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    The theme for the festival was “Hawaiian” and people were invited to dress up - Roxanne Whittingham wears a grass skirt proudly and impresses her children Jack, 7, and Finley, 2, with her outfit. (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    Tom Delanjski is one of the first people on the water. He travelled from Timmins, Ont. to take part in the race. (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    The 13-km race began at Petawawa Point and saw hundreds of paddlers of all types make their way down the river. (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)



Upper Ottawa River Race and Paddle Festival celebrates local waterways

By Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post

Posted on Thursday September 5, 2019

The Upper Ottawa River Race and Paddle Festival drew people to the area’s crown jewel: its waterways.

In its fifth year, the event attracts hundreds of paddlers from across the region and internationally, all of whom were eager to paddle the world-renowned Ottawa River.

This year, the three-day festival kicked off on Aug. 9 with Reel, Kayaks and Real Heroes, kayak and Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) clinics and live entertainment on the beach. The next day was race day, which saw a kayak fishing derby and a day of races. People could choose to race 44 km from the Deep River Yacht Club or stick to the traditional 13 and four km races that started at the Petawawa Point beach and Riverside Park in Pembroke respectively. On Sunday, the Raise your Paddle fundraiser and the third annual Heritage Paddle were combined into one event. When not on the water, visitors enjoyed music, vendors, SUP yoga, clinics and various kids’ activities.

Many of the events started in Petawawa and finished in Pembroke, explained Petawawa Community Services Director Kelly Williams, due to the partnership between the City of Pembroke and the Town of Petawawa and made possible through the generous donations of many local businesses.

It began as an economic development initiative to draw people to the area and have them experience what there is to offer.

“We hang our tourism hat in Renfrew County on our wonderful natural amenities and the hundreds of outdoor activities you can participate in,” said Williams. “We are fortunate to be along the banks of the Ottawa River and paddling is something we are known for.”

The numbers for the races and the fishing derby climbed again this year.

“I think people are becoming more aware and the paddlers are letting others know,” said Williams.

The races were competitive, though many participated simply for the joy of being on the water.

Race results will be posted at www.upperottawariverrace.ca/race-results.

Photos from the day will also be posted online at www.facebook.com/upperottawariverrace.