City celebrates Paddle Fest awards
Sean Chase/Daily Observer The Upper Ottawa River Race and Paddle Fest received awards from the Upper Ottawa Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Ottawa Valley Tourist Association. On Tuesday, city recreation programmer Elijah McKeown, economic development officer Heather Salovaara and tourism and communications officer Heather Sutherland brought the two awards to council.
City council congratulated organizers of the Upper Ottawa River Race and Paddle Fest, which has just celebrated two big award wins.
The popular summertime event jointly hosted by the City of Pembroke and the Town of Petawawa was a successful nominee at the recently held Upper Ottawa Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Achievement Awards and Ottawa Valley Tourist Association Awards.
On Tuesday night, economic development officer Heather Salovaara, recreation programmer Elijah McKeown, tourism and communications officer Heather Sutherland brought the two awards to council chambers. At the Chamber of Commerce awards in Rankin on April 28, the Upper Ottawa River Race and Paddle Fest received the inaugural Excellence in Tourism, Events or Promoting Award. Then on April 30, the event won Special Event of the Year during the 2018 Ottawa Valley Tourism Awards in Renfrew.
“In 2017, the Upper Ottawa River Race & Paddle Festival attracted over 300 participants for various events across 3 days between Pembroke and Petawawa,” explained Salovaara. “Many participants from the USA attend the event, with a couple coming from as far as Costa Rica.”
Council noted their appreciation to staff expressing pride that the city, as well as the Town of Petawawa, has been recognized with these two awards. Mayor Mike LeMay said the race and festival plays a more significant role than just a venue for outdoor enthusiasts.
“It's an economic driver for the Upper Ottawa Valley so it's added value,” said LeMay.
Salovaara announced this year's edition will take place from Aug. 10 to Aug. 12. On Aug.10, participants will arrive at Riverside Park and register while taking in an evening of entertainment by the beach. On Saturday, there are 3 main races: 13-kilometre, four-kilometre and one-kilometre kids race.
“The plan is to keep the activities largely the same while attracting more residents and visitors to participate,” said Salovaara.
The races are open to canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddles (SUP) and people of all experience levels are encouraged to participate. Saturday will be filled with activities at Riverside Park, such as SUP lessons, yoga on the beach, kids activities, live music and food. On Sunday, activities take place at Petawawa Point with the Paddle for CHEO event, Celebrity Relay Race and Heritage Paddle. All
event information can be found at upperottawariverrace.ca.