Friday, 14 March 2014

Toronto Neighbourhood Dragon Boat Challenge Cup

The Rusty Dragons are continuing to promote the participation of local neighbourhood associations in the Canada Day Regatta. The first was in 2013 with the creation of the Harbord Village dragon boat racing team.  This neighbourhood is centred on the area between Bloor and College, and Spadina and Bathurst.  Click HERE for the Harbord Village Residents Association (HVRA) website and HERE for the Rusty Dragons HV team page.

Centre Island - July 1st, 2013 - Harbord Village dragon boat racing team.
Another new team in the works is for the York Quay Neighbourhood Association (YQNA).  Click HERE for their official website, and HERE for the team page.  I attended a YQNA meeting on March 11th which was very informative to me regarding some important issues facing the City of Toronto.  Thank you Ulla and Allan for the invitation.  In this neighbourhood the issues hit really close to home.  They are battling the expansion of the Billy Bishop Airport to include an extended runway and addition of jets. This is a very serious issue that should not be allowed or the noise, traffic congestion, and safety concerns will tarnish our great waterfront and efforts underway to revitalize it.  Check out #NoJetsTO on FaceBook or Twitter.   MPP Rosario Marchese was at the meeting to update us on the issue, answer questions, and also address efforts he is leading to remove the OMB from having jurisdiction over Toronto. The OMB causes huge added expenses for city planners, and taxpayers money at many levels.  We want to allow people to enjoy the waterfront, and forming a dragon boat team from here is one way to enjoy the waterfront and highlight the many uses and values of our waterfront.  I introduced the concept of a team to the participants of that meeting and it was received very well.

The Toronto skyline - as viewed from Centre Island - location of the DDRA Canada Day regatta
There is also the possibility of a team being formed from the Corktown, Bathurst Quay, and Annex neighbourhoods.  If you want help forming a team in your neighbourhood, please don't hesitate to ask.

The teams will compete against each other (for fun) for the Toronto Neighbourhood Dragon Boat Challenge Cup at the 130th annual DDRA Canada Day Regatta at Toronto's Centre Island.  This regatta is open to any recreational teams in Toronto, and is one of the oldest mixed regattas in the world (formed in 1884 for canoe, kayak, and rowers, with dragon boats added in 2003).  Rusty Dragon Tim is the dragon boat coordinator for this event, and organizes Ontario Public Service (OPS) volunteers and their teams at the event.  The OPS teams compete for the OPS Challenge Cup.  But this is another blog entry for another day.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Fitness and Pool Paddling program at AFTERBURN

I can't believe how long it has been since I last posted an entry on the Rusty Dragons blog.  SO... as this is going to be quite literally an AMAZING year ahead on so many fronts, I am going to try to share more of what is going on. There are some incredible initiatives under way that will make this year very special to me and our group of coaches, captains, business partners, and volunteers.  And of course OUR PADDLERS, who are the reason we all volunteer our time to bring smiles to their faces.

There is too much on the go at the moment WRT planning to even know where to start, so I will just start with what's on deck right now with paddlers. The Rusty Dragons started their first-ever fitness and pool paddling program on Monday March 8th and it runs for 11 weeks. It is held at Afterburn Performance Fitness ( which is a brand new facility owned by Andrew Liew (a dragon boat coach himself).

Within a week the Monday time slot filled to capacity of over 20 participants, so I am now making arrangements for a 2nd day, likely Thursdays starting March 20th.  The cost works out to under $15 per 2-hour session and includes an hour of fitness work led by Andrew, followed by an hour in their specially built paddle pool coached by me (Tim).  The picture below was taken the week before our first session when we were there to check out the facility.  Pictured (left to right) are Taras, Mohammad, and Anthony.  More pictures coming soon of the whole gang in action.

Program web page: 2014 Pool Paddling Program 

Anyone is welcome to join this program.  We have now had two good practices and are settling into a routine.  Paddlers are from at least 10 different teams, and note that 5 are from the BPS Toronto team (a team for blind or partially sighted paddlers).  I have to mention that Taras himself is an amazingly motivated paddler from the BPS Toronto team.  He is also going to Jim Farintosh's Pines camp in Florida with 21 other Rusty Dragons.  Taras happens to also be deaf (he has tunnel vision).  Anyone can paddle a dragon boat if they want to.

Other initiatives underway (in no particular order) that I will update you on later...

> Florida Camp - Paddle with dolphins in mid-April.
BPS Toronto - going to the Canadian Championships.
> New Motley Crew team - going to Canadian Championships.
> 130th DDRA Canada Day Regatta. Oldest mixed regatta in the world.
> Balmy Beach Canoe Club - a great practice site for your team!
> Spirit Challenge dragon boat - people with developmental disabilities.
> World Pride dragon boat - A new team that will also be in the parade!
> Colorado Dragon Boat Festival - We're going back... wanna come?
> Toronto Neighbourhood Dragon Boat Challenge!
> OPS Challenge Cup - Ontario Public Service teams.
> How to start your own team - It's easy!  Contact me anytime.
> and much more...

No one else does what we do.  Our objectives are to have fun, get fit, learn good technique, and enjoy the great Toronto waterfront scenery and fresh air.

See or contact or 647-971-7332.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you need any help with anything related to water sports in Toronto, including getting you connected to canoe/kayak clubs, rowing clubs, sailing clubs, outrigger and SUP opportunities, etc.  and dragon boat... ;)  We have connections across the city of Toronto, as well as in Pickering to the east and Hamilton to the west.

Paddles (and Oars) Up!