The ICF World Canoe and Para-canoe World Championships on Lake Banook concluded on Sunday. A massive crowd was on hand to watch the athletes compete in the scorching heat.
“We built a framework,” said event organizer Jill D’Alessio. “We wanted the community to come out and share and take part in these amazing races.”
D’Alessio added that the community support helped make this championship event a major success.
“We had somewhere between 500 and 600 volunteers,” said D’Alessio. “We had to close down volunteer registration for people to join because we did not have enough space.”
More than 1000 athletes from 70 countries competed in the five-day competition.
Jacy Grant, 19, from Fall River, N.S., came fifth in the 1000-metre canoe race.
“It just feels surreal to be here,” said Grant, who has raced on Lake Banook for many years. “To be on this level in the same place, it just feels amazing.”
According to D’Alessio, Lake Banook is one of the best paddling venues in the world.
“This is one of the only natural courses in the world,” said D’Alessio. “It’s important for all of our international athletes to see that they can come here and do that and have a successful international event on a natural course.”
This was the third time Lake Banook hosted a world championship. Previous events were held in 1997 and 2009.
“And the legacy pieces are infrastructure, institutional knowledge and inspiring young athletes,” said D’Alessio. “To see it, to believe it, to be it. And that’s what we are seeing this weekend.”
Beyond the fans of the competition, the ICF World Canoe and Para-canoe World Championships also provided an opportunity to generate revenue and exposure for many local businesses.
“A great opportunity to show what we can do to a really big number of people,” said pizza restaurant owner Andrew Lockyer, who added that he served thousands of customers over five days who came to cheer on some of the best athletes in the world.
Previous world championship canoe events in Dartmouth drew roughly 10,000 people per day on average. Event organizers do not have the data for this year’s attendance yet but they do expect the ICF World Canoe and Para-canoe World Championships attracted more fans than any other previous world championship at Lake Banook.
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