Bathtub Races Are A Canadian Thing, Too! - Refresh Financial

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Bathtub Races Are A Canadian Thing, Too!

Nanaimo Bathtub races
Image by Waledro

Canada is known for a lot of things. Wintery cold and maple syrup, hockey and poutine, politeness and ending everything with, “eh?”. We apologize, we love to curl, and our bacon is round. When you think of Canada, you think of a lot of strange quirks, different food and odd sports… sports like racing bathtubs. Indeed, Canada is home to the original bathtub race, which is held in Nanaimo, British Columbia every year in July.

Back in the 60s, Nanaimo was looking for a way to put its gorgeous city on the map. Just in time for Canada’s 100th anniversary, the original Nanaimo to Vancouver Great International World Championship Bathtub Race was born. 1967 was the first race in what is now nicknamed the “Hub, pub and tub City” and bathtubs have been racing in Nanaimo ever since.

Across Canada, new versions of the bathtub race have popped up in the decades since that inaugural race in 1967. Some of them are land races, where entrants put wheels on their tubs and ride the course. Others, like the original, are bathtub boat races, where tubs are converted into boats and raced on water. Whether they race on land or sea, bathtub races seem to have caught on across this great country of ours. Here are more tub races you may not have known about:

Summerland, British Columbia - Lake Okanagan is a mecca for watersports, so it’s no surprise a tub race popped up there. Every year in August, the Great Ogopogo bathtub race sets out from Powell Beach in Summerland, hits 3 points in Okanagan Lake, and turns back to Powell again. In total, the course is 40 kilometres. There is also a supplemental “just for fun” race that goes only about 3 kilometres. You can see more about the Ogopogo Bathtub Race here:

Sunderland, Ontario - The annual Maple Syrup Festival is a big attraction in this small Ontario town, and along with tons of other sticky, syrupy events, there is a bathtub race. In Sunderland though, they add wheels and race down the road instead. It’s held in April each year and draws quite the crowd. Check it out here:

Fort Frances, Ontario - During the Fort Frances Canada Day festivities, there is another bathtub boat race. While they held it for the last several years, there is no mention of it this year, so I guess you’ll just have to go to find out. Here are some shots of previous years:

Huntsville, Ontario - Each year in Huntsville, Ontario, the Rotary Dockfest plays host to a battle of the tubs out on the town’s beautiful waterfront. Held in early July, this bathtub race includes obstacles. You can check out more about this event here:

Whether you’re in B.C. or Ontario, or just travelling the Great White North this summer, we think you should get out and watch some tub races! We want to know if you know of any other Canadian bathtub races. Let us know in the comments. Happy racing!

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