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Canoe ’22 expected to draw tens of thousands to downtown Dartmouth

Click to play video: 'Thousands expected to head to N.S. lake for Canoe ’22 tournament'
Thousands expected to head to N.S. lake for Canoe ’22 tournament
Tens of thousands of people are expected to head to Lake Banook over the next five days to take in Canoe '22. Athletes will be competing in dozens of races from 200 metre sprints to 5000-metre races. While the event is focused around the sport, there's much more to see and do, with a street festival taking place right next to the races. Alicia Draus has more on the first day of the paddling world championships. – Aug 3, 2022

The first day of Canoe ’22, the 2022 ICF Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Championships, is being considered a success.

“It’s just wonderful to see so many people out all day on Wednesday,” said Jill D’Alessio, chair of Canoe ’22.

“I think it’s more people than we anticipated.”

Read more: Lake Banook gears up to host 2022 world canoe and paracanoe championships

Overall, the event is expected to draw 30 to 40 thousand people to Dartmouth’s downtown over the five-day event, which will see over 1,000 athletes compete from nearly 70 different countries.

“We’ve got a defending World Champion here, we’ve got Katie Vincent who’s going to be racing. We’re watching everybody who raced at the Olympics last year. They’re here with the teams so it’s the best athletes in the world,” said D’Alessio.

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Nik Kil attended the event on  Wednesday with his paddling club and says it’s inspiring to watch the athletes compete.

“It’s just cool to see them going really fast,” he said. “If I get way faster, then I could go to worlds.”

Tami Maccormack brought her kids to the event Wednesday as they are all paddlers and she says it’s good for them to see the top performers and it’s a great event for Dartmouth.

“I think it’s really important for the community,” she said.

“We were at the opening ceremonies last night and the fireworks and excitement seeing the local talent, the food trucks, so yeah, we’re having a lot of fun.”

Spectators take the first races of Canoe ’22. Alicia Draus / Global News

As part of the event, Prince Albert Street is closed to traffic and is the site of a street festival throughout the competitions. Vendors are lined up on the road, from food trucks to souvenir shops.

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There are activities for kids and every night there’s a free concert. For local small businesses taking part in events like this is great way to reach new audiences.

“It’s the bread and butter, this is how you make new clients,” said artist Mallory Gorman.

“A lot of my stuff, I do commission and a lot of people will buy a print and eventually get a commission done or buy a print for someone else.”

Gorman says this festival is great because it exposes her to both an international audience, but also locals who aren’t familiar with her work.

A visitor looks at a local artists prints. Alicia Draus / Global News

The canoe world championships and the street festival run through to Sunday when the last races and closing ceremony will take place.

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