, Welland MPP.
The WIFC annually attracts multiple events, in multiple sports, to Welland's Recreational Waterway and Flatwater Centre. The thirty (30) additional dragon boats will present a key hosting asset in ensuring the success of the WIFC as well as the dragon boat events and position Welland well for attracting future events, broadening the WIFC's hosting capabilities. The hosting of Dragon Boat Niagara 2015, a combination of the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) World Dragon Boat Racing Championships and the Pan American Club Crew Dragon Boat Championships taking place in Welland, is expected to attract more than 5,000 participants, and will greatly benefit from this investment.
“Dragon Boat Canada is thrilled with the endless benefits this funding will bring," expressed Chloe Greenhalgh, Executive Director of Dragon Boat Canada. “Ontario Trillium Foundation's support will have a rippling effect in the dragon boat racing community in Canada, from competitive crews at the national level to local clubs, and will certainly leave an event hosting legacy for Welland."
The fleet of dragon boats will also enhance community partnerships and allow for the dragon boat community to flourish with event cost savings on a go forward basis. With an expected life span of 20 years or more, this acquisition is a long term investment in both the sport and the flatwater centre.
“The Ontario Trillium Foundation grant positions Welland extremely well in securing national level dragon boat events and training for the next decade," stated Stephen Fischer, Welland Recreational Canal Corporation Executive Director.
The next dragon boat competition, hosted in partnership with Dragon Boat Canada, at the Welland International Flatwater Centre North Course will be the Canadian National Dragon Boat Championships in June 2015 which will see some 2,000 athletes participate here in Welland.