This weekend will be making a big splash.
The Great Canadian Kayak Challenge and Festival is set to take over the Mattagami River and Participark with kayak races, concerts and family fun. Manager of Tourism Guy Lamarche says this year the water levels on the river are low, exposing some of the dead-heads which are causing some concerns for the races and water shows. “One such dead-head is directly south of the bridge and just east of the river’s centre line,” Lamarche states. “We will do our best tomorrow to put a buoy there alerting the participants that there is a bit of a hazard in the middle of the river.”
Tourism Timmins says to celebrate the 10th annual event, this weekend is going to be jam-packed with activities including the Moose FM No Kayak Grand Prix on Friday, kayak races all day Saturday, live performances, water ski shows, vendor market and kid inflatables. The organization says the admissions and shows are free to all this weekend so everyone can end their summer on a high note.
Lamarche says for the races, there are over 75 paddlers registered. “I expect the next few days to be busy with many more registrations coming in.” Paddler ages this year range from 2-years-old to 73-years-young. Lamarche says to date, 58 per cent of the registrations came from Timmins and the other 42 per cent is from tourism markets including Sudbury, Kingston, Blind River and Prince George BC.
Throughout the weekend public access from the boat launch and Mattagami River Beach will be restricted. Tourism Timmins says both will be closed to the general public from 8:00am to 6:00pm for the races. The river from the Mattagami Bridge to Eacom will be closed to all boaters from 9:00pm to 10:00pm Saturday for the firework show.
Lamarche says parking at the event will be limited. He says there will be two parking lots at the bottom of Commercial Avenue, the Mountjoy Arena and Archie Dillon Sportsplex. There will be on-street parking where available in the residential area as well. Lamarche says this year you will have to pay a donation to park at the Game-On/Timberland Ford parking lot. He says a cash donation will help support a winter rink project as well as Project Love. There will be accessibility parking available to those with the proper stickers at Participark directly in front of the washroom building.
Tourism Timmins says where possible it is encouraging people to use public transit. Manager Lamarche says there will be a free shuttle service to the grounds covering three routes. “Canadian Tire, Timmins Square and Cedar Meadows to the festival on the half hour, Porcupine Mall, Royal Canadian Legion and MacIntyre Arena to the festival on the hour and Delvillano Park, Confed to Archie Dillon then the festival on the half hour.”
Tourism Timmins is also extending the registration deadline for the Kayak Challenge until 4:00pm on Friday. Lamarche says this allows some last minute participants a little more time to register.
This year’s festival kicks off at 4:00pm on Friday and runs through until Sunday. Click here for a full event schedule.