History of the Festival
The Victoria Dragon Boat Festival began in 1994, as part of the festivities surrounding the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria. In commemoration of Hong Kong Day, the Victoria Chinese Commerce Association arranged for dragon boats to be brought to Victoria from Vancouver for a one-day exhibition race.
The event was a huge success, and quickly blossomed into one of the city’s largest and most popular summer events, drawing up to 80,000 people to the Inner Harbour over three days.
In 2016, the Fairway Gorge Paddling Club (FGPC) assumed operational responsibility for the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival. FGPC works with great community partners to grow our sport and the event. The healthy and successful history of the festival and its committed volunteers provide a strong foundation upon which to build. The Victoria Dragon Boat Festival has provided exciting race opportunities for more than 20 years, along with the invaluable support of its partners in the community, the City of Victoria, the Harbour Master and Harbour Patrol, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, RVYC, RCM-SAR, the Royal Canadian Navy and many others. In addition, local and national sponsors have generously supported the event, and by extension paddling sports in our region. Finally, many individuals have played key roles as volunteers to support the event.
Three years ago, the Festival Society, in partnership with Fairway Markets, established the Fairway Gorge Paddling Club as part of its vision to “bring communities together through dragon boating.” The club was built on this vision and shares it—through dragon boat and outrigger programs, by providing opportunities to race, and by offering excellent programs for youth, schools and the general community. Thanks to careful stewardship and tens of thousands of volunteer hours contributed to the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival since 1994—on the water, on shore and at the board room table—the event and its community partners have created a legacy that FGPC is honoured and eager to nurture over the years to come.
Dragon boating is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. When the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival began in 1994 there wasn’t a single dragon boat team training in Victoria. And now, the Gorge Waterway is full of dragon boats most evenings from February through September. Teams have emerged all over Vancouver Island, including Nanaimo and the Comox Valley, and with our recent purchase of three brand new, locally manufactured Millennium dragon boats, the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival is helping to bring the sport to new areas.
The Victoria Dragon Boat Festival is proud to raise funds for the BC Cancer Foundation.
Bringing Communities Together Through Dragon Boating
Our mission says it all. The Victoria Dragon Boat Festival is committed to bringing people together as individuals, as teams, and as businesses, by sharing our passion – dragon boating.
Companies are discovering that dragon boat training is a great way of building teamwork and community in their offices. New paddlers are discovering a total-body workout that builds friendships and confidence while it builds muscles.
Each year we bring close to 80,000 people together for the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival, a three-day celebration of Asian sports and culture right in the heart of Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Visitors from around Victoria and around the world converge on our Festival to cheer on teams, sample global cuisines, dance to local bands and raise funds for the BC Cancer Foundation.
We are proud of our role in our community, and we strive to help bring people together – as individuals, as teams, as businesses, and as families.
Join us this August and help us bring communities together through dragon boating.