Penticton's War Canoes & Regatta part of this year's Peachfest

Penticton’s War Canoes & Regatta Heritage to be a part of this Year’s Peachfest

The Penticton Museum & Archives is pleased to announce the 2nd annual Ogopogo War Canoe Regatta as part of its ongoing Steamfest celebrations. The war canoe regatta was first held last year to commemorate earlier regattas and to showcase the museum’s collection of two restored war canoes. 

Regattas have long history

Penticton has a long history of hosting regatta events. Along with other communities around the lake, the summer was time for aquatic sports and festivities. From the early 1990’s lakeside communities such as Kelowna, Summerland, Peachland and Penticton organized a variety of regatta events, celebrating their status as waterfront communities. 

One of the most popular events was the war canoe races. The war canoes were a hybrid design incorporating features of the large sea-faring canoes of the west coast and the wood-strip canoes of eastern Canada. Their large size, up to 30 feet long, meant that teams of up to 15 could participate.  The museums two war canoes were restored in 2014 by volunteers and school groups.

From 1905 to 1914 war canoe races were  part of regatta events. Male and female crews would compete for the prestigious Robinson Cup. The First World War halted regatta activities until the men returned from Europe. The races were held intermittently for the next 80 years or so. However, all that is about to change. “Thanks to the great work done in restoring these canoes last year, we now have the opportunity to revive the war canoe racing tradition here in Penticton. We are very excited to have the canoe races as part of this year’s Peachfest, as the two events really complement each other” says Dennis Oomen, Manager of the Penticton Museum & Archives.

The War Canoe event will be coordinated by Lyndie Hill of Hoodoo Adventures. “We are very excited to be a part of the 2nd annual SteamFest Regatta and had an absolute blast last year not only coordinating the event but competing in it.  The war canoes are such a great team experience, I can see this event growing to host teams of all kinds from all around the region to come and compete for the cup.  If you want to join us in the fun this year we will also have a dozen kayaks available for kids to race, SUP boards available, a BBQ fundraiser and more. You can register online at steamfest.ca .”  says Hill.

The races will begin at 2:00 pm on Saturday, August 8th, on the lakefront opposite Lakawana Park. If you would like to register a team for war canoe racing,the registration link is: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/steamfest-paddle-regatta-tickets-17787819848  

 Penticton Men’s War Canoe team, 1934-1937