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Thousand Islands Poker Run kicks off in Gananoque this weekend — with some changes

Click to play video: 'Poker Run takes to the water in Gananoque this weekend' Poker Run takes to the water in Gananoque this weekend
WATCH: Scaled-down Poker Run comes to town of Gananoque on Saturday. – Aug 27, 2020

A popular summer event will take to the water in Gananoque this weekend, as a very scaled down Thousand Islands Poker Run takes place this Saturday.

The event is a game of chance, not speed. Each boat — in this case powerboats — navigates a carefully-charted course, stopping at five checkpoints to pick up sealed envelopes containing playing cards.

It’s the best hand, not the biggest engine that wins.

Read more: Town of Gananoque, Ont., is losing its largest baseball diamond

“It’ll be wonderful, it will, but you can’t come expecting what we’ve had in the past,” said Kathrine Christensen, executive director of 1000 Islands Accommodation Partners as well as Tourism 1000 Islands.

“(There will) be fewer boats and less interaction.”

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Christensen noted that makes sense, especially during these times. A poker run always draw big crowds. However, that can’t be the case this time around as everyone needs to play by the rules.

“You need to respect people’s distance, you need to wear your mask when you can’t stay six feet away and everybody’s washing their hands,” says Christensen.

“It’s kind of business as usual but it kind of isn’t — we’re very lucky to actually be able to get this toned-down event to the Thousand Islands.”

Dave Osmond, a Gananoque town councillor, says it won’t be business as usual and safety is number one.

“We had a Quebec holiday a few weeks ago and there was probably hundreds of boats launched between here and this region and I think everybody obeyed the protocols,” Osmond says.

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“We have rules set out by the health unit and we’re going to make sure that the poker run and organizers obey by those rules.”

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The boats leave Gananoque on Saturday morning, with stops including Rockport and Brockville. Only Canadian boats — about 30 of them, Christensen says — are taking part.

Poker Runs America and Power Boating Canada is putting on the two-day event.

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