As announced Friday, March 23, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia will host the 2022 Canoe Sprint World Championships, known as Canoe '22, on beautiful Lake Banook.
Dartmouth has twice before been home to the Senior World Championships, first in 1997 and most recently in 2009. In 1989, Dartmouth also hosted the Junior World Championships.
Dartmouth’s own Andrew Russell, a double Olympic finalist in C2 500m and 1000m, competed in Canoe ’09 and is excited that his hometown has won the bid for 2022.
“It was an incredible honour to race for Canada on my home lake. Lake Banook has been a special place for me since I was a young boy, and it was my main training centre when I was on the national and Olympic team for Canada,” says Russell.
Dartmouth’s Lake Banook is known as one of the best natural flatwater racecourses in the world. Most sprint canoe and kayak venues are artificial, such as Montreal’s Olympic Basin.
Lake Banook is home to three canoe clubs; Banook, Mic Mac and Senobe. The oldest of the three, Banook Canoe Club was founded in 1903. Micmac Amateur Aquatic Club was established in 1923. Senobe Aquatic Club was formed in 1965.
There is a centuries-old tradition of canoe racing in the Dartmouth area. The oldest known recorded canoe race on Halifax Harbour, featuring Mi’kmaq competitors, was in 1826.
Andrew Russell emphasizes that Lake Banook “boasts an amazing support network and community of loyal volunteers, officials, fans, and past and present athletes that love the sport.”
Lake Banook, according to Russell, “has been tremendously important to both the local, national, and international canoe kayak community, and consistently hosts local regattas, national championships, team trials, and international regattas, not to mention being host site to three wonderful clubs. Holistically, it is a very important location to the sport, and we’ve seen a truly awesome mix of paddlers out there just having fun mixed with Olympic medalists and everyone in between.”
“Having an international competition in the province is a great boost for tourism,” says Martin Jones, Chairman of Canoe '97. “One of the main benefits of hosting a World Championship is that it provides course upgrades and new equipment that supports the next generation of young canoers and kayakers.”
Sprint canoe and kayak fans will have several options for watching the elite-level racing on Lake Banook in 2022 including the beloved ‘sea-wall’ (a boardwalk that stretches nearly the entire length of the 1000m race course), grassy Silver’s Hill or temporary grandstand seating.
As a festival involving more than purely flatwater canoe and kayak racing, Canoe '22 will feature concerts, food trucks and cultural demonstrations. The event will showcase Dartmouth’s rich paddling heritage and will serve as a showcase of Mi’kmaw canoe-building and culture.
The 2022 Canoe Sprint World Championships, Canoe '22, is a unique opportunity to share Lake Banook, the crown jewel of Dartmouth, with the world.
David Jones is an archaeologist and historian from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Thursdays at Noon, David Jones has a weekly thirty minute history segment on The Rick Howe Show, NEWS 95.7. David Jones thoroughly enjoyed Canoe '97 and Canoe '09 as a spectator and volunteer and looks forward to Canoe '22.