Ice canoeing, it’s a family affair
On Saturday, March 2nd will be held the 7th edition of the Montreal Ice Canoe Challenge, and for a seventh consecutive year, you will have the opportunity to see the Bota Bota team perform.
It was in 2013 that I had the opportunity to discover this sport, thanks to the organization of the Montreal race, done by none other than my spouse, who decided to pursue a circuit race in Montreal with Heritage Maritime Canada. When I discovered this sport that keeps us all on our toes, I immediately fell in love with these brave people who face the St. Lawrence River in winter, 5 people in a 8.5-meter canoe to fight ice and currents by freezing temperatures. Although more extreme, I could not help but see a parallel with our Nordic bath activities.
Without really knowing what I was embarking on, I decided to offer a young women’s team from the Quebec City area a Bota Bota sponsorship, to support them in their adventure. 6 years later, they have “aged”, they have completed their university studies, started their professional career and are still passionate about ice canoe, participating year after year in the 7 races in the circuit.
Over the years, I have discovered through this sport persevering, courageous and dedicated athletes, as well as a close community that has shown solidarity in great trials over the years. These boaters share their passion, welcoming the youngest with open arms to supervise them safely, and thus perpetuate this ancestral activity that is the ice canoe.
At the beginning of the colony, in the seventeenth century, in the absence of ice bridges, it was sometimes the only way to cross the river during winter between Quebec and Lévis. In Montreal, Quebec City or île-aux-coudres, professional boaters transported people, goods and mail, until the arrival of steamboats able to cross the ice-fields at the end of the 19th century.
Decades later, the ice canoe came back as a sport, with races organized at various locations on the St. Lawrence River.
I invite you to attend the Montreal Ice Canoe Challenge on March 2, 2019 at noon (departure at 12:30 pm), from the Clock Tower for the complete experience with animation and to come and shout loudly for your favorite team (Bota Bota, canoe 321), or for a quieter and warmer experience from the Bota Bota, in our saunas!