Colene Turley

Colene Turley

Modified & Updated: 08 Oct 2023


The Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival is one of the most anticipated events in Ottawa, Canada. This annual festival brings together participants from all over the world to compete in exciting dragon boat races on the Rideau Canal. With its rich history and festive atmosphere, the festival has become a prominent fixture in the city’s summer calendar.

In this article, we will delve into 19 fascinating facts about the Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival. From the festival’s origins to its impact on the local community, we will explore the various aspects that make this event truly remarkable. So grab a paddle, put on your life jacket, and get ready to dive into the thrilling world of dragon boat racing at the Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival!

Table of Contents

The Origins

The Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival was first held in 1994, making it one of the longest-running dragon boat festivals in North America.

The Location

The festival takes place on the banks of the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, Canada, providing a stunning backdrop for the exhilarating races.

The Largest Dragon Boat Festival

Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival holds the title as the largest dragon boat festival in North America, attracting over 5,000 paddlers each year.

The Racing Distance

The standard racing distance for dragon boat festivals is 200 meters, but at Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival, the races are a challenging 500 meters long.

The Crew Size

A traditional dragon boat crew consists of 20 paddlers, a drummer at the front to set the pace, and a steersperson at the back to guide the boat.

The Charity Component

Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival has a strong commitment to giving back to the community. It partners with local charities and has raised over $4 million to date.

The Festival Weekend

The festival spans over three days, creating a jam-packed weekend filled with pulsating races, live entertainment, delicious food, and family-friendly activities.

The Concert Series

As part of the festival, an impressive lineup of music acts takes the stage, featuring renowned artists from various genres to entertain the crowds.

The Cultural Showcases

Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival embraces multiculturalism by showcasing diverse cultural performances, allowing attendees to experience the richness of different traditions.

The Eye-Catching Dragon Boats

The dragon boats used in the races are adorned with vibrant colors and intricate designs, adding to the visual spectacle of the event.

The Team Spirit

Teamwork and camaraderie are at the heart of the festival, as participants come together to paddle in unison, cheering each other on throughout the exhilarating races.

The Elite Division

Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival attracts top-tier dragon boat teams from around the world to compete in the highly competitive Elite Division.

The Family Fun Zone

A dedicated area for families and children, the Family Fun Zone offers a range of entertaining activities, including face painting, inflatables, and interactive games.

The Food and Beverage Options

The festival boasts a wide array of food vendors, offering everything from local delicacies to international cuisines, ensuring there is something to satisfy every palate.

The Thrilling Night Lantern Ceremony

As the sun sets, participants and spectators gather to witness the enchanting lantern ceremony, illuminating the water with a mesmerizing display of light.

The Accessibility Initiatives

Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival promotes inclusivity and accessibility by providing wheelchair-accessible docks and ensuring an inclusive environment for all attendees.

The Volunteer Spirit

A dedicated team of volunteers plays a vital role in the smooth running of the festival, demonstrating the community’s commitment to making the event a success.

The Community Engagement

Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival actively engages with the local community by organizing workshops, races for breast cancer survivors, and partnerships with schools.

The Unforgettable Memories

Whether you are a participant or a spectator, Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival is guaranteed to create memories that will last a lifetime, fostering a sense of camaraderie and excitement that will leave you wanting more.

In conclusion, Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival is not just a race but a cultural celebration, bringing people together and showcasing the spirit of teamwork and community. With its rich history, stunning location, and commitment to giving back, this festival has solidified its place as a must-attend event for dragon boat enthusiasts and anyone looking for a vibrant and unforgettable experience.


The Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival is an exceptional event that brings together community spirit, competitive sportsmanship, and a celebration of culture. With its rich history and impressive numbers, it has become one of the most anticipated and beloved festivals in Ottawa.Thousands of participants from all walks of life come together to paddle, compete, and cheer on their teams. The festival offers a wide range of activities, from the exhilarating dragon boat races to entertaining musical performances, delicious food vendors, and family-friendly programming.By attending the Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival, you not only get to witness the thrill of the races but also contribute to a worthy cause. The festival is committed to supporting local charities, making a positive impact on the community.Overall, the Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival is a remarkable event that captures the essence of friendship, camaraderie, and team spirit. Whether you’re a participant or a spectator, this festival promises an unforgettable experience for all.


1. When is the Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival held?

The festival is typically held in late June, spanning over four days. It is advisable to check the official website or social media platforms for the exact dates of the upcoming festival.

2. How can I participate in the dragon boat races?

You can form a team with your friends, colleagues, or join an existing team. Registration details and requirements can be found on the festival’s official website.

3. Are there any entry fees for spectators?

No, the festival is free for everyone to attend and enjoy the races, musical performances, and other activities. However, there may be charges for certain food vendors or merchandise.

4. Are there any age restrictions for participation?

No, participants of all ages are welcome to take part in the dragon boat races. However, some categories may have specific age brackets or requirements.

5. How can I support the local charities through the festival?

You can make a donation directly to the festival’s chosen charities or support the fundraising efforts of the participating teams. More information on charity involvement can be found on the festival’s website.

6. Are there any COVID-19 safety measures in place?

Given the current situation, the festival will follow all necessary health and safety protocols as mandated by the local government and health authorities. It is recommended to stay updated on the festival’s website for any specific guidelines.