Annual Great White North Dragon Boat Challenge

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By A Correspondent

Few things can rival the power of team sports in uniting people to achieve a common goal. Add water to the mix and you create a new, exciting and exhilarating team-building activity.

Dragon boat racing is the fastest growing water sport in the world. Helping to drive that expansion in North America is Great White North (GWN) Dragon Boat, the continent’s largest, full-service dragon boat racing company.

Each year, GWN produces more than 40 dragon boat events which raise millions of dollars for community and charitable partners. GWN offers start-to-finish event management services, corporate team-building experiences, social marketing initiatives, premier training camps, and equipment sales and leases.

Put simply, GWN is the one-stop shop for all things dragon boat. Our expertise is unequaled and our commitment to quality is unmatched.

The GWN Dragon Boat Challenge, presented by CIBC, was held (Sep 6 – 7) on the Western Beaches Watercourse at Marilyn Bell Park in downtown Toronto. This world class venue has been a host to a number of elite dragon boat competitions like the 2006 IDBF World Club Crew Championships, 2008 Dragon Boat Canada National Championships and the 2011 ICF Club Crew Dragon Boat World Championships.


In 1994, GWN took the challenge of developing this event into an annual large scale fundraising event for Canadian charities. The Great White North Dragon Boat Challenge presented by CIBC continues to grow both in scope and funds raised.

To date, this event has raised over $1,000,000 for Canadian charities which includes Children's Wish Foundation, Canadian Living Foundation, Breakfast for Learning, Canadian Spinal Research Organization, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Variety Club, the Children's Charity and Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Entering its 18th year, attracting thousands of elite and recreational athletes, the GWN Dragon Boat Challenge Presented by CIBC is highly regarded as one of North America's premier dragon boat racing events.


The GWN Dragon Boat Challenge presented by CIBC is the 6th stop of the Major League Dragon Boat Series and the marquee season-ending festival in Canada for dragon boat enthusiasts. In its 20th year, the Challenge is the perfect festival for corporate and club crews wanting to have a last blast before the end of summer.

What began as the 9-1-1 Challenge (a race organized by the Toronto Police Services with a modest 5 teams made up of emergency services members) has transformed into an all-out festival infusing the thrill of the dragon boat racing with an outdoor family friendly event. Participation in the annual event has blossomed through its charitable donations, with over $1.25M donated to non-profit organizations such as the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, our 2015 charity-of-choice.

Today, the Challenge continues to celebrate the sport, attracting dragon boat teams to Toronto's waterfront from all over North America and overseas. Teams range from novice to competitive skill level and represent local corporations and clubs, public agencies, non-profit organizations and the community at large.

In addition to the exciting dragon boat racing, the festival features many fun activities: the Rock the Boat Concert Stage with live musical performances, the Lake of Bays Beer Garden, a children's activity zone with live entertainment, a health and wellness area, plus a variety of food, arts & crafts, and other vendors. 


CIBC team captured the coveted Bankers Cup championship on September 7, 2014 during ‘GWN Dragon Boat Challenge’


Vol. 12 - No. 3


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