Team FAQ Package

General Festival Information:

When is the festival? The Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival (THODBF) is traditionally held in late June at Mooney’s Bay Park. The 2017 festival will take place on the weekend of June 22nd-25th. Racing takes place on Saturday, June 24th and Sunday, June 25th with the exception of some special races that are held on Friday, June 23rd.

Where is the festival? The festival is held at Mooney's Bay Park on Riverside Drive. Mooney's Bay Park is located 1 1/2 km north of Riverside Drive and Baseline Road intersection. The Park is 1/2 km north of Riverside Drive and Walkley Road intersection. Riverside Drive is accessible directly from the Queensway (Highway 417). Look for the Riverside South exit.

Is there a fee to attend the festival? There is no site admission fee and it is open to the public.

Where can I find more details about the festival? Please visit for everything you will need to know about the event. You can also follow us on social media: FacebookInstagramTwitter and Youtube.

Is this a family event? Yes, we offer various family/children focused activities. Please visit the Family Fun section of our website for a detailed schedule.

Is there entertainment on site? Check out the Concerts section of our website for a list of the live entertainment as well as the exhibitors and concessions who will be onsite throughout the festival.

Is there coffee available onsite? Tim Hortons will be setting up their coffee truck onsite serving up your favourite coffee! All proceeds go to the Ottawa Dragon Boat Foundation.

Team Information:

Do I need to be an experienced "paddler" to participate? No, all levels of paddlers are welcome. The majority of teams are recreational, but there are many experienced and competitive teams for those wishing to compete at a higher level. Two team practices with qualified coaches are included in the team registration fee.

How many people do we need to form a dragon boat team? There are 22 spots in the boat (16-20 paddlers, one steersperson, and one drummer). There are 28 spots available on your roster so that teams can also register up to six spare paddlers. In no circumstances may a team race with fewer than 16 paddlers.

How can I register a team? We offer a convenient online registration system through our website( or directly at /teams/register.aspx. The registration process will only take a few minutes to complete.

What information will I need before registering my team? You will need your team name, team division (mixed, women or open) and the name and contact information for your Team Captain and Pledge Captain (one person can fill both of these roles and they may be re-assigned after your initial registration is complete). Your team roster may be completed online through the Team Login section by using the login information your Team Captain will receive by email.

How many males/females do I need on my team? All mixed teams must race with a minimum of 8 and maximum of 10 paddlers of each gender (does not include steersperson/drummer).

Open teams have no restrictions. Often comprised of primarily male paddlers, but females may also paddle on the team as well. Open teams can have a drummer and/or steersperson of either gender. Please note: open teams are not eligible to participate in Challenge Cups.

Women’s teams must race with all female paddlers, but can have a male drummer and/or steersperson. Women’s teams who are using the festival as a qualifier must comply with DBC rules which requires an all-female crew (including steersperson and drummer).

Can a person paddle, steer or drum for more than one team? A person may be a member of and race for only one team per category. The categories are women, mixed and open. A steersperson/drummer may paddle for one team and may steer/drum for more than one team. PLEASE NOTE: It is each team's responsibility to manage conflicts that arise from paddlers racing on two teams. No delays in the race schedule will be allowed to accommodate for paddlers or steerspersons in transit between team boats and/or races.

How much is the entry fee?

Local Teams: Early Bird rate of $1,300 (+HST totals $1469) for the first 50 teams to register and pay in full by December 31st, 2016. Regular rate is $1,400 (+HST totals $1582) after the early bird spots have been filled and/or after December 31st, 2016.

Out-Of-Town Teams: $995 (+HST totals $1124.35) for teams visiting from outside 100km radius of Ottawa.

Who pays the entry fee? Teams may assign one person to pay the total payment and then forward individual payments to reimburse that person.

How can we pay? Payment may be done online through our registration system by credit card. Cheques are made payable to "Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival" and mailed or dropped off at our office. PLEASE NOTE: Teams are not officially registered until full payment is received. The registration fee is not a charitable donation and therefore not eligible for a tax receipt.

How much will this cost each team member? Depending on how many paddlers you have on your team will determine how much money you need to pay for your registration. Teams may book extra practices or purchase team t-shirts which may be an additional cost. Some teams try to acquire a sponsor to cover these expenses.

Do we need a team t-shirt? All teams are encouraged to wear a team t-shirt or outfit at the festival, but it is not required. Many teams also wear team caps, war paint, temporary tattoos and themed costumes. An award will be presented for the most creative team t-shirt. The winning team will be announced during the Awards Ceremony held on Saturday.

How can I register if I do not have a team? If you would like to paddle, but don’t have enough people to form a team you can register as an individual and we will help place you on a team.

