April 10, 2016
177 canoes lined up in St. Andrew’s West on a cold, but sunny Sunday morning. Over 300 paddlers anxiously waited for the gun to go off to signal the start of the 44th annual Raisin River Canoe Race. The race, takes paddlers through Martintown and on to Williamstown: a total distance of over 28 kilometers.
A few weeks ago, it was looking like the race would miss the peak flows the paddlers like for fast conditions, but organizers got an odd hand-out from Mother Nature. “The snow storm last week was a blessing in disguise,” noted Phil Barnes, assistant race co-ordinator. “Combined with the light drizzle, the fresh snow melt, raised the water levels of the Raisin River almost a meter.” Race day conditions saw flows of 18,000 Litres per second; more than double that of last year’s race.
The fastest time down the river belonged to the tandem of Harold Walker and Pierre Brault, from the Ottawa region. Their time was 2 hours, 32 minutes and 5 seconds. The pair were the runners up last year. The better conditions helping them shave nearly 15 minutes off their previous effort. In the high school category, Char Lan and La Citadelle tied for the most number of participants.
“We can’t thank our sponsors and support staff enough,” chimed Lissa Deslandes, co-organizer. “We’re very happy to have Emard Brothers Lumber and Goodman Air Conditioning and Heating as our title sponsor this year.” It really takes the community to put on such a high calibre event. This was evident with the volunteer fire services, OPP police and auxiliary, St. John Ambulance and the ARES radio support group. “We had a great awards banquet at the end, with lots of prizes donated or paid for by local businesses.”
Preliminary results are available at the Raisin Region Conservation Authority’s website at http://www.rrca.on.ca.