150 Days Until Canoe Niagara – Launch Party

The World is Coming! Today flags were unfurled and the official countdown began at Welland Civic Square. In 150 days the official competition begins for the 2013 International Canoe Federation (ICF) Junior and Under 23 Canoe Sprint World Championships – Canoe Niagara 2013.

Mayor Barry Sharpe welcomed those who came out to kick-off the Count-down Celebrations saying, “As our community prepares to welcome the world, we are thrilled to see more volunteers joining the Canoe Niagara 2013 Team, our youth getting involved, and tremendously excited to the pageantry surrounding this first major World Championship on our waterway begin.”

The fastest young paddlers in the world are coming to Welland this coming August 1-4 from over 65 countries – many of them setting their sights on both the 2015 Pan Am Games Canoe Sprint competitions here in Welland and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

This World Championships will not only be the qualifying event for Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games in China, Canoe Niagara will make history in the sport of Canoe Kayak Sprint by being the first World Championships to include an Under 23 age category. It is also the first time that Ontario has ever hosted a World Championship in the sport of Canoe Sprint.

Elly Müller, Chief Official for Canoe Niagara and member of the ICF, enthusiastically explained the importance of these Championships, “This has been a wish from the countries overseas to have the Under 23 category included outside of Europe. There was a large gap between the Junior and Senior categories, and now athletes can continue to work and train as they advance in their athletic careers.”

With more than 1900 athletes, team leaders, coaches, delegates and officials, this World Championships is slated to be the largest canoe sprint World Championships ever hosted. Many of these athletes and their delegation will be arriving weeks prior to the event to test the waters and acclimate themselves to the facilities.

“This represents a fantastic opportunity to showcase Welland’s recreational waterways and flatwater treasure to the world. Niagara is well known for our sports tourism and has a long pedigree of flatwater sport excellence. I’m confident the event will be an outstanding success,” said Regional Chair Gary Burroughs.

The pomp and pageantry will continue to escalate as the countdown continues. The ribbon cutting for the Welland International Flatwater Centre will be a key ingredient in creating a truly spectacular World Championships. With a completion date of June 2013, the new WIFC will be one of the World’s premier flatwater competition centres.

The Host Organizing Committee, has brought together a leadership team that consists of local talent and paddling experts who have literally moved to Welland from across Canada and England, and have been hard at work building the plan that will deliver an extraordinary championship, with fair and exciting competition, a celebration of all we have to offer.

One of those moving here in the months preceding the competition is Frank Garner, Chair of Canoe Niagara and Chairman of the ICF Canoe Sprint Committee, specifically to help the organizing committee prepare for the competition. Frank is looking forward to bringing one of the major ICF events to Welland. “We’re very excited as this is the first time combining the Junior and Under 23 competitions. An additional benefit is that these Championships are the qualifier for the Youth Olympic Games being hosted by Nanjing, China.”

Frank further explains that the expectations of the 70 countries that will be descending upon Welland and Niagara from around the world is very high and will leave a huge economic impact.

It is people, the community, and their personal touch that makes the difference while showcasing Welland, Niagara and the Province as a hosting destination. Everyone’s support in delivering this World Championships is a critical cornerstone to its success and also testament to their vision and commitment to sport tourism.

This event has many official events planned – and admission to all four days of the World Championships and Shoreline Festival will be free!

Key Dates

MondayJuly 1Pre-Competition training begins for
teams arriving early
FridayJuly 26WIFC becomes fully operational for
Canoe Niagara
MondayJuly 29-31Official practice begins Wednesday
July 31 Opening Ceremonies
Thursday August 1 Day 1World Championships & Shoreline
ThursdayAugust 1Evening Concert in conjunction with
FridayAugust 2 Day 2World Championships & Shoreline
FridayAugust 2Evening Concert in conjunction with
SaturdayAugust 3 Day 3World Championships & Shoreline
SaturdayAugust 3 WarCanoe Challenge Day #1
SundayAugust 4 Day 4World Championships & Shoreline