Is there a registration/refund deadline? Registration is complete when we reach 200 teams or April 30th, 2017. The refund deadline is 4:00pm on April 30th, 2017. There is an administration fee of 25% (+HST) for all refunds.

Do I need to sign a waiver? Yes, all team members are required to submit a completed waiver. Waivers are to be submitted electronically through the online registration system.

Festival Weekend - Paddler Information:

Where will everything take place? All races will be held at Mooney’s Bay Park (across the water from the Rideau Canoe Club). The Tim Hortons Team Area will be set up throughout the festival site for teams to set up tents, etc. The Scotiabank Team Staging Tent will be available for teams to get ready for their races; teams are asked to be in the staging area at least half an hour before their race time.

What equipment do I need to bring? The THODBF will supply all boats and equipment including paddles and PFD's. However; if you have an approved PFD of your own and your favourite paddle, you can use it.

What should I bring? Many teams bring beverages and snacks to have throughout the day. A hydration station will be available for water bottle refilling. Food vendors will be on site with various types of food and beverages. You may also want to bring along some sunscreen and a lawn chair.

Is there somewhere I can put my stuff during the day? No, there are no lockers available on site. We recommend leaving all valuables at home. We also recommend organizing a team friend or family member who can watch over any onsite valuables during the team’s races.

What should I wear? Fast drying shorts/shirts and sandal/sneakers are typically worn in the boat. You may also want to bring along a dry set of clothes, raincoat and hat.

Where can I park?/How can I get to site? The festival offers free parking at Canada Post Headquarters on Riverside Drive. OC Transpo services the Mooney’s Bay area as well; visit for local service schedule details.

Is there a drop-off zone? Yes, the festival is providing a drop-off zone just inside the entrance to the volunteer parking lot on the north side of Hog’s Back Road (the Rideau Canal parking lot). Cars MUST NOT be left unaccompanied in this area.

PLEASE NOTE: There is no public parking available onsite. Parking will not be available at Mooney's Bay or on Riverside Drive on the weekend of the festival. Cars parked illegally in the surrounding areas will be ticketed and/or towed.

Can I park my bicycle on site? Free valet bicycle parking is available onsite. Help us help the environment and consider riding your bike to this year’s festival. Help even more by making a donation to our Foundation for this free service.

Where can my team "hang-out"? Can we bring a tent or shelter? The Tim Hortons Team Area will be marked off onsite for the exclusive use of the participants. Space for tents or tarps will be assigned based on order of registration payment (Team Captains will be contacted for site selection). Team site size is 10’ x 20’ and teams will be allowed to set up starting at 6:00am on Friday, June 23rd. Please note that City of Ottawa regulations dictate that nothing may be tied to the trees. Items left in this area are done so at your own risk.

Note: The Tim Hortons Team Area does not include the spectator area – no tents or tarps are permitted in the spectator area. Barbecues are not allowed onsite and there are strict no alcohol and no smoking policies.

Can we display our company banner? Yes, company banners may be displayed on your Team Area site, but may not interfere with another team’s site. Banners are not permitted on boats.

How can we get our tents, chairs, etc to site? Teams may set-up tents and bring in non-valuable items any time after 6:00am on Friday, June 23rd. Please note that direct access via the gravel marina parking lot near the team area (north end of site, access off Hog’s Back Rd) is only accessible Friday between 6:00am and 2:00pm. After 2:00pm there is no direct parking available. Your site will be reserved and numbered with the team site number that each team selects.

Can we leave our tent and chairs overnight? Yes, all tents and chairs can remain overnight. Please keep all items contained to your assigned team site. There will be overnight security, but please do not leave anything of particular value overnight.

Will there be food and refreshments available on site? Yes, numerous food vendors offer a variety of food and beverages throughout the weekend. A free hydration station is available on the main path to refill your water bottles throughout the event.

Is alcohol served onsite? A huge beer garden is available to enjoy while you watch the entertainment on our main stage. Patrons must be 19 years of age or older to purchase alcohol. Proof of ID is required. Please note that NO outside alcohol is permitted onsite and will be confiscated by security upon entry to the festival grounds.

When is the Opening Ceremony? Details for this year’s Opening Ceremony will be announced as we get closer to the event. Stay tuned!

Race Information:

When does the racing start? Races begin at approximately 8:00am on both Saturday and Sunday. Racing will finish up around 6:00pm on Saturday and 4:00pm on Sunday.

When does my team race? The Saturday race schedule will be available on our website the week prior to the festival. It will also be emailed to teams and the schedule will include both staging times and race times.

How many races will we compete in? All teams are guaranteed two races on Saturday. All teams will compete in one race Saturday morning and a second race in the afternoon. The top 75 mixed teams, top 30 women’s teams and top 8 open teams will advance to Sunday to compete in an additional three races.

