RRCA Hosts Record-breaking 50th Anniversary Raisin River Canoe Race

April 15, 2023

Hudson Mcdonald of Martintown and Gill Mcdonald of Williamstown smile after successfully shooting the Martintown Dam.

The 50th anniversary edition of the Raisin Region Conservation Authority’s (RRCA) Raisin River Canoe Race on April 15 saw the largest turnout on record, with 485 paddlers of all ages in 290 boats participating in the immensely popular springtime event.  

“We’re just blown away by the sheer number of paddlers from near and far who participated in today’s historic race,” says RRCA Board of Directors Chair, Martin Lang. “We also had the special privilege of being joined at the start line by several veteran canoeists from years past, including Bruno Major, who took part in the first Raisin River Canoe Race in 1973.” 

While the past races have been known to include flurries and frigid weather, this year’s paddlers were treated to sunshine and a balmy temperature which reached 24 degrees Celsius.  

This spring’s warm weather caused the river’s water levels to peak a week before the race, giving paddlers the extra challenge of jostling down slightly lower levels as they navigated the scenic 30-kilometre course from St. Andrews in South Stormont to Williamstown in South Glengarry. The slower flows of 630 cubic feet per second permitted the safe opening of the Martindown Dam, where plucky paddlers shot through a narrow opening, drawing gasps and cheers from the assembled crowd. 

“We couldn’t have asked for a better race,” says RRCA Race Coordinator, Lissa Deslandes. “The Raisin River Canoe Race holds a special place in the hearts of both residents and visitors to the region. It’s RRCA’s biggest annual event, and it really serves as a celebration of our area’s watersheds. We’re so grateful for the support from local organizations, sponsors, partners, and our safety committee and volunteers who have helped us coordinate this race throughout the decades.” 

The fastest time down the Raisin River was the Pro Boat Tandem of Mike De Abreu and Ryan Stepka in a time of 2:21:04.  

Full interim results are available at rrca.on.ca/results

Other top finishers by category, where applicable, were: 

  • Pro Canoe, Male: Seb Courville, Oliver Mcmillan, Conor Abrahams, Tom Kingdon 
  • Pro Canoe, Mixed: Sarah Lessard, Jeffrey Defeo, Pierre Lavictoire, Thina Pham, Eric Jones, Amy Thornton 
  • 17 Foot Open, Male: Harold Walker, Stephen Walker, Tom Stead, Bob Vincent, Jordan Brault, Scott Brault 
  • 17 Foot Open, Mixed: Don Stoneman, Julie Edwards, Connor Algie, Jessica Van Winden, Dylan Rollo, Tanya Robertson 
  • Double Kaya, Male: Francois Grondin, Stephane Grondin 
  • Double Kayak, Female: Wendy Bray Van Loon, Morgan Santerre, Olivia Mcdonald, Anna Parks, Laurine Eddy, Ashley Lalonde 
  • Double Kayak, Mixed: Bonnie Thornbury, Brendan Mccardle, Pat Alguire, Amy Alguire, Cheryl Mcgregor, Wendel Carrothers 
  • Recreational Canoe, Male: Anik Levac, Ian Levac, Emanuel Lauzon, Alex Wertwyn, Jean Paul Claude, Yvon Ranger 
  • Recreational Canoe, Female: Anna Katsaras, Sarantia Katsaras, Emilie Derochie, Emma Bacchiochi, Marion Mcdonell, Joanna Tessier 
  • Recreational Canoe, Mixed: Joanna Faloon, Ed Joy, Simon Dessureault, Karine Blanchette, Madelaine Oeggerli, Michael Oeggerli 
  • Long Kayak, Male: Jeff Brainard, Richard Germain, Zachary Zwanenburg, 
  • Long Kayak, Female: Jennifer Guibord, Dena Kaplan, Tammy Tripp, 
  • Single Pro Canoe, Male: Corey Van Loon 
  • Single Recreational Canoe, Male: Max Finkelstein, Paul Terry, Colin Lathe 
  • Short Kayak, Male: Ian Walter, Denis Lefebvre, Rick Clancy 
  • Short Kayak, Female: Christine Balderson, Lynn Macnab, Chantal Tranchemontagne, 
  • Student Short Kayak, Male: Eric Baron, Rory Mckinnon, Samuel Vanegas, 
  • Stand-up Paddle, Male: Simon Mayer, Jean-Francois Hinse, Rob Samulack 

For more information, please go to
rrca.on.ca or contact (613) 938-3611 or info@rrca.on.ca.