CanoeKayak Canada was formed in 1900. Organized canoe racing had been on-going for half a century, and Canoe stands as Canada’s oldest organized sport. At that time, canoes and kayaks were an inexpensive way for the average person to enjoy the recreational benefits of paddling on Canada’s lakes and rivers. In summertime, many communities would rally around their canoe clubs for their annual ‘regatta day’ and the thrill of the climactic one mile war canoe race. Early canoe regattas in Canada were known to have attracted more than 40,000 Spectators!
Since Francis Amyot took the inaugural Gold medal in Men’s Canoe Singles in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, CanoeKayak Athletes have consistently taken the maple leaf to the podium at World, and Olympic competition. In particular, the gold medal performance in Athens of van Koeverden in the Men’s K-1 500 meter coupled with his bronze medal performance in the Men’s K-1 1000 meter distance were Canadian highlights of the 2004 Olympic Games. At the London 2012 Olympic Games, CanoeKayak was one of two top performing sports to produce three medals including a silver by Adam van Koeverden, a bronze by Mark Oldershaw and another bronze by Mark de Jonge in the new Olympic distance of 200 metres.
Paddlers race canoes and kayaks in Singles (K1, C1), Tandems (K2, C2), and Fours(K4, IC4) though generally an athlete will specialize in either canoe or kayak. Race distances for Canada Games are 200, 500, 1000 and 2000 metres. The flat-water course is divided into lanes by a grid of buoys, straight, and usually on a lake, or a river with little current.
Organizationally, CanoeKayak is a club based sport and relies heavily on local clubs and coaches to help develop athletes for competition. Clubs from Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia have traditionally dominated the sport, and recent years have seen strong competitors developing in Western Canada. Dragonboat, Marathon and outrigger are all contributors to the organization’s success, and are leading factors in the current growth of the sport. CanoeKayak Canada prides itself in being a Canadian sport for families, communities and champions.
Internationally, CanoeKayak has long been one of Canada’s top-performing sports. Since the mid 1990’s it has ascended to the highest rankings, and Canada is now a top 5 country on the international scene. Such athletes as 8-time World Champion, Caroline Brunet of Quebec, Steve Giles of Nova Scotia, Thomas Hall of Quebec, and Canada Games Alumni, Adam van Koeverden (Canada Games Alumni) of Ontario, have become well recognized names in Canadian sport, and have helped lead the way towards the top of the medal podium.