What happens if it starts raining? The festival and racing will go ahead if it is raining. Generally, the only time the racing is postponed is if lightning or high winds occur.

How long is the racing distance? Both Saturday races are 500m in length. Sunday’s race format will include 100m, 200m and 500m finals.

Will there be any prizes? When will they be awarded?

Saturday Awards: First place teams in the various Challenge Cup categories will receive individual medals and a large team trophy. The Saturday Awards Ceremony will be held in Paddlers Paradise on the beach at 6:00pm.

Sunday Awards: Medals are awarded to the top three teams in each of the ten Mixed Cups (A-J) and four Women’s Cups (A-D) for the 500m final ONLY (a large team trophy is also awarded to the top team in each division). Small takeaway trophies are awarded to the top three teams (Mixed A-J and Women’s A-D) in the 100m and 200m finals. The Awards Ceremonies will be held in Paddlers Paradise on the beach on Sunday (times TBC).

Please note: Large team trophies are awarded annually and are returned to the festival before the following event.

What are Challenge Cups? Challenge Cup races are designed to increase competition among teams from local industry or community groups. If you choose to enter a Challenge Cup you will be grouped with similar teams for the first race of the weekend.

If there are more than eight teams in a Challenge Cup your second race will serve as the Challenge Cup Final. If there are less than eight teams in a Challenge Cup category then the first race will serve as the Challenge Cup Final. Entering a Challenge Cup does not increase the number of times a team will race, all teams will compete in two races on Saturday.

Challenge Cup Teams must have a minimum of 9 people racing from the designated cup category. For example, if you are entering the High Tech Challenge your team must have a minimum of 9 paddlers who are employed with the High Tech organization the team represents.

A Challenge Cup race will only run if there are three (3) or more teams for that particular category. If you are unsure about which category you qualify for please contact the Festival Office. For those who do not qualify for one of these Cup categories, you will still get to race twice on Saturday.

Challenge Cups are available to LOCAL teams only, with the exception of the Sue Holloway, Breast Cancer Survivors, Pride and Confederation Cups. Please note that open teams are not eligible for Challenge Cups.

Below is a list of 2017 Challenge Cups categories:

Breast Cancer Survivors Challenge Cup – teams whose members are breast cancer survivors. * Contact us for details about sponsorship opportunity

Building & Development Challenge Cup presented by Minto - teams representing companies whose major business involves construction, project development, engineering consultants, building materials, etc.

Community Challenge Cup - teams representing community organizations including charities and non-profits. * Contact us for details about sponsorship opportunity

Competitive Women Challenge Cup – women's teams who participate in multiple festivals, often finish in top 30 and/or practice 10+ times per season. * Contact us for details about sponsorship opportunity

Education Challenge Cup – teams whose members attend or work for educational institutions, administration, or associated parent advisory associations. * Contact us for details about sponsorship opportunity

Financial Services Challenge Cup presented by Scotiabank - teams representing companies or institutions providing financial services (Banks, Trust Companies, Investment, Insurance, Mortgage Brokers, etc.)

Government Challenge Cup presented by MANN Lawyers – teams whose members work for federal, provincial or municipal governments

Friends & Family Challenge Cup presented by Goodlife Fitness – teams whose members are all members of the same extended family.

High Tech Challenge Cup - teams representing companies whose major business is the production of computer software and hardware, system interfaces, etc. * Contact us for details about sponsorship opportunity

Health Care & Ambulance Services Challenge Cup presented by Donna Cona – teams whose members work for hospitals, medical clinics, ambulance services, or medical or dental offices.

Hospitality & Tourism Challenge Cup - teams representing companies whose major business is providing hospitality or tourism services, accommodation or meals. * Contact us for details about sponsorship opportunity

Emergency Services & Canadian Forces Challenge Cup – teams representing the various branches of the Canadian Forces, police forces, services or associations, or fire fighters, services or associations. * Contact us for details about sponsorship opportunity

Legal Services Challenge Cup presented by CCLA - teams whose members work in the field of legal services including law firms and associations.

Professional Services Challenge Cup presented by Star Motors - teams representing companies providing services in accounting and other professional associations.

Recreational Women Challenge Cup presented by Liu Dental Services – newly formed women’s teams or those who have participated in the festival before, but did not advance to the second day of racing.

Media Challenge Cup presented by Live 88.5 – teams whose members are in the media industry including television, radio, print and social media.

Sport and Fitness Challenge Cup – teams representing a specific sport, sport club, fitness studio, fitness club as well as other sport/fitness association * Contact us for details about sponsorship opportunity


NEW! Confederation Cup - will bring Canadians and Ontarians together to celebrate and /or participate actively in a healthy and inclusive community. The Cup will include specific provinces and territories, celebrating Canada's 150th anniversary!

