Friday, May 01, 2020

We hope this email finds you, your family and loved ones, safe and healthy. After much consideration and consultation, the difficult decision has been made to fully cancel the 2020 Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival.


This decision was based on a number of considerations including an announcement from the Province of Ontario on March 28th, prohibiting gatherings of more than 5 people, followed by an announcement from the City of Ottawa on April 6th that “extends current COVID-19-related facility closures and suspension of in-person services until June 30”. This closure from the City includes the festival site at Mooney’s Bay. Unfortunately, the size, scale and nature of our festival makes it impossible to postpone until a later date. The weather and water necessary to host the festival only provides a short window through the end of September. In addition, travel restrictions issued by several governments limit competitor, vendor, sponsor and artist participation. 


While this news comes as a significant disappointment, we would like to acknowledge and applaud the steps the City of Ottawa and all levels of government are taking to contain the spread of COVID-19.


Before elaborating further on the decisions we have reached, let us take a moment to review some details about the structure of our organizations:

The Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival (the “Festival”), which is 27 years old, has welcomed thousands of participants to our two annual events, the BeaverTails Ottawa Ice Dragon Boat Festival and the Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival.


The Ottawa Dragon Boat Foundation (“ODBF”) administers all fundraising activities and disperses funds to worthy local charities and projects in our community, and has raised more than $4.8 million in support of 51 local charities.


Festival Registration Fees


These are very difficult and troubling times to be sure. Everyone, without exception, is affected to some degree by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has placed our organization in a very difficult position. We are doing the best that we can to survive, with the full commitment to continue our Festival and our charitable Foundation next year and beyond.  We encourage you think about option A helping us now to ensure we deliver the very best event for 2021. Both your understanding and support are greatly appreciated.


The Festival is offering the following three options of which teams will have until May 15th, 2020 to decide which one they would like.


Option A - 100% deferral of registration to 2021


Option B - 50% cash refund and 25% donated to ODBF to provide support to local charities providing COVID-19 relief


Option C - 75% cash refund


Team Captains will be contacted shortly with details on how to proceed.


ODBF Pledge Challenge


Most devastating to us is knowing the impact that this cancellation will have on our beloved community, particularly the local charities supported through the efforts of the ODBF.  


Continuing our tradition of giving back to our community, the ODBF Pledge Challenge will continue in 2020, with a direct focus and commitment to supporting local COVID-19 related initiatives in these challenging times. Participants will compete in an online virtual race by raising funds for local charities in both team and individual categories. As always, we encourage teams to have fun with it and be creative in their fundraising. More details about the 2020 Pledge Challenge can be found at odbf.ca.


To kick-off our support, ODBF will proudly make a $5,000 donation to the Ottawa Food Bank, an organization who is providing invaluable local COVID-19 relief efforts. We ask our paddling community to join us as we raise funds and rally together to show Ottawa the true meaning of teamwork and determination!


Looking ahead


Our community is in need, and that deserves our energies, and our commitment. We will do our best to leverage our position and resources to support a strong recovery for our community. In addition, ODBF will commit to engaging actively, safely and immediately with local COVID-19 relief initiatives, to ensure we assist in the most constructive and effective manner.


To our valued community, thank you for your continued support and understanding. Stay home, stay safe, observe social distancing and look forward to a time when you will all be together again.


On behalf of the board and staff of the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival and the Ottawa Dragon Boat Foundation,


Wcreates 2020 


Warren Creates

Founder and Chairperson

Board of Directors

Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival

Ottawa Dragon Boat Foundation

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