NEW! Sue Holloway Cup - top competitive teams who are members of Dragon Boat Canada striving for greatness in their sport, just as two-time Olympian and Canada Sports Hall of Famer, Sue Holloway achieved.

Pride Challenge Cup - Teams representing the LGBTTQ+ community, and their supporters.

NEW! Accessibility Challenge Cup - teams whose members have a disability, as well as their caregivers and supporters

NEW! Masters Challenge Cup (for older adults and seniors) - teams whose members are 49 or older before June 1st of the given year.

NEW! Youth Challenge Cup - teams whose members primarily consists of participants who are a minimum of 14 years of age and a maximum of 17 years of age before June 1st of the given year.

Embassies & Foreign Missions Challenge Cup presented by HKETO – teams whose members work for embassies or foreign missions, or immigrant services or associated community associations.

PLEASE NOTE: A team may only select ONE challenge cup category.

Are there any special awards? Feel free to nominate your team or another for any of these awards at the Team Services Tent onsite before noon on Saturday, June 25th:

Best T-shirt Design - awarded to the team with the most creative t-shirt. Teams wishing to enter the t-shirt contest are asked to bring a copy of your shirt to the Team Captain’s Meeting or drop it off at the Team Services Tent (including your team name, contact person, team site # and an onsite phone number for Saturday).

Chairperson's Spirit Award - awarded to the team with the best team spirit displayed during the festival.

Best Team Site Design - awarded to the team with the most colourful & creatively decorated team site.

The winners of these awards will be announced during the Saturday Awards Ceremony (6:00pm).

Where is the best view of the races? Bleachers will be available on the beach area near the finish line to allow spectators an opportunity to view the entire race from start to finish.

Ottawa Dragon Boat Foundation:

Is there a fundraising component in this event? Yes! Charitable fundraising has been a part of dragon boating in Ottawa for a very long time and the Pledge Challenge will raise funds for the worthy charities supported through the Ottawa Dragon Boat Foundation.

What is the Ottawa Dragon Boat Foundation? In 1998, a charitable component was added to the Festival, raising funds for local charities on an annual basis. Next, the Foundation was established in 2003 to help focus and grow the level of community support.

What is their mission? The mission of the Foundation is to help build, strengthen and enhance community life in Ottawa by raising, managing and distributing funds to charitable organizations.

Who does the Ottawa Dragon Boat Foundation benefit? In 2017 the recipient charities include the Youth Services Bureau, Tim Horton Children’s Foundation and various local charities who will receive funding through the ODBF Community Fund.

Are there any prizes for top fundraising teams and individuals? The top sixteen mixed fundraising teams and the top eight women’s fundraising teams will compete in the Charity Challenge Cup Races, the first races of the festival (details TBC). Teams get a chance to hit the water before anyone else AND raise money for charities!

The 1st place overall fundraising team will receive a complimentary registration for the 2018 festival and the 2nd place team will receive a 50% discount off their entry fee. Top teams also receive some fun prizes to help them celebrate their success as well!

The top fundraising individuals will receive prizes at various levels - $500, $1000,$1500 and $2000+. Individuals who raise $1000+ become members of our prestigious Premiere Dragon Club and will receive VIP packages for 2018 including a coveted VIP parking pass as well as invitations to special events throughout the year and during the festival.

How much has been raised in the past? To-date, over $4.0 million has been raised through the Foundation's annual fundraising, benefitting 43 Ottawa area charities.

Can I pledge myself? Of course! It’s always a great idea to make a pledge to yourself to show your potential donors that you are dedicated to your fundraising efforts.

Who is eligible for a tax receipt? Online donations of $20 or more will be issued a receipt by e-mail automatically. Pledge form donations of $20 or more must include the donor’s name and a complete mailing address to be automatically issued a receipt by mail. Lesser amounts will be issued a receipt upon request.

How do I get started? Login to your profile in the registration system to set-up your personal donation page and send your fundraising link to your family and friends. You can also direct potential donors to our Foundation website ( where they can donate directly to you and your team.

How can I see how my team and I are doing in the standings? Click on the links below to see where you and your team are in the standings…the race is on to see which teams make it to the Charity Challenge Cup finals!

Pledge Challenge Team Standings                  Pledge Challenge Individual Standings

What are some other ways I can contribute to the Foundation?

  • Hold a fundraiser! Many teams hold fundraising events leading up the festival to raise funds at their workplace or in conjunction with local venues (pubs, comedy clubs, theatres, sports teams, etc).
  • Sell raffle tickets! You can sell raffle tickets through the lottery organized by the Foundation and the funds you raise will be credited towards your fundraising total!
  • Contribute to our Silent Auction! Donate an item valued at $100 or more to our very popular silent auction held during the festival which raises upwards of $20,000 annually.


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